GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 17 March) – Old political hands in this city and Sarangani province – in the person of ex-congresswoman and former Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chairperson Luwalhati “Lu” Antonio and former governor Miguel Rene Dominguez, respectively – have thrown their support to the presidential bid of Vice President Leni Robredo.
A huge crowd, enduring the heat and the rain prior to Robredo’s arrival Tuesday evening, gathered at the oval plaza here to root for the vice president, who is gunning for the country’s top post as an independent candidate.
She was accompanied by running mate Senator Kiko Pangilinan and senatorial candidates Senator Dick Gordon, lawyers Chel Diokno and Alexander Lacson, and labor leader Sonny Matula.
Dominguez, a three-term governor (2004 to 2013), introduced Robredo to the crowd, many of them from the youth sector, as the “incoming president of the Republic of the Philippines.”
“Karong gabi-i importante pud na kitang tanang kabatan-unan mamili ta sa eksaktong lider nga makahimo ug daghang plano para sa kaugmaon nato dire sa General Santos ug sa Sarangani,” he said.
(Translation: Tonight, it is important that we, the youth, pick the right leader who can do great for our future in General Santos and Sarangani.)
Dominguez, the son of former Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Paul Dominguez, a brother of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, returned to the private sector after completing his term.
Dominguez, Sarangani’s youngest governor, was the first recipient of the Jesse Robredo Leadership Award given in 2013.
Named after the late Interior and Local Governments Secretary Jesse Robredo, the award honors local executives “who have shown effective, transparent, accountable, participatory, innovative and ethical leadership.”
Jesse, who died in a plane crash in 2012, was the husband of the vice president.
For her part, Antonino, wife of former city mayor and South Cotabato representative Adelbert Antonino, also described Robredo as “the next president of the Philippines.”
The Antoninos founded the local political party Achievement with Integrity Movement, which is fielding local broadcast personality Elmer Catulpos, owner of media company Brigada Group of Companies, for mayor of this city, the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines.”
“Ako’y nandirito para makiusap sa inyo na ang kinabukasan natin ay kailangan nating ipaglabalan sapagkat ang susunod na anim na taon ay napakahirap sa ating bansa. Ang ating bansa ay mababankrupt kung tayo’ y magkamali sa pagpili ng ating leader,” Antonino, who previously served as three-term representative of the 1st District of South Cotabato (1992 – 2001) and chairperson of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) during the Aquino administration.
(Translation: I am here to appeal for our future, we need to fight for it because the next six years will be difficult for our country. Our country will become bankrupt if we choose the wrong leader.)
Antonino did not name names, however. She described Robredo as an “honest and capable leader.” (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)