CEBU CITY, Philippines – A day after opposition senatorial bet Samira Gutoc lamented on national TV that there’s “overstretch” of presidential power when local leaders are afraid to host Otso Diretso campaign activities, the chairperson and a councilor of a barangay in a first-class municipality in Cebu province stood up for them.
Chanito Quiblat, chairperson of the village of Taloot in Argao, told Rappler he is “not afraid to host Otso Diretso candidates – he has his constituents’ support on this.
“Endorse ko sa Otso Diretso, di ko mahadlok, ngano mahadlok man ko diri raman kos Taloot, ang mga taw sa Taloot, naa man nako,” Quiblat said in an interview with Rappler. (I endorse the Otso Diretso. I am not afraid. Why will I be afraid, I’m just in Taloot? The people of Taloot, they support me.)
Three Otso Diretso senatorial candidates – Gary Alejano, Samira Gutoc, Erin Tañada – held a smalltown meeting with Taloot residents Sunday morning, April 28, before joining the rest of the slate and Vice President Leni Robredo in Cebu City for a bigger activity in the afternoon.
Present at the dialogue, held at the Taloot covered court, were farmers, fisherfolk, senior citizens, Tarwassco Water System Association, habal-habal drivers, and recipients of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.
Quiblat recounted how he was approached by Otso Diretso volunteers if the barangay would be willing to host the opposition bets.
“Wala’y funding, puro volunteers, kinasingkasing.” he said. (No funding, they’re all volunteers who do it out of love.)
Quiblat said usually when politicians want to conduct a campaign rally, they bring celebrities or distribute rice.
“Karon pako kita og rally nga alas otso sa buntag, alas nuybe, pero daghan kaayog taw. Asa man ka kitag rally ing-ani?” Quiblat said. (This is the first time I’ve seen a rally at 8, 9 in the morning, but there are a lot of people. Where will you see a rally like this?)
The barangay leader noted that these people got up early even if they came home late the night before – at 1 am, even – from a local campaign rally.
Quiblat said some of the people who came did not necessarily support the opposition bets, but they came to listen.
The barangay of Taloot has about 3,000 voters, the second most number of voters next to Argao proper, in the municipality of Argao.
“Diri ko sa Otso Diretso tungod kay gusto ko’g bag-o. Nakita sad nako silang worthy para anang position,” Evangeline Rellin, barangay councilor of Taloot, told Rappler. (I’m siding with Otso Diretso because I want change. I also see that they are worthy of the position.)
She said that she is not afraid to endorse the opposition bets because one must stand for what she believes in.
Rellin said the Otso Diretso slate should be given a chance.
Most Otso Diretso senatorial bets are lagging behind in surveys, with only reelectionist senator Bam Aquino and returning senator Mar Roxas showing chances of making it, based on pre-election surveys. – Rappler.com