KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 19 April) – Holding a press conference under an open cottage at a public park here without paying a centavo, presidential candidate and labor leader Leodegario “Ka Leody” de Guzman rejected Monday calls for Vice President Leni Robredo to withdraw, in stark contrast to the Easter Sunday joint press conference held at the posh Manila Peninsula hotel where three other contenders claimed they were asked by the Robredo camp to withdraw.
“Parang suntok sa buwan ang kanilang panawagan… Napaka-imposible naman na gawin ni VP Leni na siya ang mag withdraw” (It seems that their call is a punch on the moon…It’s very impossible that VP Leni will withdraw), the Laban ng Masa standard bearer told reporters
He held his press conference in an open cottage at the Rizal Park, a public facility here. His local organizers say they did not pay a single centavo, but only asked for a clearance from the city government. After the press conference, De Guzman and his 100 supporters marched in the streets to support the retention of the open-pit mining ban in South Cotabato (read related story).
On Sunday, presidential candidates Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Senator Panfilo Lacson and former National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales held a joint press conference at the luxurious Manila Peninsula hotel, where they vowed not to back out of the presidential race.
The trio claimed the Robredo camp allegedly asked them to back out.
For his part, Moreno called on Robredo to withdraw from the presidential contest.
Senator Manny Pacquaio, another presidential candidate, was supposed to join the press conference but did not show up.
On Sunday, De Guzman, who campaigned in T’boli, South Cotabato, mocked on social media the Manila Peninsula presser, saying: “Masarap ang halohalo dito sa South Cotabato pero di singmahal nung halohalo sa Manila Pen. Ano bang kaguluhan dun ngayon?” (The halohalo in South Cotabato is delicious but not as expensive as the halohalo at the Manila Pen. What’s the mess over there?)
His social media post was accompanied with a photo showing him eating halohalo, a refreshing mix of finely crushed ice, evaporated milk and sweetened banana, beans, kamote, jackfruit and other kinds of fruits.
In his campaign sortie here Monday, De Guzman, who vowed to fight it until the end even if he’s trailing behind, noted that Robredo is far ahead in surveys compared to Moreno, Lacson and Gonzales.
Instead of bickering among themselves, the labor leader called on the presidential contenders to unite against former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
“Let us go down to the barangays where we will unmask and tell the people the truth about the persona of Bongbong Marcos,” said De Guzman.
The bottom line is we should not let the Marcos family return to power, he added.
De Guzman earlier asked Marcos Jr. to pay his family’s estate taxes amounting to P203 billion and recalled the horrors of martial law imposed by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Bongbong’s father.
In his obviously thrifty and volunteer-driven sortie here, the labor leader described Marcos Jr. as a leader “with a weak vision.”
“He failed to develop his small province of Ilocos Norte, how much more our country [if he wins]?” De Guzman said.
Marcos Jr. was governor of Ilocos Norte from 1983 to 1986 and then from 1998 to 2007.
De Guzman was accompanied here by running mate Walden Bello and senatorial bets lawyer Luke Espiritu and environmental advocates Roy Cabonegro and David D’Angelo. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)