MANILA, Philippines—”Mga Pilipinong tunay na tuwid sa daang matuwid [Filipinos who truly walk in the right path].”
This was how President Benigno Aquino III described on Tuesday the 12 senatorial candidates of Team Pnoy when he formally endorsed them during their proclamation rally at the Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, Manila.
“Ngayong gabi, malinaw kung nasaang panig ang labindalawang kasama natin sa entablado. Nagmula man sa iba’t ibang partido’t samahan, katulad natin silang bukas ang puso’t isip na mag ambag para sa pinakamainam na solusyon,” Aquino said.
“Sama sama po nating salubungin ang Team Pnoy: mga Pilipinong tunay na tuwid sa daang matuwid,” he said, and introduced the candidates one by one.
The 12 who were all present were Aurora Representative Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Bam Aquino, Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, and former Akbayan Representative Risa Hontiveros, Senator Loren Legarda, former Senators Jamby Madrigal and Ramon Magsaysay, Senator Aquilino “Koko”Pimentel III, Grace Poe, Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV, and former Las Piñas Representative Cynthia Villar.
Aquino assured the public that the candidates of Team Pnoy will not steal and will not turn their backs on the people.
“Kumpleto silang tumitindig dito sa Plaza Miranda, sa dambana ng demokrasya’t kalayaan bilang tanda ng kanilang panata sa mamamayan: Hindi sila magnanakaw, hindi nila ipagkakanulo ang tiwala ng sambayanan, at lagi nilang isasaalang-alang ang inyong kapakanan,” he said.
“Nanunumpa ang buong Team Pnoy na iisa lamang ang kanilang pinapanigan: Sa panig ng tapat na pamahalaan. Sa panig ng tuwid na daan. At syempre, sa panig ninyo–ang nag iisa naming mga Boss–ang taumbayan,” the President added.
Aside from the President, Team Pnoy also got a boost from celebrities, who endorsed their senatorial bid either in flesh or through a taped message.
Celebrity couples Aga Muhlach and wife Charlene; and Richard Gomez and wife, Congresswoman Lucy Torres personally endorsed the candidates while singers Dingdong Avanzado, Cookie Chua and Noel Cabangon performed during the rally.
Meanwhile, some candidates turned to their celebrity endorsers who introduced them on stage through audio visual presentation.
A voice of veteran actress of Susan Roces, was aired to introduce her daughter, Grace Poe, while singer-actress Sarah Geronimo and actor Coco Martin also had a recorded AVP for Angara.
Poe also repeatedly mentioned the name of her late father, Fernando Poe Jr., as she expressed her desire to continue his legacy.
Fernando Poe Jr. ran but lost to then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2004.
Some senatorial bets also tried to crack a joke or used a gimmickry just to get the attention of the audience.
“Ako po si Grace Poe, ang pinakamagalang na kandidato…” she said, noting how her last name was often being used by Filipinos as a sign of courtesy.
Cayetano wore a red glove to show that he would continue his fight against corruption if elected again in the Senate.