All but two members of the Liberal Party Senate lineup are expected to attend tomorrow’s proclamation rally in Talisay City that will be graced by President Benigno Aquino III.
LP Cebu spokesman Democrito Barcenas said the rally will be held in front of Talisay City Hall at 5 p.m. and it won’t be as huge as the Feb. 12 proclamation rally of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) in Cebu City.
“It’s not a grand hakot (mobilized) rally like the UNA which spent millions to have an illusion of popular support,” said Barcenas, a board member of the Philippine National Oil Corp. and local LP stalwart.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, whose Team Rama party is allied with UNA, said Barcenas’s comment was “undeserving of any comment.”
“Let them hold their rally first before commenting on our rally,” the mayor told Cebu Daily News last night.
The UNA rally which drew at least 25,000 in attendance drew fire from the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) which questioned the use of Cebu City Hall vehicles and personnel in setting up a stage at the Plaza Independencia site.
A receipt from the City Treasurer’s Office obtained by BO-PK chief and Rep. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City’s south district showed that P10,000 was spent for the rental of 19 buses.
A complaint was filed in relation to these allegations before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Mayor Michael Rama denied that City Hall resources were used and said he welcomed an investigation into these charges.
Rama also accused the BO-PK of “manuevering” after the Land Transportation Office and the Land Transport Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) apprehended buses used to fetch supporters from Cebu towns to the Plaza Independencia.
Details of the LP sorties in Cebu have been sketchy, though President Aquino’s presence in the Talisay City rally was confirmed. The President will arrive in Cebu from Negros Oriental at 6:30 p.m, Barcenas said.
The President recently attended a gathering of LP supporters and introduced the LP’s Senate lineup in Mandaue City.
Davide said the President cannot attend the Feb. 20 rally at the Cebu City Coliseum because of his hectic schedule.
LP senatorial candidate Sonny Angara and guest candidate Sen. Loren Legarda have not confirmed their presence.
Barcenas said Davide advised him that President Aquino will arrive in Talisay City at 6:30 p.m.
Barcenas said Davide and Acting Cebu Gov. Agnes Magpale decided on holding the proclamation rally in Talisay City.
Another scheduled rally is in Tayud Sports Complex in Consolacion town on Feb. 20.
Barcenas said all LP senatorial candidates promised to be present on Feb. 20 in Consolacion.
An LP proclamation rally will also be held in the Cebu City Coliseum to be attended by BO-PK candidates.
Rep. Osmeña said he booked the Cebu City Coliseum for the Feb. 20 rally last week after he received a call from Sen. Franklin Drilon, the LP campaign manager, on their Cebu visit on Feb. 19 and 20.
On Feb. 20, LP candidates will come from Dumaguete City and head to Cebu to continue with their campaign.
Osmeña said he didn’t advance payment for the Feb. 20 rental and doesn’t know if the LP national leadership will pay for use of the venue.
The coliseum can accommodate 8,000 to 10,000 persons.
The congressman clarified that he booked the venue in advance before the controversy over the alleged use of City Hall resources by Mayor Rama for last Tuesday’s UNA rally broke out.
Osmeña also said the BO-PK will attend the LP Senate lineup rally at the Cebu City Coliseum to express their support for their national candidates. /Carmel Loise Matus, Correspondent with a story from Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac