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Otso Diretso volunteers spend own money

Otso Diretso volunteers spend own money

UNDERDOG Otso Diretso senatorial candidates Samira Gutoc, Chel Diokno, Erin Tañada and Romulo Macalintal hold a campaign sortie at Welcome Rotonda in Quezon City on Sunday. —NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

LUCENA CITY, Quezon, Philippines — Despite repeated poll survey results showing Otso Diretso senatorial candidates out of the “Magic 12,” their dedicated volunteers are optimistic that victory will be theirs after the election.

Estela Yap, 62, president of Edsa Pro-Democracy (Prodem)-Quezon chapter, said her group did not believe in the surveys being conducted by pollsters Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia.

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“They already lost their credibility. They are spewing lies to deceive and manipulate the minds of the people,” she said in an interview in Lucena on Friday during the campaign of opposition senatorial candidates former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, former Quezon Rep. Erin Tañada, civic leader Samira Gutoc and election lawyer Romulo Macalintal.

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Yap expressed the belief that the Filipinos were not stupid to vote candidates with records of being jailed for plunder, graft and corruption.

“So, why are they still on the surveys’ winning list? It is not believable,” she said.

Yap said the group’s more than 500 members across the province were not discouraged “with the lies of those survey results.”

Some of the group members, all in blue Otso Diretso shirts, were busy manning the table in one corner of the jampacked Edificio de San Fernando building at the Saint Ferdinand Cathedral compound.

In another corner where a multisectoral forum was being held, members of Lucena’s Pioneer Pride (LPP), a local association of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals, were handing out campaign materials to the crowd.

“It was the decision of the group to voluntarily help in the campaign of Otso Diretso candidates,” Eugene Alandy-Dy, 35, and president of LPP, said in an interview.

“We believe in the justness of their cause to fight for the sovereignty of the country and to stop the widespread human and civil rights violations of the Filipinos,” he said.

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Branding critics as gays

He admitted that another reason they decided to join the campaign was President Rodrigo Duterte’s penchant for tagging his critics as gays in an insulting manner.

He said their members had been going house-to-house since the start of the campaign period.

“We knock on their doors, we approach women washing clothes in rivers and explain to them why we must all vote for the opposition candidates,” he said.

“And most often after our dialogues, they also volunteer to help in the campaign in their villages. Truly, it is very encouraging,” he added.

See the bigger picture with the Inquirer's live in-depth coverage of the election here https://inq.ph/Election2019

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TAGS: 2019 elections, 2019 senatorial candidates, Estela Yap, Otso Diretso volunteers, Prodem, Pulse Asia surveysm, SWS surveys
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