LP senatorial bets hope to get bulk of 5M Ilonggo votes in Western Visayas
ILOILO CITY—Three years after Liberal Party (LP) candidates won here by a landslide, the party’s candidates for the May 2019 elections visited this city on Friday acknowledging that they were now underdogs.
But the LP candidates accompanied by Sen. Franklin Drilon, an Ilonggo and LP vice chair, are confident they would still get the bulk of the nearly five million votes of Ilonggos in Western Visayas.
“(Western Visayas) is known to be a bailiwick of the LP particularly Capiz and Iloilo (provinces). We intend to maintain that dominance of the opposition in this part of the country,” Drilon said in a press conference at the Hotel del Rio here.
Drilon acknowledged that “being in the opposition is not an easy task” with most LP members joining the ruling party after the May 2016 elections.
“We do not deny that we are the underdogs today facing well-oiled machinery of the administration but we are not discouraged because we know that at the end of the day, you will recognize the need for people in our slate as worthy of your support in the Senate,” he said.
In the 2016 elections, then LP standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and most of his allies won in areas considered bailiwicks in Western Visayas, which includes the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental.
Drilon said that due to the “weakness” of the country’s political system, many have abandoned the LP.
“The opposition has difficulty because the administration has full control of resources.
But we can assure you that once our people get exposed to our candidates, we are confident that we can overcome all of these difficulties and prevail when the elections come in May,” he said.
Drilon said the candidates would “go directly” to the people through the media to offset the lack of machinery and resources.
He was joined by former Quezon Representative Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III, human rights lawyer Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, civic leader Samira Gutoc, lawyer Romulo “Romy” Macalintal, Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano, and re-electionist Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV.
Two other candidates, former Solicitor General Florin “Pilo” Hilbay and former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, failed to join the slate but were present in their visit to Roxas City in Capiz on Thursday.
Tañada said Western Visayas would play an important role for the “Otso Derecho” slate.
He said they expected the bulk of their votes to come from the Visayas.
“We know that the Visayas is one of the areas known for being an opposition (area) during Martial Law,” he said.
He described Ilonggos as “critical” voters who would support “better people” for the Senate.
Alejano said that if candidates supported by President Duterte would win, the bad-mouthing and unfair tagging of Ilonggos would continue.
He was referring to the repeated statements of the President describing Iloilo as “most shabulized” and “bedrock of illegal drugs” which has been decried by many Ilonggos as unfair and untrue.
The LP candidates also had a private meeting with Jaro Archbishop Jose Romeo Lazo and met with students and their supporters./lzb
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