Leni’s miting de avance (final campaign rally) was a fitting climax to a stunning, inspiring, dramatic, and earth-shaking campaign. All roads led to Ayala Avenue. One million people participated in the manifestation. A bigger number of kababayans (countrymen) followed the event online.

All the social influencers, barring the politicians, were there. Celebrities who have a big following, especially among the masa (masses). Iconic musicians, Miss Universe, Megastar, the three Darnas, Vice Ganda, to name some. They all appeal to the baby boomers, Gen X, millennials, and Gen Z.

Public intellectuals, educators, scientists, technocrats, health professionals, captains of industry, and the culturati were present. The intelligentsia might not have the mass following, but the power of their ideas affects everyone.

But really, the stars of Leni’s campaign are the people. They are the vanguard. Those who attended Leni’s rallies and miting de avance, those who volunteered for the campaign and performed multi-faceted tasks, those who showed boundless energy, those who welcomed the campaigners and received Leni’s message warmly.

And they come from all socio-economic classes. This is not elitista (elitist), as claimed by trolls. Megastar Sharon Cuneta said it well: The people supporting Leni, regardless of socio-economic standing, have “class.” For they embrace what Leni stands for. They seek kindness, care, justice and truth. For they and Leni have faith in the people. For they and Leni demonstrate in words and deeds pagibig sa kapwa’t bayan (love for neighbor and country).

They were at the miting de avance for a great, noble cause. They didn’t mind the trouble and sacrifice of being in a massive crowd despite the intense heat of summer and the risk of COVID-19. Being there was an act of both collective fulfillment and self-fulfillment — an act of liberation.

What we have is a big, spontaneous movement. It is the 21st century edition of People Power.

One photo best captures such an act of fulfillment and liberation, of devotion, courage, and radikal na pagmamahal (radical love). This is the photo (credit to the owner) of Mrs. Evelyn, 77-years-old, afflicted with metastatic cancer, lying on a gurney while attending Leni’s miting de avance. Her husband died of cancer recently. She thus endures so much physical and emotional pain. But because of the light scattered by Leni’s campaign and the people’s movement, she radiates equanimity, bliss, and blessedness.

Despite mortality’s inevitability, Mrs. Evelyn is assured that the krusada (crusade) will live and prevail. Observe that this movement has the commitment and capacity to fight for the long haul and to win. It is a movement driven by the youth of the 21st century — coming of age, possessing intelligence, vigor, perseverance, passion, and idealism.

Rizal and the first propaganda movement and the Katipunan demonstrated the youth’s historical role in transforming society. And Rizal’s words are timeless: “The youth is the hope of the future.”

I have seen closely the youth do their part for the Leni-led people’s movement. Alexa, has not yet reached voting age, but she expresses her support by doing an upbeat video for Leni and participating in a fashion show to raise funds for the campaign. Felicia, encouraged by her mom (not exactly a fan of Leni) to make an independent voter’s choice, has chosen Leni and has appeared in a video of the UP Dance Ensemble dancing for Leni-Kiko. This makes her mom proud, notwithstanding their different choices.

And there are my young colleagues, my nieces and nephews, the daughters of family friends, and new-found friends among the young — too many of them to name — that have given invaluable service to the krusada.

Even children like bubbly Danum — who marches around the sprawling family compound, chanting “Leni!” — and pretty Belle and Bianca — who join their mom to display support for Leni — and toddler Charlie — who has been told stories by Lola Nina about this extraordinary time when Lola actively campaigned for Leni — are part of this narrative.

It is this explosion of people power, including youth power, that makes me say that Leni, as well as the movement she leads, has won. To echo Leni’s moving, momentous speech at the miting de avancewalang imposible! Nothing is impossible!

It is likewise the explosion of people power that has energized Leni, that has steeled her, and that will sustain her in leading our beloved country.

Another photo worth keeping is the one taken by renowned photo-journalist Raffy Lerma. I grabbed the photo from a post of Karina Bolasco, and I likewise quote her annotation:

“Raffy Lerma took her picture as she watched the fireworks of the Dagupan rally. I think she was looking at the stars, humbled by their configuration, and accepting what they have set out for her and our nation.”

What Karina said reminds me of a statement from the motivational speaker Les Brown: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

Maraming salamat (thank you), Leni for leading us, for inspiring and moving the people. Magwawagi tayo (We will win)!