MANILA, Philippines – Reelectionist Muntinlupa City Mayor Jaime Fresnedi rallied support for the Otso Diretso senatorial lineup in his city.
Fresnedi, a Liberal Party (LP) member, endorsed the 8 opposition senatorial bets before residents of Southville 3 in Barangay Poblacion on Tuesday, March 5.
"Bakit ako nanatili dito sa dilaw? Dahil naniniwala ako na ang pinakikipaglaban ng dilaw ay ang karapatan ng mga mamamayan. Nakita po ninyo ang mga programa na ating isinusulong. Hindi 'nyo kailangang maging malakas o may mga liders dahil ang lahat ng programa ay para sa bawat isa sa inyo. At ganyan din po ang gagawin ng ating mga susuportahan, ang Otso Diretso," said Fresnedi.
(Why did I stay with the yellows? Because I believe what the yellows are fighting for are the rights of the people. You saw the programs I'm pushing for. You don't need to be strong or strong leaders to benefit from these, because all my programs are for every one of you. And that will also be done by the Otso Diretso candidates whom we are supporting.)
"Wala silang titignang kulay. Wala silang titignang kulay dahil ang serbisyo ko po, walang kulay na tinitignan. Tama ba?" said the mayor, drawing applause from the crowd of around 300 residents.
(They do not look at colors. They do not look at colors because my brand of service knows no colors. Am I right?)
Fresnedi said that because former Quezon congressman Erin Tañada is the grandson of the late Martial Law critic and senator Lorenzo Tañada, he would continue the "patriotism, nationalism, and love of country" like that of his grandfather.
The mayor then described Otso Diretso candidate Romy Macalintal as "napakagaling na election lawyer (an excellent election lawyer)."
As for Florin Hilbay, Fresnedi told his constituents that the former solicitor general grew up in Tondo but he beat the odds and still topped the bar examinations.
Only Hilbay, Macalintal, and Tañada were the Otso Diretso candidates present in Muntinlupa City. Three other bets sent representatives – reelectionist Senator Bam Aquino's nephew Simon Aquino spoke for him, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno was represented by his daughter Ines Diokno, and Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano was represented by his party mate, Eugene Gonzales.
Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc and former interior chief Mar Roxas were not present and did not send any representatives.
Muntinlupa City has a total of 341,511 voters registered for the May elections.
'Breath of fresh air'
As opposition candidates, members of the Otso Diretso slate have found it difficult to convince incumbent politicians to host their sorties since the campaign period started.
This has forced the ticket to resort to door-to-door campaigning together with their volunteers to introduce themselves directly to voters. (READ: Can Otso Diretso do a repeat of Robredo's 2016 victory?)
They campaign mostly in schools and in meetings with sectoral representatives, where participants are given the chance to ask questions to the Otso Diretso candidates.
So for Hilbay, getting Fresnedi's endorsement is a "breath of fresh air."
"Napapansin naman talaga natin na talagang nagsasara 'yung pintuan ng mga local government [officials] doon sa Otso Diretso. Na tingin namin maganda na rin dahil napupuwersa kaming humarap mismo doon sa mga mamamayan," said Hilbay.
(We've been noticing that local government officials are closing their doors to Otso Diretso. But we think this is also a good thing because we're forced to directly face the people.)
Tañada is thankful for Fresnedi's support and praised him for "standing by his principles."
"Hindi siya naniniwala sa palitan ng partido. Dapat ikilala po natin at palakpakan po natin 'yung mga...mayors na iilan na naniniwala na wala namang masama na manatili sa partido na nasimulan po nila at sila po'y wala namang ginagawang masama. Ginagawa lang po nila 'yung tama na dapat sundan po natin," said Tañada.
(He does not believe in party switching. We need to recognize and applaud the few mayors who believe there is nothing wrong with sticking to their party as long as they are not doing anything wrong. They are only doing the right thing, which we should emulate.)
Fresnedi is seeking reelection as the LP's mayoral bet in Muntinlupa City. His running mate, however, is Temy Simundac, the candidate of the administration's Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan. – Rappler.com