MANILA –House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Monday said the huge turnout of supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte at the Luneta rally on Saturday is a validation that he enjoys the support of the majority of the Filipino people.
The gathering at Luneta coincided with the commemoration of the 31st anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution held at the People Power Monument.
“Clearly, yung nangyari nung Sabado, makita natin na alin yung majority, alin yung minority. So nakikita natin, yung suporta sa ating Pangulo, talagang anduduon pa rin. At malakas pa rin yung suporta dahil nga on the basis of the platform of government ay binigyan siya ng huge mandate by the people,” Alvarez said in a television interview.
He said comparison between the turnouts in the separate events on Saturday cannot be helped. Alvarez noted that participation in the Luneta event was purely voluntary.
Likewise, Alvarez pointed out that Duterte supporters held similar gatherings in several urban centers, including Cebu City, Davao City, Butuan City, and Cagayan De Oro City, among others.
“Pinapakita lang siguro nung mga supporters niya na talagang ito ay suportado ng sambayanan,” Alvarez said.
He said that while the turnout apparently did not reach a million, there were “enough warm bodies.” Police estimates place the number of the Luneta crowd at 215,000.
Alvarez also dismissed allegations the bigger turnout at Luneta was prompted by a memorandum of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) which “encouraged” local government units to participate in the event.
In fact, Alvarez said such a memo is not necessary.
“Well, sa tingin ko hindi na talaga kailangan. Kasi yung mga grupong dumating doon, kilala ko yun, kasama na namin sa kampanya yun nung araw pa. Kaya wala naman sigurong naging epekto doon sa letter ng DILG doon sa mga LGUs,” said Alvarez.
In the case of the EDSA People Power anniversary celebration, Alvarez said it should not be exclusive to the supporters of the late Pres. Corazon Aquino and former Pres. Benigno Aquino III
“People Power is for everybody. Hindi naman siya naka-franchise,” Alvarez said.
Meanwhile, Alvarez said singer Jim Paredes should have tolerated the presence of Duterte Youth at the EDSA People Power anniversary commemoration.
A video of the confrontation between Paredes and the youth supporters of Pres. Duterte has gone viral, where the singer was shown heaping insults on the group who chose to remain silent.
“Iyon, bilang nakakatanda, eh hindi dapat ginawa yun,” Alvarez said.
Besides, Alvarez said, the Duterte Youth have as much right as anyone to go at the People Power anniversary event.
“Kasi we are a free country. Ngayon kung yung mga youth na yun gusto nilang pumunta roon, eh hindi naman ipinagbabawal yun. So it’s their call na pumunta sila doon para to express also their sentiments. Sa akin wala namang masama doon,” Alvarez pointed out.