MANILA - The hashtag #SalamatChel trended on Twitter Tuesday afternoon as netizens wrote odes to legal luminary and opposition senatorial candidate Chel Diokno who fell short of winning a seat in the Senate.
The founding dean of the De La Salle College of Law has been out of the winning roster of 12 since the vote count began after polls closed Monday evening.
As of 4:50 p.m. Tuesday, with 95.11 percent of election returns from clustered precincts nationwide, Diokno has received 6,172,145 votes, remaining on the 21st spot.
"Kahit alam kong imposible, naniwala ako. Kahit saglit Lang, nabigyan niyo ako at marami pang iba, ng pag-asa na maari pang umunlad ang ating bansa," Twitter user Benjamin David wrote on his feed.
(Even if I knew it was impossible, I believed. Even for a while, you gave me and many others hope that our country could still progress.)
"Nakakagalit at nakakaiyak na hindi sapat ang aming suporta, ngunit patuloy ang ating laban," he said.
(It makes me angry and moves me to tears that our support was not enough, but our fight continues.)
Several netizens expressed regret over Diokno's loss, describing the human rights lawyer as the "best senator the Philippines never had."
Diokno graduated magna cum laude with a Doctor of Laws degree from the Northern Illinois University in the US, and chaired the Philippines' largest human rights lawyers' group Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) before running for senator in the 2019 midterm elections.
It was a similar track as his later father, Jose W. Diokno, a human rights lawyer who founded FLAG and became senator in 1963 and later took an active role in the movement against the strongman rule of Ferdinand Marcos.
"This man didn't actually lose. It is the Philippines and the Filipinos who lost the chance to be served by the best senator we could have but never had," said a netizen who goes by the handle "@IskaFight."
Another netizen asked Diokno - fondly dubbed as the #WokeLolo - to "never give up" on Filipinos.
"To the best senator we never had— #SalamatChel maybe you are meant for the highest spot. Even if we failed you, please do not give up on us. Till next election, sir." she said.
Other Diokno supporters vowed to champion for Diokno in the 2022 elections:
Diokno has yet to concede but posted a video on Twitter to thank his supporters.
"Muli, sa lahat ng kapwa ko Pilipino, salamat sa inyo," he wrote in its caption.