By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo will be actively involved in the senatorial campaign of the 8-member opposition slate called “Otso Diretso” once the campaign period starts on February 12.
In her weekly radio show, Robredo gave her word that she will campaign for the opposition senatorial candidates to boost their chances in the May 13 midterm elections.
“Nagpromise ako sa kanila kapag panahon ng kampanya, ako mismo mangangampanya para sa kanila,” Robredo, the leader of the opposition, said on Sunday.
(I promised to them if it’s already the campaign period, I myself would campaign for them.)
True enough, Robredo appeared at the end of the political advertisement of Otso Diretso that was posted on its official Facebook account and aired on a major television network.
The Vice President will also lead the campaign kick-off for the opposition senatorial slate in Camarines Sur, her home province, next week.
Robredo again vouched for the competence and character of opposition candidates, who will stand for the rights of the people and help address their most pressing concerns.
“Totoong hindi sila masyadong kilala pero ang kailangan natin sa Senado ‘yung talagang makikipaglaban para sa karapatan ng mamamayang Pilipino at hindi lang sunod-sunuran,” she said.
(It’s true they are not that popular, but we need in the Senate are the ones who will fight for the rights of Filipinos and not those who would do as they are told.)
Running under the Otso Diretso slate are former senator Mar Roxas II, incumbent Senator Bam Aquino, lawyers Chel Diokno, Florin Hilbay, Erin Tañada and Romulo Macalintal, Maranao civic leader Samira Gutoc, and Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano.
Diokno and Alejano were guests at Robredo’s radio program, where they tackled a range of issues such as martial law extension, Jolo bombings, and President Duterte’s policies toward China. They also shared why they are running for senator.
The two Senate hopefuls spoke out against the remarks of Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo that the Philippines should be “thankful” to China for putting up a “maritime rescue center” in Kagitingan Reef inside the West Philippine Sea.
“I really have no understanding why those words came out of their mouth. Why do we have territories that we will give away? We have no reason to give up our sovereignty,” Diokno, a human rights lawyer who came from a family that fought for the country’s freedom from tyranny, said.
“If we don’t stand for our rights in the West Philippine Sea, there is no assurance that we would be able to protect and defense Benham Rise and even the entire country,” Alejano, a former marine captain, said.