By Jhon Aldrin Casinas
Otso Diretso senatorial bets spent an entire day wooing voters in vote-rich Quezon City on Sunday, a week before the 2019 midterm elections.
Opposition candidates Chel Diokno, Samira Gutoc, Romy Macalintal, and Erin Tañada and the representatives of Gary Alejano, Bam Aquino, Pilo Hilbay, and Mar Roxas kicked-off their campaing sortie in the city with a rally at the Welcome Rotunda.
A sea of supporters trooped to the landmark to show their support for the candidates who remained optimistic despite their dismal showing in the latest survey of Pulse Asia, with only Aquino getting a solid chance to make it to the Magic 12.
“Running priest” Father Robert Reyes endorsed the group and urged Filipino voters to “junk” candidates who support China.
“Ang daming kandidatong maka-Tsina. Pag maka-Tsina, junk (There are many candidates who support China. If [a candidate is a China supporter], junk),” Reyes said.
“Iboto lang ang kandidatong hindi susuportahan ang pangungutang ni Duterte sa Tsina at ang pagpo-prostitute ng ating bansa sa isang bansa na wala ng ginawa kundi manakot,” he added.
(Only vote for candidates who do not support the loans of Duterte from China, and the prostitution of the our country to other nations that only made threats.)
To show his support, Reyes ran on a 2.7 kilometer stretch of Quezon Avenue on Sunday morning, together with yellow shirt-wearing volunteer runners and supporters, before ending his run at Welcome Rotunda.
After the event, Otso Diretso candidates shook the hands of tricycle drivers and vendors at Batasan Public Market and in General Luis Market in Novaliches.
They also visited Bishop Antonio Tobias of Novaliches Archdiocese and other parish priests in Sacred Heart Village, Novaliches and went to a Muslim community in Salam Compound, Barangay Tandang Sora.
The day-long campaign event was capped by a town hall meeting in Area 5, Barangay Sauyo.
In an ambush interview, Macalintal said his team had to personally meet with the people since their slate did not have the resources to put out television and radio advertisements.
“Dito sa Welcome Rotunda ipapakita ng Otso Diretso na sila po ay tatayo kasama ng taong bayan sa darating na halalan at ipaglalaban ang taong bayan,” Tañada added.
(Here at Welcome Rotunda, we will show that Otso Diretso will take their stand with the people this coming election, and will fight for them.)
Meanwhile, Marawi civic leader Gutoc said their campaign machinery was the people after their team was able to launch “one of the most outstanding campaigns ever held in Philippine history.”
“We call on all foreign and all local election monitors. Bantayan ang election process dahil natatakot tayo na hindi actual ang lumabas sa balota (Monitor the election process for we are afraid that the actual [result] will not show in the ballots),” Gutoc said.
“We are very confident [despite] nasa baba kami ng survey pero nasa taas kami ng pag-iisip ng taong bayan (ranking low in the survey but the people kept us in their minds),” she added.
On the other hand, Diokno said that, instead of campaigning through song and dance performances, their team had personally reached out to the masses.
According to a 2016 data from the Commision on Elections, Quezon City has the highest number of registered voters in Metro Manila with 1,150,342.