After Commission on Elections personnel took down a pro-Leni mural by volunteer artists in Isabela that was painted on private property, youths returned to the space and reclaimed the wall in a stunning showcase of solidarity and empowerment.
Young supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo and running mate Senator Kiko Pangilinan repainted the wall in pink, lit candles, and conducted a noise barrage that made their voices heard.
“When the pink mural that they so lovingly worked on was painted over and erased by Comelec goons, what did they do — they spontaneously flocked back to the wall to reclaim it, repainted it pink, lit candles, and projected their shadows, those which nobody can ever erase,” communication professor Ivy Mendoza wrote on Facebook.
Hours after COMELEC staff painted over the mural with white paint, the Isabela for Leni-Kiko Facebook page called on supporters to gather for a candle-lighting ceremony as they repaint the wall in pink with the hashtag #LiwanagSaDilim (#LightInTheDark) — taken from the popular Rivermaya song that the band performed at Robredo’s proclamation rally last week.
Social media praised the act and expressed their support for volunteers in Isabela, one of the most vote-rich provinces in northern Luzon — traditionally considered a bailiwick for the Marcos clan under the heavily touted “solid North.”
Dissenters used the hashtag #AwanTiSolidNorth, Ilocano for #ThereIsNoSolidNorth.
In a press conference, veteran election lawyer Romulo Macalintal condemned the mural takedown and other incidents around the country where volunteers’ campaign paraphernalia have been illegally removed in private properties under COMELEC’S “Oplan Baklas” (Operation Plan Takedown), calling the move “arbitrary” that not only infringed on citizens’ right to free speech but also committed qualified trespass to dwelling, a punishable act under the Revised Penal Code.