Manila Standard : GMA, Pinedas of Pampanga endorse BBM, Kapampangans boost Sara’s bid

By Maricel Cruz | Manila Standard

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Friday night led her native Pampanga province’s officials in endorsing the presidential bid of former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) before about 250,000 supporters who attended the UniTeam festival rally in San Fernando.

Arroyo, a former House Speaker who earlier endorsed the vice-presidential bid of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, said Marcos was also endorsed by the influential Pineda clan led by the mother-and-son tandem of Pampanga Gov. Dennis Pineda and Vice Gov. Lilia Pineda, four congressmen and 20 mayors.

This was as the people of Nueva Ecija again showed their full support for the UniTeam as presidential survey frontrunner “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. visited the province for the third time on Friday.

During his speech at SMDC, Barangay Sta. Arcadia, in Emilio Vergara Highway, Cabanatuan City on Friday, Marcos hailed the province for its systematic agriculture system, which he said must be done all over the country.

GMA,…After his visit to Nueva Ecija, the former senator immediately went to San Fernando, Pampanga for another UniTeam rally, where he was joined by Duterte.

Dubbed as “Arroyo Country,” Pampanga is a known bailiwick of “GMA” — a party-mate of Duterte, who currently chairs the Lakas-CMD. The Davao City mayor is also the chairperson of regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP).

“Mahal kong cabalen (kababayan), Kapampangan, mga kaibigan, sa ngalan ni Governor Delta Pineda, sa ngalan ni Vice Governor Nanay Baby Pineda, sa ngalan ng apat na congressmen ng Pampanga, sa ngalan ng dalawampung mayor ng Pampanga, ito na po ang susunod na Pangulo ng Republika ng Pilipinas, Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr.,” Arroyo told the crowd at the Robinsons Grounds in San Fernando.

Fresh from barnstorming Northern Mindanao, Marcos and Duterte returned to Pampanga to solidify the support of this vote-rich province in Central Luzon, as a mammoth crowd from all over the province showed their all-out support to the tandem.

Arroyo’s show of support, and the Pinedas to the candidacies of Marcos and Duterte, was overwhelming as shown by the huge number of supporters who crammed the rally site.

Pampanga has 1.58 million registered voters for the May 9 polls. San Fernando, according to Philippine Statistics Authority data in 2020, has a population of 354,666.

Arroyo assured Marcos and Duterte that local officials of Pampanga will fully support the UniTeam.

Duterte thanked the Kapampangans as she expressed confidence of winning the race because of their very warm support to UniTeam.

“Maraming salamat, mahal ko kayo, mahalin natin ang Pilipinas! Kapag sinabi ng mga Kapampangan na panalo na ang Bisaya, malakas ang loob ko mananalo ako! Maraming salamat,” Duterte said.

Both Marcos and Duterte read one of the placards from a supporter stating “excited na kaming pumunta ng EDSA para sa victory party.”

In his message, Marcos maintained his call for unity as he vowed to continue the plans and projects of the Duterte administration, as well as the battle against criminality and the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program which generated over 6.5 million jobs.

Marcos said he was speechless upon seeing the Kapampangans overwhelming support for their political bid.

He also reiterated that his partnership with Duterte-Carpio is a great example of how to unite the country.

UniTeam senatorial candidates Sherwin Gatchalian, Robin Padilla, Gregorio Honasan, Gilbert Teodoro, Jinggoy Estrada, Herbert Bautista, and Larry Gadon attended the grand rally, while former Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo was also there, although he is not officially part of the slate.

Marcos said with the help of the whole UniTeam, including their senatoriables, there is a high chance that all the plans prepared by him and his running mate Mayor Inday Sara Duterte will be a success.

He also cited the need to address the education and health system in the country as well as lowering the price of electricity.

For her part, Nueva Ecija gubernatorial candidate and Palayan City Mayor Rianne Cuevas, who hosted the rally, called Marcos the next president of the Philippines and told her constituents to fully support his candidacy.