Filipino Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s poll standing has made it to the top with help from unexpected quarters, including an 11-year-old girl who mounted the stage during a campaign rally and handed him a glass jar of 10- and 5-peso coins she’d saved for months. The presidential aspirant has resisted donations from lobby groups and vested interests in order to stay true to his corruption-free mandate, relying on the pooled resources of the poverty-stricken masses to fuel his run.
Davao City Mayor Duterte’s poll numbers going neck-to-neck with rival Senator Grace Poe’s, got a boost from his campaign sortie into Toledo City, Cebu, on Saturday, April 2, 2016, where the waif-like girl gathered enough courage to turn her savings over to him. Kathleen dela Fuente from nearby Naga City, gave Duterte what looked like a pickle jar full of coins, at the close of his afternoon rally, making him crack a smile while many of the thousands packing the square, wept at her sacrifice.
Grade-schooler dela Fuente had reportedly started saving coins in the jar since September 2015 when it became common knowledge that Duterte lacked enough funds for a presidential run. She could not determine exactly how much money she’d accumulated, and just gauged her success by filling the jar to the top. Her support along with those of others, seems to have been part of a cresting of poll numbers in the cash-strapped candidate’s favor.
According to the Inquirer, Mayor Duterte topped The Standard Poll conducted by Laylo Research Strategies in a March 26 to April 1 survey, with 30 percent of the respondents saying they will vote for Duterte if the presidential elections were held today. Senator Grace Poe garnered 27 percent, followed by Manuel “Mar” Roxas II with 21 percent. Trailing behind was once-top contender Vice President Jejomar Binay with 18 percent, and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago with just 2 percent. The survey with 3,000 respondents was conducted in 79 provinces, 40 highly-urbanized cities, including all cities in the National Capital Region.
An Interaksyon report revealed that on the day of the rally, the One Cebu party led by candidate-for-governor Winston Garcia, threw its support behind Duterte’s bid, vowing to deliver a 1 million vote difference in the May elections. Historically, the 1 million vote difference delivered a win in 2004 for then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, seeking a six-year term after serving half of ousted president Joseph Estrada’s stint.
Support for Duterte also came inadvertently from those gathered in the same area of Toledo City to see South Korean “City Hunter”Actor Lee Min Ho promoting his Bench clothing line in Cebu. Seeing how his fans who were chanting “Goon Joon Pyo” in reference to his “City Hunter” character, wore Duterte t-shirts, Lee admitted he was touched by their support of their candidate. According to OKD, Lee acknowledged he couldn’t vote with them, but that his local organizer was a Duterte supporter, and so the Korean actor was giving 10,000 free Duterte t-shirts to make everyone happy. Their shouts of “Duterte Duterte Duterte” seemed to indicate the popular sentiment and poll trend.
Dela Fuente’s donated jar of coins was reminiscent of what happened in Cotabato City on May 27, 2015. Duterte was at the podium of the Cotabato Polytechnic State University gymnasium and wrapping up a lecture on “federalism” when he was approached by lawyer Ranibai Dilangalen of a group trying to jumpstart a Duterte-for-president movement enjoying high poll ratings. Because Duterte was using financial limitations as an excuse not to run, Dilangalen said he wanted to organize a “Piso para sa Presidente” (Peso for President) fund drive.
Duterte was then handed a small woven basket filled with 1-peso coins. Duterte froze for a moment, his face turned red, and then his eyes filled with tears. Having refused to be swayed by poll numbers, he stood fast with a noncommittal response.
“I don’t know what to say. I am really, really surprised. Thank you for having me here. The presidency is not in my plans, but if I become President, I assure you, one of your feet is in Malacañang.”
While the “Piso para sa Presidente” organizers made it clear that they would tap Moro communities for 1-peso donations toward the 10 billion pesos Duterte would need for a presidential campaign, an old man counted 8 pesos from his pocket. He threw one coin into the basket containing over 100 pesos in coins to kickstart Duterte’s fundraiser. According to The Inquisitr, the old man’s words carried the same optimism as Duterte’s poll ratings.
“My fare back home is P7. I can still contribute P1 for Duterte.”
When Kathleen dela Fuente carried her jar of coins to the demagogue at the center of attention in Toledo City, she did so with much trepidation. When Duterte accepted her humble gift with a smile, all was right again for her, and his high poll numbers were justified. The words she blurted out in Tagalog continue to reap shares and hits on social media.
“Mayor please sir accept my savings to help with your campaign.”
[Photo via Google]