This file photo shows senatorial candidates from the Otso Diretso coalition.
The STAR/Michael Varcas, File
Otso Diretso bets win support of Metro Manila’s affluent communities
(Philstar.com) - May 15, 2019 - 6:27am

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 7:32 a.m.) — The senatorial candidates of the opposition Otso Diretso might have failed to get the support of the Filipino voting population in Monday’s midterm election but they were among the top choices of Metro Manila’s privileged crowd.

Data from the Commission on Elections’ partial and unofficial tally showed that re-electionist Sen. Bam Aquino was the most preferred candidate of residents living in at least 10 posh villages in Metro Manila.

Aquino—Otso Diretso bet closest to getting into the winners’ circle—received 1,951 votes in Greenhills, 1,130 votes in Forbes Park, 2,922 votes in Bel-Air, 4,146 votes in Ayala Alabang, 933 votes in Urdaneta Village, 1,669 votes in Dasmariñas Village, 878 votes in White Plains, 2,646 votes in San Lorenzo, 1,762 votes in Magallanes and 1,641 in Ugong Norte (Corinthians and Green Meadows).

Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno is also a favorite among gated community dwellers, ranking second except in Forbes Park, Urdaneta Village and Dasmariñas Village—all in Makati City.

Re-electionist Sen. Grace Poe, a frontrunner in midterm polls, placed second in these three enclaves.

Other bets from the opposition slate—civic leader Samira Gutoc, former Quezon Rep. Erin Tañada, former Interior secretary Mar Roxas, veteran elections lawyer Romy Macalintal, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano and former solicitor general Florin Hilbay—were also preferred by residents of Metro Manila’s exclusive subdivisions.

Sen. Cynthia Villar—whose family has built real estate enterprises—as well as Sen. Sonny Angara, Sen. Nancy Binay, former Sen. Serge Osmeña and cardiologist Willie Ong were likewise among the top choices of gated community dwellers.

Failure to resonate with the masses

Otso Diretso bets were among the most talked about candidates on social media and among the top choices of students in university mock polls.

They, however, struggled to convert their massive online presence to actual support of the electorate that still generally supports the Duterte administration. This, despite their efforts to touch base with the masses through their market visits and door-to-door campaigning.

With a little over 96% of the votes counted in the partial and unofficial tally, Aquino is the sole opposition bet with a slim chance to snag a Senate seat. As of 5:10 a.m. Wednesday, Aquino ranked 14th with 13,864,981 votes. But he still has to, at least, edge out fellow re-electionists Sen. JV Ejercito, who is on the 13th spot, and 12th placer Sen. Nancy Binay.

Aquino managed to break into the Magic 12 of the partial and official count of the May 2019 senatorial race after the National Board of Canvassers counted the first batch of votes Tuesday evening. But this only represents 34 certificates of canvass.

Even Roxas, a veteran bet, is nowhere inside the winners’ circle. As of press time, he placed 16th with 9,647,036 votes.

Diokno placed 21st with 6,217,860 votes, Alejano landed 23rd with 4,628,310 votes, Gutoc ranked 25th with 4,190,621 votes, followed by Macalintal at 26th with 3,918,767 votes, Tañada at 27th with 3,786,681 votes. Hilbay settled at the 29th spot with 2,696,546 votes.

Diokno, Gutoc, Macalintal, Alejano, Hilbay and Tañada accepted defeat in the Senate race Tuesday. 

In an interview with Philstar.com last year, political analyst Dennis Coronacion said an administration party—PDP-Laban—awash with campaign resources and the massive popularity of President Rodrigo Duterte would mean tough times for the opposition.

“What makes it more difficult for the opposition is that the president continues to enjoy huge public support as shown in his recent trust and approval ratings,” Coronacion had said.

'Labor unity already a win'

Candidates representing the actual masses—nominees of labor unions and of national democratic mass organizations—did not make it to the Top 12 either.

Leody De Guzman, chairperson of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilpino and a candidate under the Labor Win coalition and endorsed by the Makabayan bloc, said the unity of the labor sector is already a victory.

"Hindi tayo pinalad na makapasok sa winning circle pero pumasok naman tayo sa puso ng mga kabataang estudyante at organisadong seksyon ng mga manggagawa," he said in an online statement.

(We were not fortunate to enter the winning cirlce, but we were able to enter the hearts of the youth and of organized labor)

"Sila ang kumilala at pangunahing nangampanya para sa dala nating bagong pulitika. Pulitika ng masa, ng maka-masang plataporma at track record ng paglikingkod hindi sa paraang pera-pera ng mga Dinastiya at Elitista pulitiko," he also said.

(They were the ones who recognized and were at the forefront of the campaign for the new politics we are advocating. Politics of the masses, a platform for the masses and a track record of service and not the money of the dynasties and elite politicians.)

He added that the formation of the Labor Win coalition from separate labor unions and groups is also a victory for workers.

"Makabuluhang pundasyon ito para sa higit na pagpapalakas ng laban para sa demokrasya ng mamamayan hindi sa diktadura iilan. Tuloy ang laban!" he said.

(It is a significant foundation for a stronger fight for democracy of the people and not a dictatorship of the few. The struggle continues!)

Former Rep. Neri Colmenares (Bayan Muna), who is also part of the Labor Win coalition, has refused to concede defeat.

"I will never concede defeat to a rotten electoral exercise that has basically deceived, bribed, intimidated and manipulated our people into electing the worst kinds of leaders imaginable," he said Tuesday.

RELATED: Despite pre-election surveys, labor coalition says unity a victory in itself

(Editor's note: This article has been updated to include statements from De Guzman and Colmenares) 

2019 MIDTERM ELECTION BAM AQUINO OTSO DIRETSO SENATE RACE
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