URDANETA CITY—Fresh from a May 1 rest due to cough and colds, President Benigno Aquino III bounced back on Thursday to make a last-minute pitch for Team PNoy candidates in vote-rich Pangasinan.
During a meeting with 5,000 local political and community leaders from Pangasinan’s 3rd, 5th and 6th districts at the cultural center here, the President appealed for their support to his senatorial and local candidates.
This was Mr. Aquino’s second visit to this province since March 15 when he proclaimed Team PNoy candidates in Dagupan and Alaminos cities.
This province has some 1.6 million voters, representing 57 percent of Ilocos region’s voting population.
Only Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara and former Sen. Jamby Madrigal made it to the meeting, which turned into a political rally.
Former Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros was represented by her nephew; former Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr. was represented by his sister; and the President’s cousin, Bam Aquino, was represented by his wife.
Mr. Aquino also endorsed Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza as “my candidate for governor” and former Philippine National Police chief, Arturo Lomibao, who is running for vice governor.
Manila Economic and Cultural Office chair, Amadeo Perez Jr., who, for many years was mayor here, was also in the meeting. Perez’s son, Amadeo Gregorio IV, is the incumbent Urdaneta mayor.
Pangasinan Rep. Kimi Cojuangco, who is seeking reelection under the Nationalist People’s Coalition, was also in the meeting. But Cojuangco said that she was there to welcome the President and to reiterate her district’s support for the administration.
Earlier in Binmaley town, the President wondered out loud about the minimal rise in Pangasinan’s voting population. He said there were about a million Pangasinan voters in 1986 when his mother, the late President Corazon Aquino, ran in the snap presidential elections against the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
“Did the Pangasinenses become responsible parents? Or are they migrating because there is no source of livelihood in Pangasinan?” he asked in Filipino. Gabriel Cardinoza and Yolanda Sotelo, Inquirer Northern Luzon