Otso Diretso bets' promise: We won't steal public funds if elected

MANILA, Philippines – As the rains poured down on Otso Diretso's supporters on Wednesday night, May 8, the opposition senatorial candidates vowed that they would not become thieves if they win on May 13.

Senatorial bet Romy Macalintal, 71, declared this promise during the slate's thanksgiving concert for their supporters at the University of the Philippines (UP) Sunken Garden. (READ: Otso Diretso thanks rain-soaked supporters: 'You are the spirit of this campaign’)

"Kami ay nangangako sa inyong lahat ng katapatan sa panunungkulan. Kahit kailan, hindi namin pag-iinteresan ang pera ng bayan. Nangangako kami sa inyong lahat, hindi kami magnanakaw kailanman sapagkat 'yan ay commitment namin sa inyo," said Macalintal, earning him loud cheers from the rain-soaked crowd. 

(We promise you honest leadership. Never will we take interest in the nation's coffers. We promise you all that we will never steal because that is our commitment to you.)

Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc followed suit. She told the crowd that she would be able to file her Statement of Contributions and Expenditures with a "clean and honest conscience" after the May 13 elections. 

"At 'di ako magnanakaw 'pag ako ay naluklok. I have spent a little less than P10 million and that will be on record. That will be on record. Inutang  ko 'yon, naghanap ako ng paraan. Hindi po ako may utang na loob kahit kanino man!" said the peace and women's rights advocate.

(And I won't steal if I'm elected into office! I have spent a little less than P10 million and that will be on record. That will be on record. I had to borrow that money, look for ways to fund my campaign. I am not indebted to anyone!)

All 8 Otso Diretso candidates were in full force during their thanksgiving concert at the UP Sunken Garden on Wednesday night. They refused to call it a miting de avance, even if it was the slate's last preelection gathering before election day.

What should have been an hours-long evening program filled with famous OPM bands and singers was cut short due to the unceasing rain.  

But even if the candidates had to keep their speeches short, Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano still thanked their loyal supporters who stayed despite the rain. He promised they would be independent senators if elected. (READ: From constitutionalist to cancer patient, volunteers are the 'heart' of Otso Diretso campaign)

"'Yung ating tinitignan na laban ay napakahirap. Kailangan nating tumayo laban sa panghihimasok ng Tsina. Kailangan natin mag-provide ng independent Senate na 'di puwedeng tatahimik o tatango-tango na lamang sa kagustuhan ng present administration," said Alejano.

(Our fight has been very difficult. We need to stand up against China's intrusion. We need to provide an independent Senate that will not remain silent and will not simply bow to the whims of the present administration.)

"Kailangan natin bawiin ang dignidad ng bansa at ng mga Pilipino na parang nawawala na!" he added.

(We need to bring back the dignity of the country and of Filipinos, which seems to be disappearing.) – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

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