Binay no-show angers Tondo folk but UNA cries ‘sabotage’
BARANGAY officials and residents of Tondo expressed anger over Vice President Jejomar Binay’s skipping their neighborhood during his campaign in Manila’s first district on Sunday.
“Many were angry. The residents were angry,” said Patrick Jon Sanchez, a coordinator of Karanasan Kakayahan Komitment (KKK) para sa Bayan of Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) in Manila.
Council member Socorro Gumaling of Barangay 199 said nine barangay captains, their council members and other officials waited to listen to what Binay had to say, but the Vice President did not stop to speak to residents of their village.
“They were asking what happened. I didn’t know what to say so I just told them to go home,” said Gumaling, a KKK barangay coordinator.
Sanchez said he wanted an “investigation” to know who “sabotaged” Binay’s visit.
He said a Liberal Party (LP) candidate, Atong Asilo, was scheduled to have a bingo event at the covered court where Binay was scheduled to speak from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The covered court shared by Barangay 152 and Barangay 153 was supposed to be the first stopover for Binay and his ticket in Tondo.
From Chinese General Hospital, UNA candidates led by Binay and his running mate, Sen. Gregorio Honasan, visited the narrow and crowded alleys of Tondo, throwing campaign T-shirts, caps, fans and candies to the residents.
People rushed the candidates’ vehicle to get giveaways.
When they reached Laguna Street at about 2 p.m., the candidates were met by a thick crowd which soon grew thicker and blocked the way to the covered court.
The senatorial candidates, led by former actress Alma Moreno, got off the vehicle one by one. Organizers asked the people to give way but Binay, Honasan and Ali Atienza kept throwing out giveaways, drawing a bigger knot of people to the alley leading to the venue.
After all the senatorial candidates had gotten off, the vehicle backed up and drove away. Some people said they thought it would just take another route, but it never returned.
The senatorial candidates spoke in the covered court. Binay, Honasan and Atienza did not come back to speak to the crowd. Moreno and Jacel Kiram did not discuss their platforms.
Moreno said she would just “knock on the residents’ hearts” to sweep her to the winning circle, while Kiram announced the candidates’ numbers on the ballot as if playing bingo.
Later, she referred to her group as “Team Bingo.”
Senatorial candidate Allan Montaño spoke to children about tax cuts, profit sharing and free health care and education.
Reporters covering the UNA campaign stop left when the turn of Getulio Napeñas, the sacked police Special Action Force commander, to speak came.
Sanchez, Gumaling and other barangay officials gathered on the street to find out why Binay left.
Sanchez said later that he had learned that the Vice President decided to proceed with his motorcade and not come back to the covered court.
Sanchez complained about a “sabotage,” noting that the crowd was unruly and somebody removed the chairs that had been prepared for the UNA candidates.
“This wouldn’t have happened had we done this campaign stop on Hermosa (Street). That is Binay country. This place is Roxas country,” he said, referring to LP presidential standard-bearer Mar Roxas.
Sanchez and another resident who refused to be identified blamed Binay’s no-show on Barangay 153 chair Rommel Pastor de Leon, who they said was member of LP.
De Leon laughed off the accusations. He confirmed Asilo’s scheduled bingo event, but denied he was a member of the LP. “Definitely not LP,” he stressed. “Everyone’s welcome here.”
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