MANILA -- The opposition is "alive," Vice President Leni Robredo said Wednesday, as she expressed confidence that its Senate slate for the 2019 elections would duplicate her own ascent from "zero" to victory.
The Oposisyon Koalisyon is fielding former senator Mar Roxas, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, Mindanao peace advocate Samira Gutoc, human rights lawyer Jose Manuel Diokno, former congressman Erin Tanada, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay and two incumbents, Sen. Bam Aquino and Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano.
Former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III attended the launch.
"Madami nagsasabi, hindi madali maging oposisyon ngayon. Yung lahat ng naglalakas-loob magrekalmo, lahat ng naglalakas-loob na tumutuligsa, minamaliit, niyuyurakan kinakasuhan, kinukulong," Robredo said.
(Many are saying that's it's hard to be part of the opposition at this time. Those who have the courage to complain or criticize are belittled, trampled upon, prosecuted, jailed.)
"Madami ang nagsasabi na natutulog ang oposisyon, pero buhay na buhay po ang oposisyon," Robredo said at the launch of the Senate slate.
(Many are saying that the opposition is sleeping, but the opposition is very much alive.)
Sen. Leila de Lima, an administration critic, has been detained since February 2017 on drug dealing charges, which she denied. Her opposition colleague, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, had his amnesty over two failed uprisings revoked and fought off arrest.
The opposition is "alive" based on protests sparked by the burial of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and the death of suspected drug courier Kian de los Santos, Robredo said.
Robredo defied pre-election surveys with her victory in 2016. She ran alongside Roxas, who lost to President Rodrigo Duterte.
The Vice President served as housing secretary in the Duterte cabinet until she resigned in December 2016, citing policy differences.
"Kung naging posible po noong 2016, walang dahilan kung bakit hindi natin maipapanalo yung ating 8 basta po tayo nagkakakaisa," she said.
(If it was possible in 2016, there is no reason why we can't bring the 8 to victory, as long as we're united.)
"Dahil sa tulong ninyong lahat, naging posible yung one percent to vice president," she said.
(Because of your help, one percent to vice president was possible.)
THE OPPOSITION TICKET
The coalition's campaign slogan is “Makinig, Matuto, Kumilos (Listen, Learn, Take action)” with the candidates urging the public to be more critical in the face of dirty politics, extra-judicial killings, inflation and martial law in Mindanao.
“Lahat po tayo, hindi lamang dilaw, hindi lamang pula, hindi lamang asul, ang nakakaramdam ng kahirapan sa ating lipunan. Importanteng-importante po na ang ating gobyerno ay nakikinig sa ating mamayan na umaaray sa pagtaas ng presyo ng bilihin,” Tañada said.
(All of us, not just the yellows, the reds, or the blues feel poverty in our society. It is very important for the government to listen to the citizens hurt by the rise in consumer prices.)
“Ito ay nakakalungkot, sa tagal ng ating karanasan sa 4 na eleksyon, sa ating panununungkulan na parang lumala ang pulitka sa ating bansa,” Alejano said.
(This is saddening, in our experience after 4 elections, in our terms of office, politics seem to worsen.)
"Ang mahalaga po sa amin ay wala na pong martial law. Ang naranasan po namin sa Marawi ay hindi dapat maranasan kahit saan sa Pilipinas," Gutoc said.
(What's important for us is that there's no more martial law. What we experienced in Marawi should not be experienced elsewhere in the Philippines.)
"Justice after all is about empowering the poor and the last thing polticians want is an enlightened and empowered electorate,” Diokno said.
"Tatanda at lilipas din ako ngunit may batas na iiwan para sa inyo," Macalintal said in reference to senior citizens.
(I will age and pass on, but a piece of legislation will be left for you.)
Roxas was the only opposition candidate who did not attend the event but sent a video message reminding the public of his work such as jump starting the call center industry.
- with a report by Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News