VICE-PRESIDENTIAL candidate Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan has warned supporters of the Team Robredo-Pangilinan (Tropa) not to be deceived by those behind the effort to divide their tandem.
“Huwag ho kayong maniniwala doon sa may nagsasabing Rosa (Robredo-Sara Duterte). Gusto ba ninyong iba ang magiging ka-tandem?” Pangilinan said before an estimated 19,000 supporters who filled the San Jose Municipal Plaza and who responded with a thundering “no”.
Pangilinan’s mention of Rosa in a San Jose, Mindoro Occidental rally is the first time he openly addressed the issue before a huge crowd that included local political stalwarts led by Congresswoman Josephine Ramirez-Sato and San Jose Mayor Romulo Festin.
“Di tayo nakakatiyak kung mayroon gustong sumingit na baka iba ang balak na maging pangulo. Protektahan natin at tiyakin na solid ang Leni-Kiko tandem dito sa Occidental Mindoro,” the senator said.
“Kiko is not an option, Kiko is a must,” read one of the banners held by supporters.
Mayor Festin, for his part, assured that Pangilinan is the right person for the vice presidency, citing the latter’s track record and corruption-free background as a veteran legislator and leader of the opposition.
“Siya ang karapat-dapat at wala ng iba pa. Siya ang dadalhin namin dito sa San Jose,” the mayor said.
In an earlier interview, the agriculture advocate confirmed that he agreed not to attend the March 29 grand rally in Borongan City after being informed the night before that local politicos there were endorsing only the candidacy of presidential aspirant Leni Robredo.
But when Robredo went up the stage, supporters started chanting “We want Kiko!” in front of the local politicians who support a different vice-presidential candidate.
Pangilinan in a statement later said “for Leni to increase, I must decrease”, his way to further uplift Robredo’s candidacy. His sacrifice in Borongan City received positive remarks both from supporters and undecided voters.
“In order to ensure that the local political leaders came out in full force to show public support for her bid, I agreed not to attend. In certain localities, to borrow the term, for Leni to increase, I must decrease,” the senator said.
In the latest Pulse Asia Survey, Pangilinan remains third behind Sara Duterte and Tito Sotto, but his numbers increased by 4 points (15%) from the previous release (11%).
University poll surveys, however, show a different outcome, where Pangilinan is the most preferred candidate for the vice-presidency among students and youth voters.
Survey results show that students from top Philippine universities including the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, and the University of Sto. Tomas all agree that Pangilinan is the most capable Robredo successor.