Opposition bets urge voters to choose an independent Senate

MANILA, Philippines– Opposition senatorial slates Otso Diretso and Labor Win, together with sectoral groups, led the Miting de Avance ng Taumbayan (miting de avance of the people) to urge voters to choose candidates who will uphold the democracy of the Philippines on Friday, May 10, at the People Power Monument.

During the event, Otso Diretso and Labor Win senatorial candidates slammed the proposed charter change (cha-cha) of President Rodrigo Duterte stressing that it will only consolidate the current administration's power.

Neri Colmenares pointed out loopholes of the proposed federal constitution, claiming that it only favors the president and paves the way for a dictatorship.

The proposed draft of the federal constitution removed the 1987 Constitution’s anti-political dynasty provisions, term limits, and the line limiting participation of foreign investors in the governing body of entities based on their proportionate share in the capital. (LIST: Major constitutional changes the House wants under federalism)

"Ang cha-cha na ito ay walang ibang intensyon. Hindi ito para sa ating development. Hindi ito para sa ating kaayusan. Ito ay para magkaroon ng diktadura dito sa Pilipinas. Binubuksan lalo na ang ating bansa't ekonomiya sa mga dayuhan," Colmenares said.

(This charter change has no other intention. This is not for our development. This is not for our peace and order. This is to allow dictatorship in the Philippines. It will only further the notion that our nation's economy is for foreignors.)

"Kapag namonopolyo ng iisang tao ang Senado, papasa ang cha-cha, rarampa ang Tsina," he added.

(When one person monopolizes the Senate, charter change will be passed and China will walk over us.)

Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler

Otso Diretso's Chel Diokno said that throughout the campaign period, he has been narrating the realities of Martial Law under the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and pointing out the parallels of what is happening in the branches of government now.

He asserted that speaking the truth will ensure the opposition slates’ victory this coming midterm elections.

"Ang katotohanan ay may kakaibang lakas. Kahit isanlibo pang kasinungalingan, hindi makikitil ng kasinungalingan ang katotohanan," Diokno said.

(Truth has a different strength. Even when there are a thousand lies, these won’t kill the truth.)

Other senatorial candidates who were present at the event were Leody de Guzman, Erin Tañada, Romy Macalintal, and Pilo Hilbay. They discussed issues affecting various sectors such as land, labor, political dynasties, women's rights, among others, and promised to fight for the rights of the underprivileged.

Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler


Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler
Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler

Incumbent senator Bam Aquino and Samira Gutoc were represented by their families and campaign managers to express their solidarity.

'Surprise win'

Despite their decline in Pulse Asia’s pre-election survey, senatorial bet Pilo Hilbay was still hopeful that a surprise win of the opposition will shock the country.

"Ang huling hiling ko na lang po sa inyo na gulatin natin ang pamahalaan sa darating na Lunes at tayo'y maghahal ng isang independent na Senado," Hilbay said.

(My last request from you is to shock the government this Monday, and elect an independent Senate.)

Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler

Colmenares assured that with the votes of sectors such as church, workers, and youth, the opposition will stand a chance in getting the senatorial seats.

"Kapag lumabas ang ating balwarte, ang simbahan, ang manggagawa at ang kabataan, tiyak, ang independent at progressive candidates ay magtatagumpay sa Halalan 2019," Colmenares said.

(The victory of independent and progressive candidates in the 2019 elections is assured if our bailiwick comes out – the Church, the laborers, and the youth.) – Rappler.com

Josiah Antonio is a Rappler intern. He is a 4th year student at the University of the Philippines Diliman taking BA Philippine Studies, major in Journalism and Malikhaing Pagsulat sa Filipino.