MANILA - Opposition slate Otso Diretso on Wednesday put up an online funding campaign and appealed to their supporters to raise funds for the “volunteer campaign” of the coalition.
The slate -- composed of Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, incumbent Senator Bam Aquino, De La Salle University College of Law founding dean Chel Diokno, Moro civic leader Samira Gutoc, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, former Senator Mar Roxas, and former House Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada -- has been relying on house-to-house campaigning and volunteers as most local government officials refuse to host their sorties in towns and provinces.
Most of the Otso Diretso candidates “lack funds,” Otso Diretso campaign manager and Liberal Party President Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said in a statement attached to the online funding campaign.
“Anumang husay, karanasan, at paninindigan ang mayroon sila, mababalewala ito kung hindi sila kilala, kung hindi sila makakapagpatakbo ng isang pambansang kampanya,” he said.
“Malayo ang mararating ng iyong P1,000 na kontribusyon para sa ating volunteers sa kanilang weekly house-to-house drives, sa iba't ibang bahagi ng Pilipinas. Magandang inisyatiba ang kampanyang na ito: Simple, tapat, at epektibo,” he said.
The donation drive was opened by a certain John Paulo delas Nieves from Metro Manila, and was shared on Pangilinan’s official Facebook Page.
The slate hopes to raise P8 million in 73 days or before the end of the campaign period, the online funding account showed.
As of February 27, 10 p.m., P27,800 had been donated by 17 individuals.
Otso Diretso has been struggling with low voter awareness since 5 of its candidates are senatorial campaign neophytes.
Only 2 of the 8 opposition bets -- Roxas and Aquino -- were in the top 15 candidates or those who have a statistical chance of winning in the 2019 midterm polls, a Pulse Asia survey in January 2019 showed.
The coalition had to turn to a “grassroots approach” by knocking on doors and touching bases with the masses after several local government officials “refused” to host their sorties in key cities, Gutoc earlier told reporters.
‘P132 million adspend bill?’
Despite the supposed lack of funds, Otso Diretso spent some P132 million in campaign advertisements in January 2019 alone, a study from the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) published earlier this month showed.
“It (coalition) bought 107 TV ad spots that ran for a total of 2,910 seconds on ABS-CBN and GMA-7 Network. Its adspend bill: P132,256,000,” the study read.
Two of the 8 Otso Diretso candidates -- Roxas and Aquino -- were among the top pre-election campaign spenders, the PCIJ said.
Roxas supposedly spent P349.5 million for 570 television slots in January, while Aquino shelled out P89 million for TV-ad placements in the same period, the report said.
Alejano and Macalintal also footed P76,403,080 and P5,887,000 in advertisement bills, the PCIJ claimed.
Both Alejano and Macalintal belied the PCIJ report.
“Sumobra sila ng maraming zero. Wala akong ganiyang kalaking pera,” Alejano earlier said in a press conference.