NAGA, Camarines Sur - Seven of the 8 Otso Diretso candidates started the second leg of their campaign kick off here, early Wednesday, eager to meet voters from the bailiwick of Vice President Leni Robredo.
Opposition senatorial bets Bam Aquino, Gary Alejano, Chel Diokno, Samira Gutoc, Pilo Hilbay, Romy Macalintal and Erin Tañada arrived in Naga sans former Interior Sec. Mar Roxas for Otso Diretso’s morning activities here.
“We are looking forward to our kick off today. [We’re] upbeat,” Tañada said.
“We’re in a positive mood. Kahit saan dapat positive tayo [pero] dito kasi mas tatanggapin tayo ng locals,” Alejano said.
Roxas skipped the slate’s first official event in Caloocan Tuesday, after he mounted a solo campaign kick off in his hometown Capiz where he “traditionally” launches his bids for public office.
Roxas will board a separate flight from Capiz and will join the team’s campaign rally later in the day, Otso Diretso staffers told ABS-CBN News.
Unlike their Caloocan campaign where candidates focused on touching base with residents and holding small talks with potential voters, the Otso Diretso bets are expected to receive a warmer welcome in the Bicol region, the home province of Robredo and opposition senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV.
“We want to be as strong as possible in the Bicol region. Kung saan kami malakas, kailangan makuha namin ng buong buo dahil ‘yun yung gagawin ng administrasyon. Susubukan nilang kunin ‘yung mga bailiwick namin,” Hilbay said.
The slate will stop along public markets in the towns of Pili and Baao before having breakfast with the family of detained senator De Lima in Iriga City.
“It is important [to meet the family] because Leila is wrongfully in jail. She shouldn’t be in jail,” Diokno said.
“I have been personally involved in fighting for Senator De Lima’s release since day one and I just want to assure them that we will continue to fight for her,” he said.
The coalition is also scheduled to meet with religious leaders, students and local public officials before visiting the grave of late Liberal Party stalwart and former Naga mayor Jessie Robredo.
“Si Sec. Jessie ay malapit sa marami sa amin sa slate,” Aquino said.
“It’s also very symbolic kasi si Sec. Jessie ay lider natin na matino at mahusay and I think marami sa amin, ‘yun ‘yung sinisikap namin maging,” he said.
The Bicol campaign will end with a sortie in Naga City where all 8 members of opposition slate are expected to appear in the public.