The Philippine Star : UniTeam courts vote-rich Cebu

19 April 2022

By Kristine Joy Patag | The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — A week after the UniTeam ticket of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte bagged the endorsement of the dominant One Cebu Party, the tandem held a grand rally in Cebu with a claimed crowd of 300,000.

Marcos and the rest of the UniTeam slate returned to vote-rich Cebu, where he lost to his rival Vice President Leni Robredo in 2016, to woo its more than 3.28 million voters.

The UniTeam campaign on Tuesday said Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia, House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez (Leyte) and Rep. Yedda Marie Romuladez (Tingog party-list) organized the event.

Garcia is the president of One Cebu, an affiliate of the administration PDP-Laban party that earlier endorsed the tandem.

In the release, Garcia was quoted as promising that Cebu will give Marcos and Duterte a landslide victory.

Marcos has been visiting Cebu since October 2021.

In the 2016 vice presidential elections, he came in third in the province. Robredo secured 807,922 votes, while Marcos had 307,676 votes. Second is Alan Peter Cayetano who had 656,876 votes.

President Rodrigo Duterte, whose daughter is running with Marcos, however, won in the province with a nearly double lead over Liberal Party bet Mar Roxas.

Marcos thanked Garcia, four city officials and other Cebu town mayors for holding the rally, saying it is the “biggest political event” he attended in the campaign season.

The City of Las Piñas earlier claimed a crowd of 500,000 at a UniTeam caravan held there, but it was disputed to be welcomed by around 18,000 residents and supporters.

“I know many of you have been waiting for long, under the sun but you did not leave so until now the number of [attendees of] this rally is the biggest in the whole campaign,” he added in Filipino.

The FREEMAN reported that the crowd started gathering at the venue starting at 4 in the afternoon. By 7 p.m., local police estimated 120,000 people participating in the rally.

By 10:30 p.m, The FREEMAN in Cebu reported that the crowd estimate ballooned to 300,000.

Cebu and the Marcos regime
Cebu province's history is fraught with bitter and haunting memories of the bloody Martial Law regime of dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Cebu, being the first and one of the major venues of resistance during the Marcos regime, had many of its residents fall victim to rights abuses and violence under Martial Law. That period saw the detention of lawyer Democrito Barcenas and former Congressman Antonio Cuenco, among others.

In September 2012, the Cebu City Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission said it would unveil a Martial Law marker at Plaza Independencia to remember the victims of the brutal regime.

The marker "is a testament to the courage of Cebuano martyrs whose lives were sacrificed in the fight against Martial Law," according to the text on it.

It serves as a reminder "that those who live will always remember to guard the freedom they fought so hard to reclaim.”

The FREEMAN in December 2016 said the marker will included 15 names, including Martial Law survivors “worthy of emulation.”

Judge Meinrado Paredes, a Martial Law survivor, was quoted in the report as saying that it is important to cascade stories of Martial Law from generation to generation to fight the resurgence of tyranny in the country.

Marcos' supporters have played down the abuses of the Martial Law period, have claimed they are fabrications, or have told people to move on from it. — with reports from The FREEMAN/Jean Demecillo, Jessica Ann Pareja