Aquino woos crowds for LP bets but says he’s dateless
IRIGA, Camarines Sur—He will be dateless on Valentine’s Day, or so President Benigno Aquino III says.
But at least one lady received a box of chocolates from the bachelor President who handed it to her in front of a cheering crowd at a ruling Liberal Party campaign rally here on Friday.
Mr. Aquino, 56, surprised senatorial candidate Leila de Lima with the candy treat, titillating the audience that had gathered here to show their support for the administration ticket led by Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo.
“I’ve noticed that Leila has been losing weight, she might end up joining Binibining Pilipinas (beauty pageant),” the President said from the podium, while signaling to an aide who handed him a box of Galaxy Flutes chocolates.
He then walked over to De Lima, who was seated onstage flanked by Robredo and another senatorial candidate, Rep. Cris Paez.
A laughing De Lima, who is from Iriga City, stood up to receive the chocolates from the President and then showed the box to the crowd which cheered and hooted.
The President and De Lima are both single. De Lima’s marriage has been annulled. She has two sons.
The Inquirer has learned that quite early in his administration, the President had observed De Lima’s fondness for chocolates. He reportedly noticed how she would help herself to the chocolates served during meetings.
Wooing local crowds
The President’s loveless state is a constant theme in his speeches, which he cleverly puts to good use to get his audience’s attention.
It has worked well in the campaign rallies as he stumps for Roxas, Robredo and the administration senatorial candidates, grabbing the crowd’s attention throughout his speech.
Mr. Aquino woos the crowds in the provinces by describing in their own language how pretty the local women are.
In Bicol on Friday, the ladies were magayunun (very beautiful), he said. In Iloilo at the kick off campaign rally on Tuesday, the women were guapa (lovely), Mr. Aquino said, adding that those who were going to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a date were lucky.
At the Iriga rally on Friday, the President said that Valentine’s Day was fast approaching “for you, but not for me.”
“Maybe next year,” Mr. Aquino told his adoring audience. In an earlier speech, he said that while the new administration should be buckling down to work by July 1, he should be courting a girl already.
The President leaves for California on Monday for a special summit meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its strategic ally, the United States. He will be returning home at the end of next week.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, the President warned people that candidates would be courting them for their votes.
“We must be careful. Many will give you sweet promises but the truth is, they will only love themselves,” he said.
This was the reason, he emphasized, that the people must vote Roxas for President, and Robredo for Vice President, and the administration senatorial candidates.
In the town of Pili, where he inaugurated a newly widened diversion road before going to Iriga, Mr. Aquino said in a speech that Roxas and Robredo are candidates who do not just make promises.
“They have made sacrifices and they have worked for the good of the majority. In their years of public service, their names have remained clean because for them, it is country before self,” Mr. Aquino said, adding that Roxas and Robredo will certainly enhance the “straight path” that his administration has started.
True to his word
The President said that he himself has been “true” to his word, to the promises he made when he ran in 2010.
“I addressed (government’s) shortcomings and (the country’s) problems for them not to worsen and be inherited by whoever will succeed me. Our hope is they would have a stronger foundation for development and they would be better equipped to lead the whole nation to progress,” he said.
As for the recipient of the box of chocolates, the President praised De Lima, the former justice secretary, for filing charges and throwing wrongdoers in jail, regardless of their official position or status in life.
“That’s justice. That’s Leila de Lima,” he said. TVJ
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