Press Release
March 9, 2022

Dispatch from Crame No. 1,230:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the red-tagging of VP Leni's supporters

Elections are dirty enough for candidates to still venture out into endangering the lives of their rival candidates through irresponsible red-tagging. All the more that it becomes an infantile attitude when the reason simply is the huge crowd that a certain presidential candidate is able to muster in one's supposed bailiwick, thus breaking the myth that said province is supposedly solidly behind the candidacy of its native son. The sober solution to this is to demonstrate the capability to gather a bigger crowd than one's rival, rather than insinuate that those who have gone to the rally are communists.

This may be the challenge posed by the record crowds gathered in VP Leni's provincial sorties, which her competitors are hard-pressed to match. More and more, the other candidates find themselves wanting the same turn-out in their own rallies. Maybe they will still be able to, considering that election day is still far away and the race is just starting to heat up.

However, VP Leni clearly has the lead when it comes to the passion and spirit of volunteerism of her supporters. Throughout the country, they are spending their own hard-earned money to produce her campaign materials, organize house-to-house campaigns, and recruit other individuals to their cause. This is something that has not been seen in a long time.

VP Leni's candidacy is being carried out on the shoulder of a mass movement borne out of an electoral struggle. This early, she can already be considered as a people's candidate, because no less than ordinary folks and the common people are financing her run and that of her senatorial candidates. This is what all our elections should be, a democratic exercise where candidacies are powered by the support of a broad sector of the population coming from the middle and working classes of society, instead of being bankrolled by the elite or paid for with ill-gotten wealth.

To therefore red-tag those comprising this mass movement of VP Leni supporters is a great disservice to elections as an expression of our democratic way of life. It is no different from running out of ideas and resorting to name-calling, instead of appealing to the minds of the voters. It is a sign of a campaign losing steam even before it has gathered enough heat.

(Access the handwritten version, here:

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