While celebrities like Angel Locsin, Angelica Panganiban, and Catriona Gray showed their support for presidential bet Leni Robredo altogether, there was Toni Gonzaga who stood at the center of criticism by herself.
Still and all, the ABS-CBN star wouldn't have done it any other way.
Toni was among the celebrities who fronted the campaign of presumptive president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and for that, she has been receiving backlash from celebrities and netizens alike. In an Instagram Story Toni shared on February 8, the 38-year-old star said that she's "unbothered" by all the criticism thrown at her.
Now that the election has reached its end, she only has a lesson to impart to her followers and naysayers: "In the end…. Stand up for what you believe is right. Even if it means standing up…. Alone."
Toni wrote this in an Instagram post three days after Election Day, along with photos of her performing at the campaign rallies of UniTeam Alliance led by the tandem of Marcos Jr. and running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
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Toni's followers were quick to shower the actress with love and support in the comments section of her post.
"You stood with over 31 Million Filipinos. You are most definitely not alone," one fan said.
"Unbothered Queen," another user wrote along with a set of heart, fire, and clapping hands emojis.
"You are not alone, We are with you 31M Filipinos," one user added.
Marcos Jr. claimed victory in the presidential election with over 31 million votes, while Robredo remained at the second spot with 14.8 million votes based on the partial and unofficial results from the Commission on Elections (Comelec)
Meanwhile, Toni and her husband director Paul Soriano have long been linked to Marcos Jr., as the former senator was a principal sponsor at the couple's wedding in 2015.
Toni started drawing flak from anti-Marcos netizens when she interviewed Marcos Jr. in her vlog last September 13. Many noted that their conversation painted his father, former dictator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in a positive light while ignoring the Martial Law context where many Filipinos died.
The interview was posted on Toni's YouTube channel almost a month before Comelec opened the one-week filing of Certificates of Candidacy on October 1. Since then the public has been referring to the actress as a paid propagandist.
Toni faced criticism anew when she began hosting and performing in UniTeam's campaign sorties, including its proclamation rally in Bulacan last Feb. 8. Days after the rally, Gonzaga resigned as host of ABS-CBN's reality show Pinoy Big Brother after 16 years.
The TV host once again felt the ire of anti-Marcos netizens, with one of her remarks during UniTeam's rally in Cebu on April 8. Many disagreed to the actress when she said, "Konting-konting panahon na lamang at magbabalik na si BBM sa kaniyang tahanan-ang Malacañang."
"The Malacañang Palace is where the president works, the office of the president is in the Malacañang Palace. It's not a home, but a workplace, you mf Toni Gonzaga," one Twitter user said.
"To call Malacañang a home instead of an office shows the mindset of a birthright instead government work and public service," another user noted.
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Amid all the controversies Toni was ensnared in, her sister Alex is sure that she doesn't take any of it to heart. "Knowing my sister, I know she is a strong person and I know hindi siya dadalhin ni Lord dun kung hindi siya ready," Alex said in Karen Davila's vlog last Feb. 19.
Alex also revealed Toni would sometimes bully her when they were still kids, and that her sister would usually remain unbothered by their father's scoldings.
"During that time, I think she was so equipped and so ready for that," Alex continued. "Pag pinagagalitan siya ng daddy ko, sinasabi ng daddy ko, ‘Hindi ka magre-react?'"
"Matapang talaga ang ate ko as a person kaya nga sabi ko siguro nga talagang she was really born for this kasi kaya niya," Alex said.