Pangilinan explains absence in Eastern Samar rally

BORONGAN CITY—Vice-presidential bet Senator Kiko Pangilinan on Wednesday, March 30, explained his absence from the Eastern Samar Grand People’s Rally in this city last night, saying it was because he wanted to ensure local officials will come out “in full force” for Vice President Leni Robredo.

Vice-presidential candidate Senator Kiko Pangilinan campaigns in Ormoc City, Leyte on Tuesday, March 29. (Photo by Team Kiko)

Pangilinan was visibly absent during the “Pink Wave Ha Este” Eastern Samar Grand People’s Rally along Baybay Boulevard on Tuesday, March 29, despite attending earlier sorties in Ormoc, Leyte and Naval, Biliran.

“I was informed by our campaign HQ that the local officials in Eastern Samar wanted only to endorse VP Leni and not my candidacy and 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,” he said in a statement sent to Manila Bulletin.

“In certain localities, to borrow the term, for Leni to increase, I must decrease,” Pangilinan added.

Some young Samareños chanted “We want Kiko!” and “Leni Kiko!” during the grand rally by the beach last night.

“Nakakataba ng puso na hinahanap nila ako. Humihingi ako ng pasensya na rin na hindi ako nakadalo kagabi (It is heartwarming that they are looking for me. I apologize for not being there last night). Under a different set of political circumstances, I would have loved to see our kababayans (countrymen) and supporters in Eastern Samar,” the senator added.

READ: ‘We want Kiko’: Samareños looking for Pangilinan after absence from people’s rally

Though none of the Eastern Samar local officials who raised Robredo’s hand supports him, the Vice President asked the crowd last night not to forget about Pangilinan.

“Bago po ako magpaalam, ang hinihingian ko po ng tulong, hindi lang sarili ko. Pero pati din po ang aking vice president (Before I go, I wish to ask for help, not only for myself, but also for my vice president), Senator Kiko Pangilinan,” Robredo said.

This is not the first time local officials endorsed Robredo and not Pangilinan. Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco also endorsed Robredo alone while Pangilinan was on stage.

Climaco, along with congressmen Rufus Rodriguez and Joey Salceda, launched the RoSa (Robredo-Sara) movement to pair Robredo with Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

Team Unity of Misamis Oriental endorsed the RoSa movement and reportedly, Cavite Rep. Pidi Barzaga and Dasmariñas Mayor Jenny Barzaga are also supporting Duterte over Pangilinan.

However, Eastern Samar Mayor Ben Evardone said that he would have to consult the mayors first because they have “different choices” for vice president.

“We will come up soon with a common stand... Yung kay VP Leni (The one for VP Leni) was also done through a consensus,” he added.