By Minka Klaudia Tiangco
The senatorial bets under the “Otso Diretso” slate said kicking off their senatorial bid in Caloocan City was “symbolic.”
Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, the slate’s campaign manager, said they chose Caloocan as their launch pad during the campaign period for its historical significance, especially during the Katipunan revolution.
They also chose this city for their persuasion campaign due to its high number of extrajudicial killings, an issue that the slate is fighting against, said human rights lawyer and senatorial bet Chel Diokno.
“Tuloy-tuloy po ang patayan, hindi naman nawala yan (The killings are continuous, they never disappeared). Not only in Caloocan, but we have been receiving reports in different parts of the country,” Diokno said.
“We think that the government should stop dispensing justice from the barrels of guns and instead respect the rule of law,” he added.
However, Caloocan City Congressman Egay Erice, a Liberal Party stalwart and the slate’s host during their visit, claimed that the killings in Caloocan lessened by 95 percent after he delivered a privilege speech on the issue.
Diokno, Senator Bam Aquino, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, former House Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, and Moro civic leader Samira Gutoc, along with a hundred volunteers, kicked off the 90-day campaign period by shaking hands and chatting with Caloocan residents.
The candidates were met with drums and banners, laughter and music, when they launched their listening campaign.
Yolie De Leon, 64, admitted that she only knew two candidates in the slate—Aquino and Roxas—but said she will “research on the internet” before giving any senatorial bet her vote.
The unique door-to-door campaign will help the candidates pinpoint which issues affect the public the most, and is also an opportunity to introduce themselves to the voting public, Aquino said.
After the campaign, the candidates attended mass at the San Roque Cathedral. They were joined by Vice President Leni Robredo, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, and Sen. Risa Hontiveros.