Leni, Isko visit Visayas to court voters | Inquirer News

Leni, Isko visit Visayas to court voters

Capizeños pour into the streets of the capital Roxas City to join Vice President Leni Robredo’s sortie. (Photo from VP Leni Robredo Facebook page)

ILOILO CITY—Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday toured Capiz and Aklan provinces, where she won handily against former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in the 2016 elections.

Unlike in 2016, however, the governors of the two provinces have not openly endorsed her and may even support rival candidates.


But Roxas City, the capital of Capiz, was festive as thousands of Capizeños lined up the streets, waving flaglets and balloons, cheering to the beat of drums and shouting “Leni, Leni,” as Robredo arrived with her running mate Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and several members of her senatorial slate.


In Eastern Visayas, Manila City Mayor and presidential aspirant Isko Moreno had a sortie in the region.

The actor-turned-politician hoped to get some votes in the region, where two other presidential candidates–Senator Manny Pacquiao and former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.– traced their roots.

In Roxas City, many people were waiting for Robredo about 6 a.m., two hours before she arrived at 8 a.m. at the city airport.

Supporters lined up along the caravan route from the airport to the Archbishop’s Palace, where she met Msgr. Cyril Villarreal, administrator of the Capiz Archdiocese and the clergy.

Robredo then proceeded to the Dinggoy Roxas Civic Center for an assembly of the Robredo People’s Council (RPC)-Capiz, which groups all her supporters and volunteers in the province.

Organizers said at least 4,000 supporters, including about 1,000 outside the venue, attended the assembly.


Members of various organizations and individual volunteers came from Roxas City and the 16 towns of the province.

“We told Leni’s supporters that she would be visiting, and they immediately responded. We have no budget, and these are volunteer-driven,” business operator Judith Azarcon-Marquez, a convener of the RPC-Capiz, told the INQUIRER in a telephone interview.

Lawyer Remia Fuentes-Bartolome, one of those who attended, said Robredo is an inspiration, especially for those seeking public office.

“VP Leni’s pro-poor platform and her performance despite her limited resources is an inspiration that can be applied on a smaller scale like in the province,” said Bartolome, who is seeking a seat in the provincial board as an independent candidate.

In her speech, Robredo thanked Capizeños for their support during the 2016 elections.

She trounced Marcos Jr. in the vice presidential race in the province, garnering more than 244,000 votes against the more than 42,000 that Marcos Jr. garnered.

Robredo got around 73.5 percent of the total votes, while Marcos Jr. got around 12.8 percent, among the highest in the provinces, in the 2016 elections.

But support from Capiz officials is not solid, unlike in 2016.

Roxas City Mayor Ronnie Dadivas, who is running for re-election under the Liberal Party, members of the city council, Capiz Rep. Emmanuel “Tawi” Billones, and several provincial board members, were at the assembly.

But Capiz Gov. Esteban Evan Contreras, who is running for re-election under the Cusi wing of the ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), was not present.

He has not openly endorsed candidates for the national elections but welcomed Marcos Jr. and running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio during the tandem’s visit to the province in December last year.

Robredo cited the programs her office had implemented, including livelihood, calamity assistance, and COVID-19 pandemic response, to Capiz despite its limited budget.

She warned of “candidates who only remember us during elections” and those “who say they care for the poor.”

Robredo said she would prioritize health services, especially in the communities, including ensuring a nurse for every barangay, accessibility of doctors, and adequate compensation and training for barangay health workers.

She said she would also push for more accessible education for the poor and a reasonable workload and adequate salaries for teachers.

Robredo had a private lunch meeting with Dadivas and members of the city council at the City Hall before flying to Camp General Macario Peralta Jr. in Jamindan town in Capiz, where she met with officials and troops of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division.

She was to proceed to Aklan, where she would meet with Aklan Gov. Florencio Miraflores and Kalibo Bishop Jose Corazon Tala-oc.

Miraflores, who heads the Tibyog Aklan local party, and on his third and final term, had not openly endorsed any presidential candidate.

Robredo and her slate will also speak before an assembly of RPC-Aklan at the Aklan Catholic College campus in the capital town of Kalibo.

Her sortie proceeded to Boracay Island in Malay town in Aklan on Wednesday.

Robredo won by a large margin over Marcos Jr. in the vice presidential race in Aklan in the 2016 elections.

She got more than 145,000 votes (55.5 percent) against Marcos Jr., who garnered more than 50,000 votes (19.4 percent).

Presidential aspirant Moreno had a two-day sortie in Eastern Visayas.


Moreno, whose mother is from Allen town, Northern Samar, made his first sortie Monday in Calbayog City, Samar, meeting with its mayor, Diego Rivera, who is a known member of the Nacionalista Party, but is now running under the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan.

After his political rally in the city of more than 135,000 registered voters, Moreno met with his running mate, Dr. Willie Ong, and their senatorial candidates before proceeding to Catbalogan City, the provincial capital of Samar.

On Monday night, Moreno had a motorcade along the city’s major streets and later had a town hall meeting at the city’s public park, where he gave flowers as his gifts for Valentine’s Day to the women present.

He then had a private dinner with some provincial officials led by Samar Gov. Michael Reynolds Tan.

In his speech, Moreno said it was about time that a Waray should hold a national elective position.

“It has been more than six decades. Sixty years ago, someone from (Eastern Visayas) was elected to a national post. That was Docoroso Rosales,” he said.

Rosales, who was from Calbayog, was elected senator in 1955.

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Eastern Visayas, composed of six provinces, is among the country’s vote-rich regions with a voting population of 3.16 million based on the Jan. 2 records from the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

TAGS: #VotePH2022, Aklan, Capiz, Isko Moreno, Leni Robredo

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