CEBU CITY, Philippines—Each of the candidates brought their own cheering squads.
Chants and shouts of the supporters filled the Cebu Cultural Center where the 3rd Inquirer Senate forum was held on Friday.
Some supporters could even be seen dancing to the tune of their candidates’ campaign jingles.
The loudest cheers were for the candidates with organized political backing: Bayan Muna party-list Teddy Casiño, Rep. Sonny Angara, Team PNoy’s Grace Poe, Buhay party-list’s Bro. Eddie Villanueva and the United Nationalist Alliance’s Miguel Zubiri.
In contrast to their rivals, Rizalito David of Kapatiran, Samson Alcantara of Social Justice Society and independent Richard Penson could manage a mere handful of supporters.
First to arrive at the CCC in Lahug, Cebu City, were the supporters of Villanueva wearing green shirts bearing the image of the candidate’s face.
But before entering the venue, 10 female supporters of Villanueva performed a dance at the CCC lobby while the other supporters sang.
The blue-shirted Casiño supporters walked five minutes from the corner of Escario Street and Gorordo Avenue to the CCC, while chanting “Teddy! Teddy! Teddy!”
Casiño also appeared to have the most enthusiastic supporters. Every time he answered questions from the moderators, Inquirer Libre editor in chief Chito de la Vega and Inquirer Visayas bureau chief Connie Fernandez, they would stand up and cheer, and unfurl the candidate’s banner.
Not to be outdone, Villanueva’s supporters never failed to chant his name every time he was called to answer a question.
The Zubiri camp was composed of 82 nautical graduates in complete uniform from the Southwestern University, about 20 people wearing Team Rama green shirts and several others in orange shirts.
As soon as Zubiri entered the venue, the nautical graduates gave him a snappy salute.
The Poe and Angara squads wore white and yellow shirts, respectively, bearing the candidates’ photos.
Although David, Alcantara and Penson did not have a big crowd of supporters, they were still wildly applauded.
At the end of the forum, the candidates met with the members of the audience, many of whom took the chance to have their photos taken with them.
The boyish-looking Angara was the most in-demand for photos; even the supporters of rival candidates asked to take souvenir shots with him.
Japanese Hiroya Takamatsu, 21, who attended the forum with some friends from the University of the Philippines, said he found the forum “great and interesting.”
Takamatsu, who said he was able to follow the discussions which were conducted mostly in Filipino, said he believes political dynasties are “not so bad.”