LUCENA CITY, QUEZON, Philippines - TV host Willie Revillame once again proved his drawing power for Senator Manny Villar?s Nacionalista Party when thousands of fans stayed from Saturday night to Sunday along a road here just to ensure they got into a concert and political rally by the NP.
As early as Saturday evening, a long line of housewives, farmers and ordinary people formed alongside a road leading to the venue of Villar?s political rally in front of a central bus terminal located in the outskirts of the city.
?Our group arrived here 12 midnight. We want to personally see Willie and Senator Villar. They are both pro-poor that?s why we loved them,? Nenita Arguelles, former village councilor of Pugon in San Francisco town in the Bondoc Peninsula area, said in Filipino. San Fancisco, located at the southern tip of the province, is a four-hour drive to this city.
Revillame and Villar?s entourage that also include her running mate, Senator Loren Legarda and the NP senatorial slate are scheduled to arrive late Sunday afternoon for the political rally.
Asked what made her think that Villar really cared for the poor when she had not even met the presidential candidate, Arguelles replied: ?That?s what we?ve known from his radio and TV ads. That he really cares for us and we believe him. His presidency will make a lot of difference for the poor.?
Based on the data released by the AGB Nielsen Media Research, the advertisements of Villar, estimated to already cost P1.2 billion, have been aired for a total of 8,730 minutes in a span of three months before the start of the official campaign period.
The media research group said Villar?s television and radio ads exceeded the combined airtime of five other leading presidential candidates during the same period.
Arguelles said that if anyone from her neighborhood would be lucky enough to be selected as a game participant and personally meet Revillame and Villar, that person would ask for only one thing ? electrification of their two sitios (settlements) that would cost P1.5 million.
Huge posters and streamers scattered in different parts of the city and municipalities in the province have announced the appearance of Revillame in the rally. Some posters even showed Revillame?s name more prominently than Villar?s and Legarda?s.
Juan Mandeja, farmer from San Narciso town, said he arrived at the venue as early as 5 p.m. Saturday to ask Villar or Revillame, for financial assistance.
?I still owe a hospital P20,000 for the caesarian birth of my son. I?ve known Senator Villar and Willie as pro-poor, I will ask for their help,? he said.
A couple from Infanta town in northern Quezon, who brought along their 11-year-old son, arrived at the venue early morning Sunday.
?We?re just curious to personally see Willie, our idol. But we will also vote for Senator Villar because of Willie,? said Pancho Reyes.
After the interview, rain fell but the throngs of Revillame?s fans and Villar?s supporters did not move to leave the long line. Those with children run for cover at the nearby gasoline station but left their markers in the line.
A group of black-shirted men, who have been hired as security to the rally, were spotted being briefed by their security officer. They were advised to maintain peace and order without being brusque to the crowd.
Uniformed and plainclothes policemen also surrounded the fenced area.