By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo called on her fellow Bicolanos to join the proclamation rally of the “Otso Diretso” senatorial slate in Naga City on Wednesday, February 13.
Robredo, the leader of the opposition, said she will be leading the kick-off rally for the eight opposition candidates at 4 p.m. at Plaza Quezon in Naga City.
“Iniimbitahan po natin iyong mga kababayan natin sa Bicol—sa Naga, particularly sa CamSur. Ako po personal magpapakilala sa walo, sa walo nating kandidato, Otso Diretso. Kaya iniimbitahan po natin,” she said on her Sunday radio program.
(I’m inviting our fellowmen in Bicol–in Naga, particularly in CamSur. I will personally introduce the eight candidates, Otso Diretso. So I’m inviting them.)
Naga City is a component city of Camarines Sur, home province of the Vice President. Her late husband and interior secretary Jesse Robredo was a long-time mayor of the city.
The Otso Diretso candidates will hold a motorcade going to Plaza Quezon before their kick-off rally starts at 6 p.m.
Running under the opposition 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.
Robredo’s presence in the kick-off activity and her support during the entire stretch of the campaign will be crucial for the opposition senate bets.
A day before that, the opposition senatorial candidates will start the grueling three-month long campaign for the May 13 midterm elections in Caloocan City, where they would hold face-to-face campaign.
Otso Diretso campaign manager and Senator Francis Pangilinan said they will knock on doors and talk to people to raise public awareness about them and their legislative agenda.
“Our campaign would be uphill as most of them are relatively unknown in the national stage. But I’m sure once our countrymen know them, they will be chosen as public servants in the Senate,” Pangilinan said in a mix of English and Filipino.
“This campaign strategy of going house-to-house is a game-changer. It has not been done on a national scale,” he added.
Aside from the candidates, stalwarts of political parties forming the opposition coalition will also attend the back-to-back campaign kick-off activities in the cities of Caloocan and Naga.
The coalition is composed of the once-ruling Liberal Party, Magdalo, Aksyon Demokratiko, and Akbayan.