Cavite UniTeam Rally sparks ‘procession’ as 90K sports park – Manila Bulletin
GENERAL TRIAS CITY, Cavite–“Nandoon kaya if Robin Padilla? (Will Robin Padilla be there?),” one middle-aged woman asked another.
“Oo, nandoon yun! (Yes, it’s there!),” the other woman replied as they passed through vehicles that were forced to stop along the Arnaldo Highway towards the sports park. General Trias here.
The location was the site of the big UniTeam rally on Tuesday night, March 22, where popular actor Padilla – a senatorial candidate in the polls’ “winner’s circle” – was to serenade the crowd with his campaign song “Wonderful Tonight”. .
“Masakit na sa binti, ‘teh (My feet hurt already, sis)”, the first woman, who probably walked for quite a while in the middle of traffic with hundreds of other Padilla fans – and maybe – to be a hopeful Sandro Marcos fans too.
Not even 15 minutes later, Padilla’s crooner voice was faintly heard singing “It’s late in the evening”; the two women, still a few hundred meters from the crowded sports parks, could not attend the live performance of their idol.
Walking from the All Home Mall to the Sports Park usually only takes 20-25 minutes; Tuesday evening, the 1.4 kilometer walk took at least an hour, not thanks to the transformation of the Arnaldo highway into a parking lot due to the large number of vehicles on it.
Even bikers and cyclists couldn’t get to the rally faster as they had to negotiate the narrow path they had with UniTeam supporters who chose to walk instead of waiting inside of various buses and vans.
There was also no shortage of people walking the other way. “Hindi na ako nakapasok, ang kapal na [ng tao] (I couldn’t get inside anymore, the crowd was too dense),” said an elderly woman.
Unlike the two Padilla supporters, this woman wore a t-shirt with the faces of presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos and vice-presidential bet on Davao mayor Sara Duterte. But she wasn’t going to see the UniTeam duo in person.
Not that night at least. Perhaps they will return, since Tuesday was in fact the second round of the administrative ticket in this province rich in votes since the start of the electoral campaign on February 8.
Such was the fate of rally-goers on Tuesday in what turned out to be another “statement” gathering of supporters of Marcos and Duterte. The sports park was literally overflowing with people, conjuring up images of the equally impressive crowds on the banks of Marikina City just a few nights ago.
Staff Sergeant Jason Olivar of the General Trias Police Station estimated the attendance at the large rally to be around 90,000 people.
That’s not too far off the figure provided by Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla who estimated the people inside the sports park to be around 100,000. However, he claimed there were tens of thousands more who tried to enter.
Remulla was one of the main organizers of the big rally.
In a statement on Wednesday morning March 23, the Lakas-Christian Muslims Democrats (CMD) – Mayor Duterte’s political party – described the Cavite rally as “the largest assembly of supporters of [Marcos and Duterte].”
He further claimed that the latest UniTeam rally “probably eclipsed the turnout at a similar rally in the region organized by another presidential candidate’s camp more than two weeks ago”, referring to the Leader of the Opposition, Vice President Leni Robredo.
Cavite has 2.35 million registered voters spread across 829 barangays, Remulla said. (with reporting by Carla Bauto -Dena)
SUBSCRIBE TO THE DAILY NEWSLETTER
CLICK HERE TO JOIN