Speaking before her biggest campaign rally so far, Vice President Leni Robredo told tens of thousands of supporters in Bacolod City Friday night that true unity can come only if the nation learns the lessons of its past.
The estimated 70,000-strong crowd in the Negros Occidental capital trumped the crowd of 47,000 in General Trias, Cavite from the previous week. Robredo, who is second to Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos in opinion polls, was the most-searched presidential candidate on Google Trends this week, after the turnout in her campaign rallies.
"Huwag po natin kalimutan ang kasaysayan; sa halip, balikan natin ang mga aral na nagdala sa atin dito. Dito nagbubukal ang totoong unity; ito ang totoong pagkakaisa—pagkakaisang babaklas sa luma at bulok na sistema, at magsusulong ng gobyernong tapat, na mag-aangat sa buhay ng lahat," Robredo said.
Marcos Jr., the only son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, has called for unity while refusing to discuss at length allegations of corruption and human rights abuse that plaged his father's two-decade-long rule.
Robredo's running mate, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, shared drone shots of the Bacolod rally, which he described as proof of the grassroots support for the Robredo-Pangilinan ticket.
"Kapag taumbayan na ang nagpasya, ang imposible nagiging posible. Ipapanalo natin ang labang ito para sa magandang bukas," he said.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer Visayas Bureau and ABS-CBN News both placed the crowd at around 70,000. Robredo acknowledged how she won in Bacolod in 2016, helping her defeat Marcos Jr. for the vice presidency.
Pangilinan's campaign staff told reportr that it was the largest Leni-Kiko rally as of March 11.
"Fifty-nine days to go bago mag May 9. Alam kong ramdam na ninyo ang nararamdaman ko: Palakas nang palakas ang momentum at enerhiya, parami nang parami ang sumasama sa ating hanay, palalim nang palalim ang pagtataya sa ating laban," she said.