Noynoy Aquino campaigns for Otso Diretso in Cebu
CEBU CITY — It was his first political gathering in Cebu, which gave him the presidency in 2013.
In what was dubbed as “Gathering of Allies,” none of the local officials who supported former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III showed up at the IEC Convention Center on Tuesday night.
Even Gov. Hilario Davide III and Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, who were his close allies, were not present in the rally for the eight senatorial candidates of the opposition.
But Davide, who is running for vice governor, had a private meeting with Aquino late Wednesday night, according to information officer of the province, Ainjeliz de la Torre.
Osmeña, who is seeking reelection, was reportedly holding a community dialogue with members of his slate in one of the villages in Cebu City.
Osmeña supported Aquino in presidential bid in 2010 and Mar Roxas, Liberal Party candidate for president in 2016.
Their families are close since his father, former Sen. Serge Osmeña, fought side-by-side with Aquino’s father, the late former Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr., against the Marcos dictatorship.
Among those who showed up was former Councilor Alvin Dizon, who is running for councilor again under Osmeña’s local party, the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK).
Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez, the mayor’s executive assistant, was also in the gathering and was introduced as former interior undersecretary.
Asked why the other members of the BOPK slate were not in the gathering, Dizon said in a text message: “I cannot speak on behalf of BOPK. I went there because I share the same advocacy with some of the candidates of Otso Diretso.”
“I was there on my volition,” Dizon, who is with Akbayan, said. “Close to 300 of my supporters from different urban poor communities attended.”
Most of the about 500 who showed up in the “Gathering of Allies” were members of Akbayan.
If Aquino was disappointed with the disappearance of his allies during his Cebu visit, he didn’t show it.
He went on to campaign for Otso Diretso candidates and asked his audience to make this May election a protest vote to the policies of the current administration.
If the people would want to put a stop the killings, the encroachment of the Chinese in Philippine waters, higher cost of commodities, among others, then they should vote for the opposition candidates in protest of these issues.
“We should remember that the power of these incumbent officials was just lent by the people,” he said in Filipino.
Aquino pointed out that the problem with China was nothing new as he had experienced it also when he was president.
During his administration, he said there was a prior deal with China on the construction of a train to Bulacan. But he stopped it, he added, since the deal would be disadvantageous to the Philippines.
Aquino also took a swipe at the current deals made by the Duterte administration, especially on the Kaliwa and Chico river dam projects funded by China.
He said the deals were scary since China could take any of the country’s resources if the Philippines failed to pay its debts.
“Someone pointed out to me that what would prevail would be the law in China. The lawyer, who was well-versed in Chinese laws, could also be from China,” he said. “And who would hear our complaint? Of course, the Chinese tribunal. The earnings would also go to them,” /atm
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