NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur - All 8 Otso Diretso candidates made a complete public appearance for the first time, Wednesday, as the opposition senatorial bets laid flowers and whispered prayers before the tomb of late Liberal Party stalwart Jesse Robredo.
Otso Diretso candidates Gary Alejano, Bam Aquino, Chel Diokno, Pilo Hilbay, Samira Gutoc, Romulo Macalintal, Mar Roxas and Erin Tañada paid their respects to the long-time Naga City mayor who died in a plane crash in 2012 and was laid to rest at the Eternal Gardens Memorial Park here.
“Si Sec. Jesse ay malapit sa marami sa amin sa slate,” Aquino said.
“It’s also very symbolic kasi si Sec. Jesse ay lider natin na matino at mahusay and I think marami sa amin, ‘yun ‘yung sinisikap namin maging,” he said.
[We all aspire to become a leader like him.]
Roxas, who skipped the first leg of Otso Diretso’s campaign kick off in Caloocan, said Sec. Robredo’s tomb reminds him of the late official's brand of leadership.
“Nasasariwa sa akin yung tatak ng liderato ni Sec. Jess na nagsasaad ng transparency, ng inclusiveness at saka ng good government,” Roxas said.
[I am reminded of his brand of leadership, which shows transparency, inclusiveness, and good government.]
The Otso Diretso is replicating Robredo’s grassroots approach by holding door-to-door consultations nationwide instead of relying heavily on social media, the slate’s campaign chief and Liberal Party President Sen. Francis Pangilinan earlier said.
Sec. Robredo’s untimely demise bolstered his wife Leni’s vice presidential bid in 2016, analysts said.
"I'm not saying that she's (Leni) not worth any political capital at all but 'yung pagkamatay ni Sec. Robredo certainly fueled her being vice president today," campaign strategist Gerardo Eusebio earlier told ABS-CBN News.
"Otso Diretso" can also learn from Robredo's "approach and style" when dealing with the masses, political analyst Edna Co said in a separate interview.
"Wala sila nung tragedy na nawalan ng asawa. [But] They can make a conversion through personal interaction," she said.
"It is basically simplicity and connecting with people," she said.