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Vice President Leni Robredo expressed her admiration for and gratitude to all the volunteers and supporters of Otso Diretso, for their hard work and dedication campaigning for the eight candidates.

During her weekly radio show over DZXL-RMN 558 last Sunday (May 5), Robredo and Otso Diretso’s campaign manager Senator Kiko Pangilinan shared stories of ordinary Filipinos who have taken an active part in campaigning for the slate.

Robredo said many supporters from different provinces offer to print Otso Diretso’s campaign materials using their own money. They also make handwritten posters, host campaign sorties, and go around their communities to introduce the eight candidates.

The growing pool of supporters and volunteers include people from different walks of life—from young people to senior citizens, solo parents, and even a man who has cancer.

This, Robredo has said, is the heart behind Otso Diretso’s campaign, and a constant source of inspiration in the face of many challenges, including limited resources and the current “political climate,” where many local officials are afraid to show their support for the slate.

“Kapag nagbubukas kasi ng Facebook, nakikita ko, hindi namin mga kilala, pero nakikita natin iyong mga ginagawang nakakabilib,” she said. “Parang sasabihin mo, ‘Sobrang suwerte naman natin na mayroon tayong mga taong ganito.’”

The opposition slate is fielding eight candidates, including election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, former House Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, former ARMM assemblywoman Samira Gutoc, Senator Bam Aquino and human rights lawyer Chel Diokno.

Among the eight, only two—Aquino and Roxas—made it to the list of 14 candidates with a statistical chance of winning in the May 13 elections according to earlier surveys.

Despite the dismal performance of Otso Diretso in the surveys, Robredo and Pangilinan remain hopeful that their candidates will have a good chance in the elections, especially now that more volunteers are joining their campaign.

During the show, VP Leni paid tribute in particular to the volunteers killed in a road mishap in Baguio City recently, reading their names on the air. They include: Julia Labi, Adelina Agsaoay, Elizabeth Panis, Richelda Abigar, Josephine Ag-a and John Roy Passi.

Pangilinan joined her in extending condolences and thanks to the families, especially as they continue to express support for Otso Diretso despite the incident.

This, the senator said, showed genuine compassion and concern that have been fueling the senatorial slate’s campaign.

“Sila po talaga ang tumataya. Anim po ang nasawi, isa ho ay bata—apo—at iyong lima ho, nanay. Nanay at mga lola,” he said. “Talagang dito ho, sa atin siyempre napakasakit, masakit sa atin na nangyari ito, pero talagang sila ho ang nagsakripisyo at tumaya. Sila ho ang ating mga bayani in that sense—the heroes of this political exercise. They sacrificed their lives for our efforts and our campaigns.”

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