Robredo: ‘Otso Diretso’ did well in schools surveys, but lost as students can’t vote
MANILA, Philippines — One of the reasons why the opposition’s senatorial slate in the 2019 midterm elections did not manage to even win a single seat is because some of their supporters just cannot cast their votes.
Vice President Leni Robredo said this Wednesday as she recalled how “Otso Diretso” was doing well in school and university surveys in the run-up to the 2019 polls.
In an interview with #ChooseDay hosted by celebrities Cesca Litton and Pia Magalona, along with former election commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal, Robredo said no Otso Diretso candidate won that election because many of the survey participants were either not allowed to vote yet or not registered to vote.
Thus, the Vice President highlighted the need to encourage every eligible Filipino to register and vote in the 2022 national elections.
“Maramdaman nila how important one vote is kasi halimbawa, noong eleksyon noong 2016 ni Trump versus Clinton, ‘di ba parang iyong mga surveys panalo si Hillary, ‘di ba? Parang lahat tayo nagulat bakit si Trump iyong nanalo. Pero iyong mga supporters niya kasi karamihan hindi bumoto, eh, ‘di ba,” Robredo said Tuesday.
(So they’d feel how important one vote is, for example, during the US elections in 2016 between Trump and Clinton, when the surveys came out it was victory for Hillary, right? But many were shocked why Trump won. But it’s because the supporters of Hillary did not come out to vote.)
“Parehas din iyan noong—halimbawa, pinaka-close to heart iyong Otso Diretso. Iyong Otso Diretso lahat na surveys sa mga universities, mga school campuses, panalong-panalo iyong Otso Diretso pero wala ngang nakapasok sa Top 12. Walang nakapasok sa Top 12 kasi iyong mga estudyanteng bumuboto sa kanila during the surveys, hindi naman bumoboto sa real elections,” she added.
(It’s the same with, for example, the one closest to heart, the Otso Diretso. Otso Diretso was winning in all the university, school campuses that we surveyed, but none of them made it to the Top 12. No one made it to the Top 12 because the students who answered the surveys cannot vote in real elections.)
Robredo, chairperson of the Liberal Party, openly supported and campaigned for Otso Diretso candidates during the 2019 polls.
However, not a single opposition senatorial candidate landed in the so-called Magic 12, leaving the Senate minority membership to just four — Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Risa Hontiveros, Francis Pangilinan, and Leila de Lima, who cannot even participate in Senate hearings and proceedings because she is being detained for drug-related charges.
According to Robredo, people including the youth and students already eligible to vote must register so that the voting population would be well represented.
“We need to register kasi it turned out later on na ang dami palang hindi nag-register. Ang daming mga estudyante na of voting age pero hindi nag-register. So sa akin, para sa akin, hindi siya puwedeng parang ano lang, parang iyong kampanya natin parang nasa hangin lang,” she said.
(We need to register because as it turned out, later on, many did not register. A lot of students were already of voting age but did not register. So for me, it just can’t be that our campaign will merely be up in the air.)
“Parang we don’t leave it to chance. Mayroon talagang mga advocacy groups na iyong tao-tao talaga iyong pagtutok just to register. Kasi parang iyong iba naging ano na, anong term ba iyon, parang naging manhid na iyong iba. Manhid in the sense na, ‘Wala namang mangyayari, isang boto lang naman ako’,” she explained.
(We just cannot leave it to chance. There are advocacy groups that really focus on person-to-person persuasion to register. Because it seems there are others who became, what’s that term, numb. Numb in the sense that, ‘Nothing will happen anyway, I’m just one vote.’)
Otso Diretso, which included former senators Bam Aquino and Mar Roxas, former congressmen Gary Alejano and Erin Tañada, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, veteran election lawyer Romy Macalintal, and ex-assemblywoman Samira Gutoc, had some candidates faring well in the surveys before the elections.
But their numbers eventually tapered off, resulting in an administration slate-dominated Magic 12.
For next year’s polls, Robredo is rumored to be running for president, possibly against other potential candidates like presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. However, the country’s second-highest official has continuously shrugged off such talks, even hinting that she may instead pursue a local elective post like being Camarines Sur’s governor.