PNoy joins Otso Diretso slate in courting Cebuanos to vote for them

By: Rosalie Abatayo March 27,2019 - 06:48 AM

Former President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III speaks before an audience during a democracy forum held on March 26 at the Southwestern University (SWU)-Phinma. CDND Photo / Tonee Despojo

CEBU CITY, Philippines— Opposition senatorial bets under the “Otso Diretso” slate courted voters of Cebu, the country’s most vote-rich province, to support them in the upcoming May 13, 2019 elections with former President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III in attendance.

Aquino along with human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, lawyer Erin Tañada and Samira Gutoc were in Cebu on March 26, 2019 for a series of activities that introduced the opposition slate to the Cebuanos.

They attended the “Manindigan: Democracy Forum” held on March 26, 2019 at the Southwestern University (SWU)-Phinma, which was participated by representatives from various sectors.

The group then proceeded to the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) Convention Center in Mabolo, Cebu City for their “gathering of allies” activity where they campaigned before a crowd of farmers, urban poor association members, and youth sector representatives.

The Cebu City Farmers’ Federation was among those who pledged support to the opposition senators.

“Naniniwala kami na kayo (Otso Diretso) ay tutulong sa aming minimithi at adhikain sa pag-institutionalize sa mechanization of farming especially sa mga marginalized farmers,” Ben Lagahid JR., president of the Farmers’ Federation, said in his pledge of support speech during the sortie.

(We believe that you will help us achieve our goal to institutionalize  the mechanization of farming, especially among marginalized farmers.)

Lagahid, a farmer from Barangay Budlaan in Cebu City, lamented how their produce are sold at prices that could not even recover the capital.

The sortie was also attended by Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, who endorsed the candidates.

Aquino, who yielded over one million votes from Cebu when he won the presidency in 2010, campaigned for the eight-person slate saying that supporting Otso Diretso  “is one of the solutions to the country’s pressing problem.”

Cebu presently has over three million registered voters.

“Sipag at Tiyaga,” Aquino said, is much needed for the Otso Diretso slate to get into the Magic 12 in the Senate despite results of the recent surveys showing only former Senator Mar Roxas and Senator Bam Aquino making it to the Top 12.

Otso Diretso Senatorial candidate, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno , takes a group photo with student after saying that Extra Judicial Killings (EJK) and “surrendering” the Philippines’ sovereignty to a foreign country are the most distressing actions of the present government. /CDND Photo/ Tonee Despojo

Roxas, Aquino, and Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano were not present during the sortie in IEC Convention Center and in the democracy forum.

Referring to the Otso Diretso senatorial candidates, Aquino said the government at present needs a group that will not only say “yes” to the requests of the administration, but would also be willing to say “no” when the need arises.

“Kailangan ng ganoong  boses sa ating mga representante dahil kapag umoo lang tayo nang umoo, ang tanong, happy ka ba sa lahat ng mga nagyayari: sa linggwaheng ginagamit, sa inaatakeng mga institusyon, sa pangangamba? Kung happy ka, paramihin mo yung sa kanila (administration bets). Kung hindi ka happy, maghanap tayo ng solusyon. Sa akin, ang Otso Diretso, bahagi na ng solusyon yan,” Aquino said.

(We need that kind of voice because if we keep on just saying “yes,” we have to ask if you are really happy with all that is happening — the language used, the institutions being attacked, the worries. If you are happy, vote for them but if you are not, we have to look for alternatives and for me, Otso Diretso is part of the solution.) / celr


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