Metro supporters don’t mind waiting 6 hours for Duterte
THE CROWD that spilled out into the streets of southern Metro Manila to welcome Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Friday was a telling sign the capital could be won by the man from Mindanao.
Thousands showed up on Friday afternoon for an ostensible concert on the open grounds of Filinvest in Alabang, Muntinlupa, in a display of support for the feisty mayor and his running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.
The people waited from three to six hours for the habitually late Duterte who had still not shown up by 9 p.m.
Organizers estimated the crowd at 15,000, a large spilling into the streets after 8 p.m.
Duterte arrived after 10 p.m., but the crowd never left. When the candidate finally arrived, he was greeted with air punches and shouts of “Duterte, Duterte.”
Many supporters, wearing the Duterte colors of blue and red, brought their own campaign materials—cardboard placards with handwritten text, flags made of red cartolina, and handmade banners.
The crowd was kept entertained by artists like the all-female group Mocha Girls, singer Jimmy Bondoc and other artists who had pledged their support for Duterte and were performing for free.
Cayetano, who arrived ahead of Duterte, explained why they were behind schedule.
He said the huge crowd that had waited on the roads for their motorcade stretched what was supposed to be an hour-long trip into a six-hour ride.
“The last time I saw that crowd was during Edsa 2,” Cayetano said, referring to the mammoth rally that led to the ouster of President Joseph Estrada.
“My question is: Why did you wait for us?” Cayetano said. He then cited news reports saying that hundreds of supporters deserted a campaign rally of rival candidate Grace Poe at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila last month because of the intense heat inside the venue.
“You are all excited to see change happen?” Cayetano said in Filipino. The crowd answered with a loud, “Yes.”
The crowd erupted into cheers when Duterte finally emerged. “The government is of the people, by the people and for the people,” he said, borrowing Abraham Lincoln’s words.
Recent surveys show a tight race between Duterte and Poe, with Vice President Jejomar Binay and administration standard-bearer Mar Roxas bringing up the rear.
According to the March 15-20 Pulse Asia survey, Duterte and Poe were statistically tied (30 percent and 31 percent, respectively) in the National Capital Region.
The Duterte camp, meanwhile, denied that they had a plan “to unmask Poe,” but said it could not stop people from expressing their apprehensions about her.
Poe has complained of an alleged plot to “unmask” her.
“Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has always treated Grace Poe with deference. But it is the people that are questioning her authenticity and sincerity,” said Duterte spokesperson Peter Laviña. With a report from Nico Alconaba, Inquirer Mindanao
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