The kalesa (horse-drawn carriage) may be slow and old-fashioned. But for political sorties, it could get the job done for an 83-year-old mayor seeking three more years.
To better connect with the voters, reelectionist Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim said his campaign style would involve both house-to-house visits and the so-called “kalesa-cade.”
Lim and his running mate, Councilor Lou Veloso, got it rolling on Tuesday despite the sweltering summer heat, with their kalesa allowing them to reach out and shake hands with the sidewalk crowds. They also went around Parola, Baseco and other depressed areas in the city.
“We don’t need gasoline for this and the pacing is just right for me to mingle with the people,” he said, adding that he also used the kalesa-cade when he made his political debut in 1992 and ran for mayor of Manila after retiring from the police force.
“And besides, I don’t like taking vehicles that are too fast,” Lim said.
It was not immediately clear in that last remark if he was referring to his rival’s preferred mode of campaign transport.
For if Lim’s kalesa is making a return, it might soon cross paths with “Jeep Ni Erap,” the showcase jeepney used by his challenger, former President Joseph Estrada.
When he ran for President in 1998, Estrada started using the proverbial “King of the Road” to project a propoor image. For his current campaign, his jeepney’s latest incarnation indicates the route “San Juan to Manila,” signifying his foray from his bailiwick city to Lim’s longtime territory.
Meanwhile, also helping the Estrada campaign is his daughter, Jacqueline “Jackie” Ejercito-Lopez, who said she will be active in the Manila sorties.
She will be particularly visible in public markets as “the new Palengke Queen,” Lopez told Inquirer on the sidelines of Estrada’s proclamation rally on Sunday at Liwasang Bonifacio.
Lopez and other relatives then proudly showed off henna tattoos on their arms bearing her father’s image.
“I intend to visit all the markets in the city to campaign for him and also see how these places can be improved,” said Lopez, who founded Kabataang MakaEdukasyon (Kame) Foundation in the 1990s when her father was vice president.