By Raymund Antonio
As the campaign season winds up, Vice President and opposition leader Leni Robredo had these rallying words for the “Otso Diretso” slate: “Keep the faith.”
“Talaga iyong faith hindi sa sarili, pero iyong faith sa mga botante na at the end, ang pipiliin nila iyong pinaniniwalaan talaga nila,” Robredo said on her Sunday radio show, “BISErbisyong Leni.”
(Faith is not really on yourself, but the faith that the voters, in the end, will choose the candidates they believe in.)
The opposition senatorial ticket reached the final stretch of the campaign with the race still on a knife’s edge.
Of the eight candidates, only reelectionist Senator Bam Aquino has a statistical chance of winning in next week’s polls, according to an April 10 to 14 survey conducted by Pulse Asia.
The other Otso Diretso candidates namely lawyers Chel Diokno, Romulo Macalintal and Florin Hilbay, Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, former lawmakers Mar Roxas and Erin Tañada are ranked between 14th and 43rd slots.
But with a week until election day, Robredo believes they could still pull off a come-from-behind victory.
“Iyong mga lumalabas ngayon, itong mga surveys several weeks ago, iyong iba nga from last month so hindi naman talaga siya iyong tunay na makakacapture ng sentiments ng tao ngayon,” she said.
(With the surveys coming out, these surveys several weeks ago, the others from last month so these don’t really capture the true sentiments of the people now.)
Robredo, who is also the chairperson of the Liberal Party, recalled how she rose from the bottom in the final stretch of the campaign in the 2016 vice presidential race.
“At this point ng kampanya saka pa lang ako nagsurge at nakaya sa last two minutes,” the Vice President said.
(At this point of the campaign when I surged and I was able to catch up in the last two minutes.)
Like Robredo, Senator Francis Pangilinan waxed optimistic that the Otso Diretso bets could still deliver a stronger-than-expected turnout.
Pangilinan, campaign manager of the eight-member opposition slate, explained that the people decides who to vote for as the election draws near.
“Last two minutes, last 10 days, napakacritical, diyan nagkakaroon ng pagpapasaya. Kaya hanggang sa dulo hindi tayo bibitiw,” the senator said.
(Last two minutes, last 10 days are very critical, it is when the voters decide. That’s why we will not give up until the end.)
“Ang huling survey lang talaga ang mahalaga at iyon araw ng halalan (The last survey is the most important and that’s the election day),” he pointed out.