By Raymund Antonio
Just two days before senatorial candidates formally enter their bids for the May 13 polls, Vice President Leni Robredo calls again on Filipinos to look into the competence and track record of candidates for Senate come election day.
Robredo, the leader of the opposition, told reporters in Naga City the second day of the election campaign on February 13 will be held in Camarines Sur, her home province.
The “Otso Diretso” senatorial slate will kick off its election campaign in Caloocan a day before their proclamation rally to be held in Naga City.
Opposition Senate bets are incumbent Senator Bam Aquino, former interior secretary Mar Roxas, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, Maranao civic leader Samira Gutoc, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, ex-Quezon congressman Erin Tañada, and Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano.
“Tama lang na dito sa atin iyong, parang, kickoff, kasi iyong Naga, over the years, nagpakita ng talino sa pagpipili ng mga namumuno sa kaniya,” she said in an interview.
Naga City has been touted as a model for people empowerment and participatory governance, which has long been advocated by Vice President’s late husband and interior secretary Jesse Robredo.
“Parati ko itong pinagmamayabang kapag nag-iikot sa buong Pilipinas, na dito sa atin, hindi dito totoo na kailangan may pera ka para manalo ng eleksyon. Dito sa atin, kahit walang pera, may pag-asang manalo. Dito sa atin, kung sino iyong bumibili ng boto, siya iyong hindi nananalo,” she said.
Robredo expressed hope that Naga will serve as inspiration to voters from nearby towns and across the country to choose the right leaders for the upcoming polls in May.
“Sana iyong maturity sa pagboto na iyon, mahawa natin iyong ating mga karatig-munisipyo, kasi sa pagkakaroon ng empowered na electorate, doon napipilitan iyong pamahalaan na humusay,” she said
“Sana ipakita ng lugar natin na gaya noong umpisa, talagang napakahuhusay nating pumili ng mga kandidato,” Robredo added.