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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, February 23, 2013
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35,000 join five
Team PNoy rallies

BY CARLA GOMEZ

About 35,000 cheering Negrenses joined the Team PNoy senatorial candidates in lightning rallies in northern Negros Occidental and in Bacolod City yesterday.

Senator Franklin Drilon, Team PNoy campaign manager, urged Negrenses to help ensure a 12-0 win for the Team PNoy senatorial candidates so President Benigno Aquino can continue to push his reforms in the last three years of his administration, unhampered.

The President enjoys a big mass base support in Negros and many of his programs have benefitted the people of the province, Drilon said, citing the conditional cash transfer and PhilHealth drives for the poor.

These programs deserve the support of the people and if we allow the opposition to gain control of the Senate, they will be put in jeopardy, he said.

We hope Negrenses translate their support for the President into supporting the entire Team PNoy, Drilon said.

Seven of Team PNoy senatorial candidates at the Negros rallies took turnsin presenting their platforms, but a crowd favorite who drew screeches from women was the son of Grace Poe Llamanzares,Brian, who was welcomed like a movie star as he worked the stage like a pro.

Brian said he and his grandmother, Susan Roces, pitch in for his mother when she is tied up campaigning elsewhere. As long as we deliverer her message with sincerity, it is effective, he said.

The seven Team PNoy senatorial candidates who joined the Negros sorties were Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara (LDP), Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel (Akbayan),Loren Legarda(NPC), Ma. Ana Consuelo "Jamby" Madrigal-Valade (LP), Ramon Magsaysay Jr. (LP), Aquilino Martin "Koko" Pimentel III (PDP-Laban), and Cynthia Villar (NP).

KimiAquino represented her husband, Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV (LP), Gary Alejano spoke for Antonio Trillanes IV (NP), while Alan Peter Cayetano (NP) and Francis Escudero (Independent) did not join the team in Negros.

A crowd of about 3,000 joined theTeam PNoy launching of the Pamayanang Liberal at the Bacolod Pavillon Convention Center a 9 a.m. yesterday.

The Team PNoy bets then held lightning rallies organized by Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) in the third district of Negros Occidental where they were greeted by a crowd of 10,000 at the Talisay City covered court, led by Mayor Eric Saratan; 5,000 at the Silay City covered court, led by Mayor Jose Montelibano and Manapla Mayor Lourdes Escalante; and 7,000 at the Victorias public plaza, led by mayoral candidate Francis Frederick Palanca (LP).

In Victorias City, a helicopter dropped ballers of Benitez, while Madrigal threw bracelets to the crowd at the rally.

At the Bacolod City rally last night, Senior Supt. Edgardo Ordaniel placed the crowd at 10,000, Mayor Evelio Leonardia said.

ON UNA

On decision of the United Nationalist Alliance to drop Escudero, Legarda and Poe-Llamanzares from its ticket, Drilon said “they have never been UNA candidates, they have always been administration candidates. That they were adopted by UNA is a decision that UNA made, just as when it dropped them from its ticket.”

Legarda, reacting to the fact that she was dropped as UNA guest candidate, said “The way I see and respect President Joseph Estrada, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile will not change. Politics should not mar friendships and relationships.”

She said she appreciates her inclusion as a guest candidate because, “From the very start, they knew I was with NPC and would not leave my party…They knew that the NPC had pending talks then with the Liberal Party…When finally the talks were final, they knew I was part of the coalition and President Aquino himself personally called me to join his senate slate,” she said.

Binay and Estrada were informed and they told her she should follow the President, she said.

Now that they have decided not to make her a guest candidate, she said she understands perfectly and holds no grudges.

Poe-Llamanzares’s son said they respect the UNA decision and are thankful for all the support its leaders gave his mother.*CPG

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