“Political concerts”: The new campaign format
It was a political rally complete with speeches, confetti, free shirts, caps, loud sound systems and election jingles. But a young rock band group was on stage, not the candidate.
That’s how detained former senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan’s family launched his senatorial campaign Friday night at the Rizal Park here.
The crowd was treated to the usual antics in a political rally and head-banging rock band performances, too.
Honasan signed up as an independent senatorial candidate on February 7, even if he was jailed for charges of rebellion for his alleged role in the Oakwood mutiny in 2003.
Honasan’s wife Jane, said to be a Davaoeña, led the Honasans in the political rally.
Rocksteddy band performed at least seven songs to a partying crowd, composed mostly of young people, after a video of the former senator’s message was shown via an LCD projector.
He urged “fellow Mindanawons” not to allow their votes to be wasted as the rich’s vote is just the same as the poor’s vote.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte did not show up in the rally even if he is a known ally of Honasan. Duterte endorsed the administration party’s Team Unity senatorial candidates weeks earlier in the same venue.
But a tarpaulin used as the stage back draft in the rally showed a photo of the two together flaunting their big bikes. Another one showed the same photo with the slogan “Gringo Honasan sa Senado: Two for the Road to Peace and Progress”.
Kim, Honasan’s eldest son, spoke on behalf of his family and explained his father’s platform. He defended the two leaders’ friendship as “having gone beyond politics”.
In between numbers, Rocksteddy’s spiels were a mix of song introductions and campaign cheers like “Iboto natin ang lumalaban” (Let’s vote for the fighter.) They also modified a line from a popular television series’ theme song from “Super Hero” to “Super Gringo”.
Honasan’s daughter-in-law, female rock star Barbie Almalbis, also preformed two songs, and left to catch up a flight back to Manila.
The audience responded to the performances with cheers, claps, and dancing. A group of college students told MindaNews they went to a “free concert” not a rally.
One of them said, they might vote for Honasan because he is a “super hero” and a rebellious leader.
Kim clarified that his father is a rebel only in the sense that he fought for his beliefs. He denied they are encouraging rebelliousness among the youth, who composed most of the crowd. He said they put forward an issue-oriented rally based on Honasan’s platform on reform.
Police estimated the crowd to be around 3,000, one of the biggest here since the campaign period. Two teams of the police City Mobile Group and one from the military’s Task Force Davao were dispatched for the rally.