In Naga, Otso Diretso bets throw shade at Marcoses

Mara Cepeda
In Naga, Otso Diretso bets throw shade at Marcoses
'Ipinagtatanggol ko lamang po 'yong mga legal na pamamaraan. Para hindi siya madaya no'ng isang taong hindi marunong tumanggap ng pagkatalo,' says Romulo Macalintal, the lead legal counsel of Vice President Leni Robredo

CAMARINES SUR, Philippines – Romulo Macalintal and Chel Diokno, two veteran lawyers now seeking to become opposition senators, slammed the children of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos on the campaign trail.

During his speech at the Otso Diretso senatorial ticket’s grand rally in Naga City on Wednesday, February 13, Macalintal alluded to defeated vice presidential bet Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Macalintal is the lead legal counsel of Vice President Leni Robredo, who hails from Naga. She beat Marcos in the 2016 polls by just 263,473 votes, leading the latter to accuse her of electoral fraud.

Macalintal said he took on Robredo’s case because he stands by her victory in the 2016 elections.

Ipinagtatanggol ko lamang po ‘yong mga legal na pamamaraan. Para hindi siya madaya no’ng isang taong hindi marunong tumanggap ng pagkatalo,” Macalintal said, earning him cheers from Bicolanos.

(I only defend the legal way. I do this so that she will not be cheated on by a person who can’t accept defeat.)

Macalintal then assured residents of Robredo’s bailiwick that her electoral protest is in good hands.

Araw-araw sinasabi mauupo na raw siya. Araw-araw sinasabi mananalo na raw siya. Araw-araw sinasabi, marami siyang ebidensiya…. Araw-araw sinasabi ‘yan kasi gusto nila ang pangalan nila ay nariyan pa rin sa larangan ng pulitika,” Macalintal said.

(Every day, he would say he would soon be seated in office. Every day, he would say he would win. Every day, he would say he has a lot of evidence…. They only say that every day because they want their names to still be part of politics.)

Kaya magtiwala po kayo sa Panginoon. At sigurado akong walang mangyayari sa pinakamamahal nating Vice President. ‘Wag n’yo nang intindihin po ‘yon! Ang intidihin na lang ninyo, kung papaano n’yo ako iboboto,” he added.

(So have faith in the Lord. And nothing will happen to our beloved Vice President. Do not think about that anymore! Just focus on how you will be voting for me.)

The 71-year-old’s speech was a big hit to the crowd.

Diokno vs Imee

Not to be outdone, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno hit both Marcos and his sister Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos.

Diokno zeroed in on Imee, the administration’s senatorial bet with whom he faced at GMA News’ senatorial debate that aired on February 9.

Alam po ninyo, ang katarungan po sa atin ay nawawala na. Ako bilang isang abogado, nakikita ko ‘yon, pero sa palagay [ko] nakikita din ninyo,” Diokno said.

(You know, justice here is disappearing. I can see this as a lawyer, but I think you can see it, too.)

Kaya tatanungin ko po kayo: Makatarungan ba ang pinagsasasabi ng isang Bongbong Marcos na siya daw ang bise presidente ng Republika ng Pilipinas? Makatarungan po ba ‘yong sinasabi ni Imee na dapat tatanggalin ang term limits para magkaroon ulit ng political dynasty?” Diokno asked.

(That’s why I’ll ask you: Is it fair for a certain Bongbong Marcos to say he is the vice president of the Republic of the Philippines? Is it fair for Imee to say that term limits should be removed so there will be political dynasties again?)

The crowd loudly answered no.

During the GMA News debate, Imee said she favors the removal of term limits, citing a study that shows retaining term limits did nothing to lessen political dynasties.

Reacting to Imee, Diokno said wider term limits should be imposed on public officials to avoid a repeat of the Marcos dictatorship.

The Marcos patriarch’s 21-year-rule was marred by corruption, killings, torture, disappearances, and media oppression.

Diokno’s father, the late senator Jose W. Diokno, was a staunch opponent of Martial Law and was among the victims of human rights abuses during the Marcos years.

Robredo herself lauded Diokno for his performance during the debate, describing him as “napaka-lodi or someone to be idolized.

Napanood niyo ba ‘yung debate? Napaka-lodi! Natameme ata ‘yung kanyang naka-one-on-one. ‘Di ko na sasabihin kung sino,” Robredo said.

(Did you watch the debate? He was such an idol there! The person he had a one-on-one with wasn’t even able to reply to him. I won’t say who she is.) –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.