Pro-Duterte groups to hold grievance rally

Pro-Duterte groups to hold grievance rally
Photo by Ramcez Villegas

POLITICAL support groups under the wing of former President Rodrigo Duterte are organizing a prayer rally scheduled on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024, to express their grievances against President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.

Irene Caballes, the rally’s lead convener, said on Tuesday, Feb. 20, the event which will be held at the South Road Properties (SRP) in Cebu City will also be their collective expression of opposition to the planned amendment of the 1987 Constitution, particularly the People’s Initiative signature campaign.

This is the second prayer rally organized by Duterte supporters for the same cause, after a similar event last Jan. 28 in Davao City.

The Davao rally reportedly gathered around 53,000 attendees, according to a SunStar Davao report last month.

Edsa Anniversary

Caballes said the prayer rally on Feb. 25 is significant as it coincides with the anniversary of the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution, which, to her, symbolizes the civilian authority’s steadfast insistence.

The People Power Revolution was a series of mass demonstrations that occurred mainly in the capital from Feb. 22 to 25, 1986. It ultimately led to the overthrow of the authoritarian regime of President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., father of the incumbent President.

Caballes clarified that the prayer rally will not be an anti-Marcos campaign. Instead, it will serve as an avenue for transparency, accountability, peace, and security for the country, she said.

“(It’s) about what we feel about the happenings within our government and society in the past year and a half or so,” she said.

Ruben Virtucio of Professionals for Sara (Prosar) Nation, said the rally will start at 7 p.m. at the Kasadya sa SRP grounds. Prior to the main event, a caravan will be held from Carmen town in the north and Carcar City in the south at 1 p.m.

Aside from airing their political grievances, participants will be reciting Christian and Muslim prayers as a “sign of unity,” organizers said.

The former president and his sons Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte and Congressman Paolo Duterte are expected to be in the rally. It remains unclear whether his daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte will join them.


Other political figures invited to join the event include former Marcos campaign spokesman and executive secretary Victor Rodriguez, ex-Biliran representative Glenn Chong, former Duterte spokesman Harry Roque, Malolos Mayor Christian Natividad, and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.

Popular TV host Willie Revillame will be present to entertain the crowd.

Organizers said there is an “open invitation” for Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia to attend the prayer rally.

Caballes said they expect to gather around 30,000 attendees, the majority of whom will be from Duterte-support groups like Prosar, Kilusang Pagbabago, Cebu Coalition for Transparency, Accountability, Peace, and Security, and Tabang Mindanao.

Virtucio said the event will be privately funded and dispelled notions that public funds will be used to gather a “hakot” crowd — the practice of several Philippine politicians of hauling people into an event by incentivizing their presence with money.

However, there will be free transportation provided for supporters who will not have vehicles to take them to the SRP.

Virtucio said two buses will be made available to shuttle attendees between the venue and SM City Cebu.

Meanwhile, Cathy Cortes Maluya, overall chairman of the prayer rally, said they have prepared 30,000 to 50,000 food packs for participants.

She said the meals will be sponsored by private individuals.


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