Business Mirror : BBM, UniTeam draw big crowds in QC, Mandaluyong

15 February 2022

By Business Mirror

PRESIDENTIAL aspirant Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. received a warm welcome from tens of thousands in two key Metro Manila cities, Mandaluyong and Quezon City, as he continued to dominate pre-election surveys.

On Monday afternoon, a big crowd welcomed the former senator at the Amoranto Stadium in QC, where he proceeded after attending the 98th birthday of former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

Enrile was one of the leaders of the 1986 bloodless revolt that resulted in the US exile of the Marcoses, but he and Ferdinand Jr. have since reconciled and even worked together in the Senate.  Marcos Jr. was one of only three senators – the others being Joker Arroyo and Miriam Santiago – who voted to acquit then Chief Justice Renato Corona in his 2012 impeachment trial when Enrile, as then Senate President, presided, as required by the Constitution.

The QC rally, organized by Partido Malayang Quezon City led by mayoral aspirant Mike Defensor and vice-mayoral aspirant Winnie Castelo, started at 1 pm but residents started arriving in droves even before the designated entrance gate of the complex was opened at 10 a.m.

An usher said they started allowing people in at 10am, and estimated that 25,000 were already inside the stadium, with many others outside the complex.

Castelo debunked critics’ claim that “Bongbong Marcos is nowhere to be seen in crisis,” noting that  “in [super storm] Yolanda, the SAF 44 [shooting tragedy], the Marawi [siege], the Taal eruption and typhoon Odette, among otehrs, he was there. He is always first to help.”

Defensor introduced Marcos as “the next president” of the country.

In ‘Tiger City’

Before the Amoranto Stadium appearance, Marcos Jr. received support from residents of Mandaluyong City during the proclamation rally held on Sunday in the area dubbed “Tiger City.”

Mandaluyong City is home to Benhur Abalos, who recently resigned as chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority to serve as UniTeam’s national campaign manager.

Abalos also served in the local government of Mandaluyong from 1995 to 2016 as councilor, mayor, and congressman.

“Bright, the most qualified, and above all, a man with a heart (referring to Marcos)… Let’s recall – on May 5, 2016, nearly six years ago on this same spot I was with Majority Floor Leader Martin Romualdez. How many votes did Marcos get in Mandaluyong? A rousing victor in all of Metro Manila,” Abalos said.

Now, Abalos added partly in Filipino, “There are more of us, this is the loud clamor of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, [let me introduce] the next president of the Philippines, the Tiger of the North.”  

For his part, the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) standard-bearer explained that they picked UniTeam for his tandem with Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte because they are united in the vision of resolving the country’s problems.

“We are called UniTeam because unity is our objective and our dream for the Filipino nation. Inday Sara and I are united in resolving the problems of our country.”

Marcos thanked the people of Mandaluyong for the warm welcome and support, as well as the Abalos family, who organized the rally.

Actress and TV host Toni Gonzaga appeared onstage in the middle of the program to sing “Roar,” especially when she came to the line “I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter.”

Based on the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) estimate, more than 30,000 supporters attended the event. A drone shot showed the massive crowd occupying the stretch of Nueve de Febrero and the streets of F. Martinez Avenue and Fabella Road.