Cebu City—As the campaign for the senatorial race nears the homestretch, veteran and multi-awarded actor-director-producer and senatorial candidate Cesar Montano of Team Unity said he is confident that he will make it to the Magic 12. “It is true that I have no personal fund to spend on lavish campaign gimmicks, even the much needed paid TV ad, but the support I am getting from the ground makes up for these lack of resources,” revealed Montano. He said that from the day he started to hit the campaign trail, he has been mobbed by adoring fans who promised to vote for him on May 14. His wife Sunshine also disclosed that support in terms of campaign paraphernalia kept coming in even without them asking. “Just the other day, our ninong Dolphy, the comedy king, sent a thousand t-shirts for Cesar’s campaign,” disclosed Sunshine during a recent luncheon with media editors, columnists and reporters.
It was reported in some broadsheets that some Team Unity personnel are operating to shave the votes from Montano to be delivered to the more favored candidates of the administration. Montano said he is not aware of this. Some of his fans in the provinces are reacting though to the shorter time allotted to their idol compared to the focus given on his team mates in the latest group TV ad of Team Unity. “He is placed last and is almost immediately cut after his short spiel,” one Boholano supporter observed. “Even in the sample ballot given to Bohol for distribution, he is placed at the eight position. Would the Ilocanos accept a sample ballot with Chavit in 8th place,” asked the same supporter. It was reported that Bohol Governor Eric Aumentado returned the sample ballots.
Instead of being affected, the gentleman that he is and like a true trooper and team player, Montano religiously attended all the provincial sorties of Team Unity even to the point of missing some important press conferences in Manila like the one being arranged by movie producer Mother Lily Monteverde. Always made the last to speak in order to keep the crowd from leaving, Montano’s consistent presence all over the country is apparently winning the votes, contrary to what some surveys are saying. Support is also coming from organized sectors like the 18 member-federations of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines(TUCP), the country’s largest trade union center.
Victor Balais, president of the Philippine Transport and General Workers’ Organization (PTWGO), said they are all out for Montano. “He is the only candidate with a clear stand on contractualization,” he said. “And his C.E.S.A.R. package for labor that calls for Collective bargaining agreement, quality Education, Safety nets for those who will be negatively affected by globalization, Asset reforms and promotion of Rights, like right to strike and to organize, is consistent with the issues the workers are fighting for,” continued Balais.
The Agrarian Reform Council (ARC), a party-list group for peasants and farm workers has also thrown their support for Montano. “We agree 100% for his C.E.S.A.R. agenda for rural development. We are also for Cooperative development like credit coops, education for all, quick, effective, and efficient delivery of Social services, implementation of Agrarian reform and massive but non-graft ridden Rural infrastructure,” said a spokesperson of ARC.
Actress Sunshine Cruz, Montano’s wife and not so secret weapon, said they have been overwhelmed by the support from ordinary people they are getting every where they go. “Though it is tiring, and it meant being separated from our kids for days, we are energized when we see and shake the hands of ordinary peasants, laborers, vendors, housewives, who went out of their way to attend our rallies.” “I hope and pray that this translates into votes for Cesar,” said Sunshine. She also calls on the people to guard the votes for Cesar. “In the end,” she said, “it will be God’s will. It will be destiny.”