At Large

‘Gigil’ and the ‘Piso’ drive

A friend of one of the “Formidable Six,” the group of women who have signed on as leaders of the “Piso para sa
Laban ni Leni,” told her recently that she (the friend) was so “gigil na gigil” at the antics of failed vice presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos that she was depositing P100,000 in one of the bank accounts of the campaign to help VP Leni Robredo.

Now, I’ve been wracking my brain for the English equivalent of gigil, which could be, variously: annoyance, ire, irritation, dislike, or extreme exasperation. But none of these terms could quite capture the flavor of gigil, which Pinoys envision as someone so agitated that the face is scrunched up, the teeth gnashing, and the fingers pinching the nearest person or object. Whatever, to be so moved or riled up that one forks over a hundred grand to swat down the object of one’s ire, really calls for a good deal of gigil!


But the friend is not alone. So far, the “Piso” campaign launched last June 27 to help Robredo raise the funds to counter Marcos’ electoral protest has raised P1,445,190.58. That’s right, the amount collected has breached the million-peso mark.

But much more needs to be raised. The Presidential Electoral Tribunal has extended the deadline to next Friday for Robredo to submit the second tranche of P7.44 million for her portion of the poll protest contesting her victory in last year’s elections. Marcos confidently marched to the offices of the Supreme Court early this week and paid in full the P66.2 million expected of him. His lawyer later told the media that the former senator sold a condominium unit to raise the amount, but the specter of the alleged P10 billion that his family amassed during his father’s martial rule (and continuing to this day, if Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas is to be believed) continues to
hover like an uninvited ghost.


For the Veep’s part, she revealed that she was able to raise the P8 million for the first tranche of the payment by dipping into her personal finances and taking out loans from her in-laws. She hasn’t said anything about where she plans to find the P7 million, although as a government official she is not allowed to accept donations for a “personal” cause.

This is why the “Piso para sa Laban ni Leni” was launched. The “Formidable Six” (all awardees of TOWNS), with their lawyer Pinki Bartolome Bernabe, have petitioned the Supreme Court that they be allowed to turn over directly to the PET the money they will raise in behalf of Robredo. In the event the appeal is junked, or if they raise more than the required amount, the money will go to Angat Buhay, the Office of the Vice President’s antipoverty project carried out with other groups.

(Curious readers may visit the “Piso para sa Laban ni Leni” FB page for details, including how and where they can send their donations. The group has also commissioned an accounting firm to conduct regular audits of the fund-raising effort.)

In a statement, the group said the effort “signifies our resolve as ordinary Filipino citizens in making a stand and protecting our votes.” “How do you beat a billionaire?” a commissioned meme asks. “A peso at a time.”

Here’s another story about the “Piso” drive. Nina Lim Yuson, who started the campaign, met with members of a prayer group who said they wanted to show their support for Robredo and turn over their donations to the campaign. Yuson went to the fast-food restaurant where the women were meeting, and when she introduced herself to them, she was surprised when one of the women hugged her, telling her that her (the woman’s) daughter was also named Nina but that the daughter passed away only last February at the age of 45.

What are the chances? That this heartwarming meeting should take place in the course of collecting the tangible expression of Filipinos’ resolve to protect their votes and express their will is all the more touching. There’s a message here somewhere, but I’m still getting over my gigil to make sense of it all!

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TAGS: “Piso para sa Laban ni Leni”, Bongbong Marcos, Formidable Six, VP Leni Robredo, women
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