Otso Diretso not conceding the fight just yet for Aquino, Roxas

MANILA, Philippines – The Otso Diretso senatorial bets are starting to concede defeat one by one, but they are not giving up the fight just yet for reelectionist Senator Bam Aquino and ex-interior chief Mar Roxas. 

The morning after the elections, on Tuesday, May 14, Otso Diretso candidates Samira Gutoc and Erin Tañada joined the fray of other senatorial bets conceding their defeat

But the opposition senatorial candidates believe their colleagues Aquino and Roxas still stand a chance. (READ: Opposition bets fail to get in Magic 12)

"It is with mixed feelings that I concede the senatorial race to those who won the vote of the people.... Because we still are Otso Diretso and we are 8. The battle of Bam and the battle of Mar is our battle," Maranao peace advocate Samira Gutoc told reporters in a press conference at their Cubao headquarters. 

Tañada echoed the same sentiments.

"Of course in Otso Diretso, we are still fighting for our two candidates, Bam Aquino and Secretary Mar Roxas. But for me, I'd like to concede and congratulate all those who won the elections," said the former Quezon congressman in a mix of English and Filipino.

They are drawing their optimism from the roughly 7% remaining precincts that have yet to report their partial and unofficial results to the Commission on Elections transparency server as of 11:48 am on Tuesday.

Otso Diretso campaign manager and Senator Francis Pangilinan said the remaining precincts translate to around 3 million voters, which could spell the difference for Aquino and Roxas.

"Hihintayin natin ang huling resulta at mananatiling nakabantay. Baka sakaling sa nasabing nalalabing 7% ay maipanalo pa ng isa o dalawa nating mga kandidato ang kanilang kandidatura. Mananatili tayong mapagbantay hanggang sa dulo," said Pangilinan. 

(Let's wait for the final results and remain vigilant. Perhaps the remaining 7% will still lead to the victory of one or two of our candidates. We will remain vigilant to the end.) 

The fight continues 

The mood inside Otso Diretso's campaign headquarters has turned even more somber a day after the May 13 elections.

But the staff and volunteers clapped their hands loudly when Gutoc, Tañada, and Pangilinan said the fight will continue regardless of the final results of the elections. 

"We would concede the elections, but we will never concede our principles. Itutuloy po namin ang laban pong ito. Alam naman po natin na marami pa rin pong kababayan po natin na nahihirapan sa iba't-ibang mga issues na dinadanas nila sa pang-araw-araw," said Tañada. 

(We would concede the elections, but we will never concede our principles. We will continue this fight. We know that many of our countrymen are still suffering from the various issues they are facing every day.)

Gutoc also thanked the thousands of people who volunteered for Otso Diretso, even spending their own money to help the slate. (READ: Otso Diretso thanks rain-soaked supporters: 'You are the spirit of this campaign')

"And I personally appeal to you to continue to support democracy movements, the poor people movements. Hindi po biro ang efforts na binigay ng mga volunteers namin para sa akin at sa Otso Diretso. Nag-all in po kayo at hinding-hindi ko po ito malilimutan," said Gutoc.

(And I personally appeal to you to continue to support democracy movements, the poor people movements. The effort put in by our volunteers was no joke for me and the rest of Otso Diretso. You went all in for us and I will never forget that.) – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the Senate and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.