BAGUIO CITY—In the final week of the campaign, Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan clinched the support of esteemed Baguio residents, national artists, university officials, and the Lakay Banag Sinumlag of the Kalinga.
For the first time, Baguio’s big three universities—Saint Louis University, University of the Cordilleras, and University of Baguio—endorsed a presidential and vice-presidential candidate.
“Bakit (Why)? This is a moral crisis. This is a battle for the soul of our nation,” Ray Dean Salvosa, chairman of the University of the Cordilleras, said on Monday, May 2.
Addressing the youth at the “Takder Kordi” Cordillera People’s Rally, he urged them to convince their families, friends, and acquaintances to vote for Robredo and Pangilinan as he belied claims the Martial Law era was the “Golden Age.”
Dr. Virgilio Bautista, former president of the University of Baguio, also took the stage to remind the crowd of what is at stake.
“Noong panahon namin, walang (During our time, there were no) student organizations. Walang (No) school paper, bawal ang meeting na ganito, kulong tayo lahat (meetings like these are not allowed, we will all be imprisoned),” he said.
“Kaya sana, pagdasal niyo na hindi na maulit ang nangyari sa amin (Hopefully, pray that what happened to us will not happen again),” Bautista added.
National Artists Eric “Kidlat Tahimik” de Guia (for Film) Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera (for Visual Arts), and Virgilio “Rio Alma” Almario (for Literature) who were normally social recluses, also went on stage for Robredo and Pangilinan.
The Leni-Kiko tandem capped their campaign in the so-called “Solid North” region with jam-packed crowd of supporters and volunteers at the Melvin Jones Grandstand.
Almario lamented the ills of the Filipino society and how all presidential bets, except Robredo, shunned their manifesto for the culture and arts.
“Ang higit na malubha nating problema ay kultura: masamang values, masamang edukasyon, baluktot na katwiran, kulang na pagmamahal sa bayan. Lahat na ‘yan ay problemang pangkultura (The worse problem we have is culture. Bad values. Bad education. Twisted logic. Lack of love for country. All of those are cultural problems),” he said.
They became “kakampinks” because it was only Robredo who responded to their manifesto.
“Panahon na para magbago ang Pilipinas. Panahon na para mawala ang korapsyon. At mangyayari lang ito kung kasama namin kayo na iboboto sa Mayo 9 ang ating kakampink (It is time for the Philippines to change. It is time for corruption to end. But this will only happen if you are with us and will vote on May 9 our kakampink),” Almario stressed.
Kidlat Tahimik, or Eric de Guia in real life, told the crowd not to be intimidated by “false” survey results.
The last pre-election presidential preference survey by Pulse Asia for April had Robredo at just 23 percent while former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has 56 percent.
Cabrera, for his part, said that only Robredo and Pangilinan are the rightful leaders of the country.
The Lakay Banag Sinumlag of the Kalinga also endorsed the tandem, citing their zero records of corruption as a reason.
“Kaming mga taga Cordillera at taga Kalinga ay hindi papayag na susuportahan ang pamilya ni Bongbong Marcos dahil matagal na silang kaaway (Us from Cordillera and Kalinga will not allow to support the family of Bongbong Marcos because they are our enemies for a long time),” his interpreter said.
“Lalo na kaming mga taga kabundukan na walang katiting na kapayapaan na naranasan noong panahon ng Martial Law. Wala tayong dahilan upang tulungan si (Especially us from the mountains who had known no peace under Martial Law. There is no reason for us to help) Bongbong Marcos,” it added.
Before Baguio City, Robredo also visited Kalinga and Abra, marking the end of her campaign in the “Solid North” as she’s set to visit Visayas and Mindanao before a Miting de Avance on Saturday, May 7.