Star power: Coco for Grace, Kris for Mar and Leni
BACOLOD CITY—Local television’s most popular “probinsyano” (country boy) lent his star power to the daughter of the original probinsyano, in her campaign rally in this city and in Victorias on Thursday. He also joined the rally in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan province.
Actor Coco Martin plays SPO1 Ricardo Dalisay in the TV series about a man who joined the police force to avenge the death of his twin brother. The character was originally played by Poe’s father, the late action star, Fernando Poe Jr., more popularly known as FPJ.
“Ang Probinsyano” also stars Poe’s adoptive mother, actress Susan Roces, in the role of Lola Kap, Dalisay’s grandmother.
Roces joined Poe’s earlier campaign rallies, and so did the senator’s half-sister, TV-movie star Lovi Poe, who was in the Cagayan de Oro sortie on Wednesday.
Poe’s running mate, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero also brought along his wife, TV-movie star Heart Evangelista, to a campaign rally earlier this week.
President Aquino’s sister, TV host and movie star Kris Aquino, has been as visible and vocal about her support for the Liberal Party tandem, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, endorsing them on her Facebook posts and joining the Roxas rally in Bacolod and Cebu on Tuesday.
Movie stars and celebrities have always been a staple in Philippine elections and are guaranteed crowd-drawers in rallies where political speeches are interspersed with entertainment numbers.
Martin had long wanted to join her campaign, Poe said.
“We’ve talked about this (for a long time),” she said in an ambush interview in Puerto Princesa on Thursday. “He said he was doing this as a voter because he knows me and knows my platform,” she added.
She expected his popularity to boost her presidential bid, Poe admitted, adding that the “Ang Probinsyano” series was very popular. “So many people (say they) watch it wherever we go.”
Escudero on Thursday said it was natural for wife Heart Evangelista to join him. They appeared together in General Santos City because they were invited to the same event there, he said.
But it was unlikely for them to be together in the coming days, the vice presidential candidate said. With barely three weeks to go before elections, they could cover more ground on the campaign trail if they visit different areas, he added.
About 2,000 people turned up for the Poe campaign sortie in Barangay Banago, Bacolod, which kicked off with a boodle fight. Martin also joined the Poe caravan to EB Magalona town.
At Victorias Coliseum, Poe and Escudero were met by about 7,000 supporters who rushed to the stage when Martin appeared.
Poe asked the crowd to pray for her and help her become the first Ilongga to win the presidency. Detractors have repeatedly harped on Poe’s real citizenship, as she was found abandoned as a baby at Jaro Cathedral in Iloilo.
The senator said she was very honored to have topped the Veritas Truth Survey on Servant Leadership qualities of the 2016 presidential candidates.
No rift with Chiz
Poe described Duterte’s lead over her in the Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations surveys as an indication that she “needed to work harder.”
The senator also denied rumors that she and Escudero have a rift over campaign finances and strategies.
Meanwhile, Rep. Alfredo Benitez (Negros Occidental, 3rd district), a former Liberal Party (LP) chair in Negros Occidental province who has turned Poe supporter, said he believed Negros “would go for Senator Grace in the May 9 polls.”
He said he doubted whether LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas could get the 1 million votes in Negros Occidental as promised by his supporters.
Benitez on Thursday said more leaders from other political parties that include the LP, Aksyon Demokratiko and UNA were coming out in support of Poe, and that despite the groundswell of support for Duterte, his recent remarks on the rape-slay of an Australian missionary was bound to trim his lead.
A Duterte presidency would be too scary and risky for the country, he added.
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