NOY RICH IN PEOPLE NOT CASH

Posted on April 14, 2010

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By Marian Z. Codilla, Reporter
 

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A sea of yellow greeted Liberal Party presidential bet Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III in last night’s proclamation rally in a Talisay City gym with a crowd of over 7,000.

Other Cebuano supporters carrying yellow banners and T-shirts stood along the highway as Aquino’s convoy traveled from Argao town in the south starting 3 p.m.

Asked about party aid for local candidates, Aquino told a press conference in Cebu City in the morning that funds may be given next week, but nothing big.

“We are not a party awash with money. We are a party of the people,” he said.

No figures were mentioned but Aquino assured that “Hopefully we can share the limited resources that we have by the latest, next week.”

His caravan included Cebu gubernatorial bet Hilario Davide III and running mate Greg Sanchez Jr., along with LP senatorial candidates.

A report of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) placed Aquino and rival Sen. Manuel Villar as top campaign spenders and said they already exceeded legal limits for election expenses in advertisements and campaigning.

Aquino yesterday announced that a “stalwart” of the administration, whom he wouldn’t name, would be joining his side soon.

“Next week po, magugulat kayo. Isa sa mga stalwarts sa kasalukuyang administrsayon as ssasama po sa kampanya natin,” he said.(Next week, you’ll be surprised. One of the stalwarts of the administration will be joining our campaign.)

With less than 30 days to go, the release of campaign funds for local supporters has been shaking up party loyalties and alignments, especially the administration Lakas-Kampi CMD.

Mayors and other local officials of Cebu’s 1st district, which includes Talisay, signed a manifesto over the weekend supporting presidential bet Villar of the Nacionalista Party even though the officials, who belong to the Alayon, have an alliance with One Cebu, which is campaigning for Gilbert Teodoro of the Lakas-Kampi CMD.

Rep. Eduardo Gullas of the 1st district, a known Villar supporter, yesterday denied mayors were paid to sign the manifesto.

“The (reported figure of) P250,000 is preposterous. I and all our leaders in the 1st district have long ago committed to support Senator Villar,” Gullas said in a text to Cebu Daily News in reaction to a story published Tuesday.

“This is known in the entire province. We have time and again expressed that commitment verbally and in a manifesto signed at the University of the Visayas when the senator was the guest of the First District Leaders conference.”

The crowd of yellow in Talisay City, for last night at least, stamped the area for the Liberal Party instead of the orange campaign color of Villar’s Nacionalista Party.

Cebu province with its 2.4 million votes is the largest voting province. Of this number, about 700,000 voters are in Cebu City.

Aquino held a press conference at Cebu City Hall, where Mayor Tomas Osmeña said his support for the Liberal Party bets Aquino and Sen. Mar Roxas was based on “what is the best for Cebu City”.

“We need a government that is clean,” he said.

Although Cebu delivered a victory for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2004, the mayor said Cebu is not GMA country in this election.

“(Arroyo) is not part of the equation here. We all respect (her) in Cebu, me in particular, but she’s not a candidate. We are supporting Noynoy and Mar.”

“Here in Cebu, we have our own resources. We don’t need projects from Malacañang. We just want fair treatment. And we give full support for Noynoy and Mar because their integrity is without question.”

HELICOPTERS

Aquino and LP candidates arrived in Argao town about 3 p.m. on three helicopters. They led a motorcade to Talisay City.

Event organizer Ireneo Leuterio estimated the crowd in the Lagtang sports complex at 30, 000. Other independent observers placed the crowd at 7,000 to 10,000 at its peak.

Aquino was joined by senatorial candidates Yasmin Lao, Sonia Roco, Martin Bautista, Neric Acosta and Ralph Recto.

Thousands gathered in barangay Ocaña in the Argao town since 12 noon, waiting for the LP candidates. They cheered when the helicopters touched down.

Peopled lined the national highway from Argao town to Talisay City to get a glimpse of Aquino and the other candidates.

Some waved yellow flags, campaign posters. They all flashed the “L” sigh for laban (fight) as Aquino and companions tossed yellow wristbands.

The LP proclamation rally in Talisay started 8 p.m.

Aquino asked the crowd to elect Davide Cebu governor and support other local LP bets, including Raul Bacaltos for Talisay mayor.

“It is the local government who implements projects. Paano magkakaroon ng efficiency kung puro bangayan?’’

Acosta said in an interview after that rally that he was caught by surprise by the crowd’s support and was touched to see people bring out yellow t-shirts, bags and flags.

“This is a people powered election. This is a people power distinguished as an election,” he said.

The rally ended with a fireworks display. /With a report by Jhunnex Napallacan and Malou Apalisok