Otso Diretso says 'victory' in drawing clear lines vs admin

MANILA, Philippines – The chances of winning a Senate seat may be slim for the 8 senatorial candidates of Otso Diretso, but for coalition spokesperson Barry Gutierrez, the opposition slate has at least one victory: drawing a clear line on where they stand against the controversial policies of the Duterte administration.

"Regardless of outcome, we already count this as a victory of sorts. If for nothing else, at least we are able to achieve one of our main objectives which was to draw a distinction... to articulate our vision of where the Philippines should be going and what the Filipino should be," Gutierrez said in an interview with Rappler CEO Maria Ressa on Monday, May 13.

"It might not translate at this time to votes...but the important goal that was reached was to create that contrast, to draw a clear distinction. We are the opposition, this is what we stand for. If you don't agree with what is going on in our country, if you don't like the direction where it's going, support us," he added. (READ: As initial votes come in, somber yet hopeful mood at Otso Diretso HQ)

Based on partial, unofficial results from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) transparency server as of 6:23 pm Monday night, none of the slate's 8 senatorial candidates are part of the so-called Magic 12. Reelectionist Senator Benigno "Bam" Aquino is just outside the winning circle with 28.16% of votes.(RESULTS: Philippine elections 2019

In choosing its senatorial bets, Gutierrez said that it was important for the slate that candidates take a clear position on the controversial policies and pronouncements of the Duterte administration, such as issues on human rights, extrajudicial killings, and national sovereignty. 

But Gutierrez acknowledged that being vocal about their stance may have hurt the opposition bets' chances of success because of the administration's continued popularity.

With a mix of new faces and former government officials, Gutierrez said the opposition slate did not have the advantage of name recall that its opponents have. Even as some of its bets, including human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc Tomawis, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, and former Quezon representative Erin Tañada, consistently topped mock polls conducted by universities, Otso Diretso candidates have struggled to perform well in pre-election surveys. 

With few political allies and without the backing of a political machinery, Otso Diretso bets are banking on volunteers and a grassroots campaign to win the midterm elections. (READ: Otso Diretso plays catch-up on campaign trail) 

Still, with just 0.38% of precincts reporting as of 6:23 pm, Gutierrez said they are hopeful that their grassroots campaign and the effort of their volunteers will have an impact on the results of the polls. – Rappler.com

Follow Rappler's full coverage of the 2019 Philippine elections here.