By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Thursday said that winning is still a possibility for the “Otso Diretso” senatorial candidates.
Pangilinan, campaign manager of the opposition senatorial slate and president of the Liberal Party, said the group is optimistic that most, if not all, of their candidates would get into the ‘Magic 12.’
“In my 18 years as a senator, I’ve learned that sometimes, those who win in the elections are candidates you don’t expect to win, because there is snow-balling during the last minute,” Pangilinan said during a Kapihan sa Senado forum.
“Based on our assessment on the latest survey, at least two of our candidates have a chance to win. But we will not stop campaigning and wooing our voters. Winning is still a possibility for the Otso Diretso (bets),” said Pangilinan.
Pangilinan added that in the end, the real survey would be the result of the May 13, 2019 midterm elections.
“I repeat, the real survey will happen on the day of the elections itself,” said the senator.
“You’ll never know, we might have a last minute, come-from-behind victory,” the lawmaker stressed.
Asked if the group will recalibrate their strategy, Pangilinan said the Otso Diretso team is actually making some adjustments in the last stretch of the campaign.
“There were adjustments that were made for different candidates but their stand on gut issues and our message that honesty is imperative in the Senate remains,” he said.
“The only problem we have, really, is our limited resources,” added the senator.
Nevertheless, Pangilinan said the group is vouching on the support of their volunteers on the ground. According to him, their volunteer-driven campaign, has already reached two million households and 10 million people whom they can convince to support and vote for the eight opposition candidates.
Part of their commitment, he said is to ensure that there are opposition senators within the Upper Chamber to ensure its independence.
“As in any vehicle that needs a brake, the Senate as an institution, acts as a brake. As such, the Senate is an important body to serve as the check and balance of the Executive branch. If a vehicle has no brake, we will all go down the ravine,” he said.
“It’s important to have a Senate that will act independently and is honest,” added the senator.
Pangilinan, likewise, rejected perceptions there is internal bickering within the Otso Diretso slate.
“I would rather say that each candidate have their own strategy, but that is not surprising,” he said.
He also assured that Liberal Party stalwart Senator Franklin Drilon and Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV, Vice President Leni Robredo, and former President Benigno Aquino III are doing their part in helping out the “Otso Diretso” candidates.
“Admittedly, we have some constraints, but somebody has to do it. We are not doing this for certainty of victory, but certainty of our principle,” he stressed.