By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Two incumbent senators on Thursday disagreed with senatorial bets of the opposition “Otso Diretso” in saying that the upcoming midterm elections can be considered as a referendum for the Duterte administration.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the May 13, 2019 polls should not be about President Duterte or his policies, as claimed by opposition’s senatorial candidates in their recent campaign sortie.
He noted that Duterte does not even have a full administration slate for the senatorial race.
“Nope, I do not agree. PRRD (President Rodrigo Duterte) is not endorsing a full slate. Campaign issue is not whether you are for Duterte or not. It’s about what you can do for the country and the people,” Sotto said in a text message.
For Senator Panfilo Lacson, the opposition coalition should not have led the voters into believing that the May elections could be considered a test of the people’s approval for Duterte.
He said the move could endanger their rankings in the polls.
“If I were their campaign manager, I wouldn’t bring the campaign to that level, not even strike the consciousness of the electorate along that line. Why?” Lacson said Thursday.
“That is tantamount to pitting their candidates against a popular president with 81 percent approval rating before the end of 2018,” he added.
Candidates of the Otso Diretso, on Tuesday, said the results of the 2019 midterm elections would reflect the Filipinos’ view on Duterte’s governance, three years after he assumed presidency.
They said how Duterte’s bets would fare in the polls would reveal whether or not people still favor his policies.
Sen. Bam Aquino, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Magdalo party-list Representative Gary Alejano, former Quezon Representative Erin Tañada, former Solicitor-General Florin Hilbay, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, and Muslim civic leader Samira Gutoc make up the Otso Diretso slate.