POPULAR actor and senatorial candidate Robin Padilla on Saturday rallied the support of the Muslim community behind the UniTeam presidential-vice presidential tandem of former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. of the partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD).
Padilla, a Muslim convert, told a large crowd at the Manila Golden Mosque and Cultural Center in Quiapo, Manila that he had studied Islam and the history of Bangsamoro when he turned Muslim.
“Noong panahon po na nagkaroon ng matinding labanan (sa Mindanao), noong pinaglalaban po ng Bangsamoro ang kanilang mga lupain at ang karapatang pamunuan ang kanilang mga sarili, naging madugo po ang labanan na ‘yan, at noong panahon na yan, nakiusap ang Pangulong Ferdinand Marcos Sr. kay (First Lady) Imelda Marcos na pumunta sa Libya para makipag-usap kay Muammar Gadaffi para magkaroon ng peace talks,” Padilla said.
For her part, Duterte expressed gratitude to the Muslim community for allowing them to present their platforms of government.
“Salamat po sa inyong suporta. Dala-dala po namin ni Bongbong Marcos ang pagkakaisa para sa kaunlaran ng bansa. Humihingi po kami ng suporta sa inyo,” Duterte said who delivered her short speech at the Golden Mosque in Quiapo, Manila after Padilla.
Padilla said Mrs. Marcos flew to the Libyan capital of Tripoli to talk to the Libyan leader.
“Dun po ipinanganak ang (1976) Tripoli agreement (which ended the fighting in Mindanao). Kasama po sa Tripoli Agreement ang Golden Mosque (in Quiapo) at Blue Mosque (in Taguig, where there is another large Muslim community), at nagkaroon ng mosque sa loob ng Malacanang,” Padilla said.
Padilla added that the accord also called for the establishment of two autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao, but that so far only one – the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has been set up under the administration of President Duterte.
Padilla then called for support for the BBM-Sara tandem.
“Sila ang puwede nating maging kakampi upang maisakatuparan ang dalawang autonomous region. Sila ang puwede nating lapitan, sapagkat sa una palang, tinulungan na nila tayo. Nandito ang Golden Mosque, ang Blue Mosque dahil kay Presidente Marcos Sr. At nandyan ang BARMM dahil kay President Duterte,” he stressed.
Marcos Jr. is the son of the late President Marcos, while Mayor Sara is President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s daughter.
Padilla also called for Muslim support for senatorial candidates who are Muslims like him.
A Muslim leader, Fadel Sheik, who is president of the Grand Imam of Golden Mosque, endorsed the BBM-Sara tandem, as did lawyer and Manila mayoral aspirant Alex Lopez of PFP, the political to which Marcos Jr. belongs.
Lopez said he is confident that most Manilans, including the Muslim residents of Quiapo and Tondo, would vote for the UniTeam tandem on May 9.
“BBM and Sara are sure winners. They will help bring the country to normalcy following COVID-19 pandemic,” Lopez said.
The UniTeam candidates were later scheduled to have several meet-and-greet events with local leaders and residents in Tondo and other districts in Manila.