ROXAS CITY, Philippines—Vice President Jejomar Binay denied Wednesday that the reason the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) did not hold a rally here was because of fear that it might not be able to gather a big enough crowd in the political bailiwick of his bitter political rival, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.
“No. We changed the strategy. We revised that part (the rallies),” he told reporters in Filipino.
According to Binay, the UNA has scrapped big rallies in favor of the coalition’s holding two big political gatherings just before the elections on Monday.
The “new strategy” was in effect during the UNA campaign sortie here during which Binay and four senatorial candidates only attended a caucus with local leaders and a motorcade.
To show that UNA also had supporters in so-called Roxas country, he pointed to the gathering of local leaders at the Kapis Mansion which was led by UNA mayoral candidate Vic Bermejo, whose entire National Unity Party ticket was endorsed by Binay during the affair.
The UNA’s miting de avance (final rally) has been set for Friday on busy Bustillos Street in Manila. It was deposed President Joseph Estrada, a senior UNA leader, who picked out the location in the city where he plans to end his political career as its mayor.
The gathering had originally been planned to be held in Bagong Silang, a populous residential area of Caloocan City. The rally in Caloocan will still push through on Saturday, with Binay leading the final endorsement of the coalition’s nine-person senatorial ticket.
For the Caloocan rally, Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, the UNA campaign manager, said the idea was to “bring the rally to the people, not the people to the rally.”
“It’s a conscious way of telling the people that if we win, we will bring the service to you,” he said in a phone interview.
Tiangco said the original choice of Bagong Silang was “out of the box” in terms of campaign strategy. He said it was not unlike the decision to hold the UNA proclamation rally in Cebu, and not Manila, last February.