Dumaguete sortie: Aquino grounded by rains

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05:54 AM February 20th, 2013

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President Benigno Aquino III. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Heavy rains on Tuesday forced President Aquino to cancel a visit to Dumaguete City where he was to have campaigned for the Team PNoy senatorial slate.

Flights to Dumaguete and other areas battered by rains spawned by tropical depression “Crising” were canceled Tuesday.

Aquino was scheduled to join the administration coalition’s senatorial candidates in a rally organized by local leaders at the Lamberto Macias Sports and Cultural Center at around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. He was to have delivered a speech after the candidates had spoken.

He was also scheduled to inaugurate the Qualfon Building of the Link Sy IT Park in Barangay (village) Bantayan.

The Dumaguete rally went on as scheduled, but with only senatorial candidates Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino, Grace Llamanzares and Jamby Madrigal showing up.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said it was deemed unsafe for the President and his party to fly to Dumaguete with the inclement weather there.

Aquino, who has pledged to actively campaign for his “handpicked” candidates, is expected to join most of the Team PNoy’s campaign sorties.

He proclaimed the administration candidates at a Plaza Miranda rally on Feb. 12, and joined them in a first sortie last Feb. 14 in San Pablo, Laguna, rallying the people not only to vote but to actively campaign for them.

But the President’s trip to Talisay City in Cebu for a rally later Tuesday night pushed through, Valte said.

At 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aquino’s convoy was already proceeding to the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City, where he would take a private plane to Cebu.

As part of the administration’s push to solidify support for its senatorial slate in Cebu province, a known opposition bailiwick with 2.5 million voters, Aquino was tasked to address a large gathering of Cebuano candidates and supporters in the Talisay rally.

Organizers said they expected a crowd of 4,000 to 5,000 to listen to the speeches of the senatorial and local candidates, including Liberal Party gubernatorial candidate Hilario Davide III, the LP Cebu chairman, and his running mate, Agnes Magpale, the acting governor of Cebu.

Aquino will be joined onstage by three Cebu lawmakers: Representatives Tomas Osmeña, Gabriel Luis Quisumbing and Ramon Durano.

Osmeña is running for mayor of Cebu City under the LP, while Durano is the vice mayoral candidate for Danao City.

Because of the weather, the rally was being moved from the open grounds of the city hall to an enclosed gym in Tabunok area, according to campaign spokesman Marikina Rep. Romero Quimbo.

Quimbo said the bad weather also caused the cancelation or delay of the flights of the candidates, their staff and members of the media.

Originally posted at 12:35 pm | Tuesday, February 19, 2013

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