By Raymund Antonio
IRIGA CITY, Camarines Sur--The 'Otso Diretso' senatorial candidates are backing the fight of detained Senator Leila De Lima.
Senatoriables from Liberal Party’s Otso Diretso namely (left to right) Chel Diokno, Dinky Soliman (In place of Mar Roxas), Samira Gutoc, Bam Aquino, Florin Hilbay, Erin Tañada, Gary Alejano, and Romulo Macalintal Tuesday during the Ahon Laylayan event in the University of the Philippines Diliman in Quezon City. (ALVIN KASIBAN / MANILA BULLETIN)
"Muli naming ilalaban ang laban ni Senator Leila. At sana ipagdasal po natin na manatili siyang matatag sa kanyang paninindigan. At ang laban ng Otso Diretso ay laban din po ni Leila de Lima,” ex-Quezon congressman Erin Tañada said in a message at St. Anthony of Padua Parish Church. (We will again fight for the fight of Senator Leila. And let us pray for her to remain strong to stand up for her principles. The fight of Otso Diretso is also Leila de Lima’s fight.)
Tañada was among the four opposition Senate bets who paid a brief courtesy call to Monsignor Nono Sañada at the church during their sortie here on the second day of the campaign period.
The others who were with him were Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, and human rights lawyer Chel Diokno.
Sañada blessed the senatorial candidates and prayed for the entire slate as they embarked into the grueling three-month election campaign.
Tañada made the call for the release of De Lima, among the administration’s most vocal critic, from illegal detention.
The feisty lady senator has been detained for two years at Camp Crame on drug-related charges she has decried as political persecution.
"We in Otso Diretso – lawyer Romy Macalintal, Congressman Gary Alejano, at your service Erin Tañada, lawyer Florin Hilbay, Sam Gutoc, Mar Roxas, Bam Aquino, and Chel Diokno – are calling it's time to free Senator Leila de Lima because we know her detention is illegal," he told the crowd composed of De Lima's relatives and supporters.
Diokno, for his part, said they will stand for democracy and justice.
Before their courtesy call to Sañada, the opposition bets had breakfast with sectoral leaders and relatives of De Lima in her house in Barangay San Agustin. #MatalinongBoto2019