ILOILO CITY, Philippines — Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon on Friday endorsed the candidacy of eight opposition senatorial bets here.
“Today, I am endorsing to the people of Iloilo the eight senatorial candidates of the opposition who will help me push the progress that we have seen in the province and city of Iloilo,” he said.
He pushed for the candidacy of the so-called Otso Diretso candidates: Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, former local government secretary Mar Roxas, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, veteran election lawyer Romeo Macalintal, lawyer Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, Samira Ali Gutoc-Tomawis and lawyer Lorenzo Tañada III.
“I ask for your help because I know these are the people who will preserve democracy,” Drilon said.
He said they would be banking on the Western Visayas votes, which will play a crucial role for Otso Diretso.
“These are the people who can stand up to abuses,” Drilon added.
While many known Liberal Party (LP) members have jumped ship to other political parties, Drilon believed that Western Visayas remains an LP stronghold, particularly Capiz and Iloilo.
Other provinces that comprise Western Visayas are Aklan, Antique, Guimaras and Negros Occidental.
The region has more than four million registered voters.
“I have been in several electoral contests. I can look at every Ilonggo in the eye and say I have never failed them,” Drilon said.
He went on to say that this would be his last request for the midterm elections in May.
“Help me bring our eight candidates to the Senate,” Drilon said.
Drilon made the pitch during a press conference at Hotel del Rio after he stood as guest of honor in the turnover of Sunburst Park to the city government.
Sunburst Park, which cost more than P19 million to build, is a public place for recreation that includes a walkway, chess playground, benches, parking space and Macario Peralta statue.
Earlier, the opposition candidates met with Archbishop Jose Romeo Lazo of the Archdiocese of Jaro.