By: Jennifer P. Rendon and Emme Rose Santiagudo
SENATE Minority Leader Franklin Drilon endorsed eight opposition senatorial candidates in his hometown Iloilo.
Drilon made the endorsement in a press conference at Hotel del Rio in Iloilo City right after he stood as guest of honor in the formal turn-over of Sunburst Park to the Iloilo City Government.
The Sunburst Park, which cost P19,467,329.55, is a place for recreation open to the public. It includes a walkway, a chess playground, park benches, parking area, the existing Peralta Statu and the Sunburts area.
During the ceremony, Drilon did not endorse local and national candidates.
It was only during the press conference where he pushed for the candidacy of the “Otso Deretso” candidates: veteran election lawyer Romeo Macalintal, Atty. Chel Diokno, Senator Bam Aquino, Rep. Gary Alejano, former Secretary Mar Roxas, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, Samira Gutoc Tomawis, and Erin Tañada.
Drilon went on to narrate the strength and advocacies of each candidate.
“I have been into several electoral contests. I can look at every Ilonggo in the eye and say that I have never failed them,” he said.
Drilon said they he has always delivered what they have promised.
“Today, I am endorsing to the people of Iloilo the eight Senatorial candidates of the opposition who will help me to push the progress that we have seen in the province and city of Iloilo,” he said.
Drilon said they would be banking on the Western Visayas votes, which will play a crucial role for Otso Diretso.
In asking for the Ilonggo votes, Drilon said that by helping them, the Ilonggos can be confident that they will have people who will have their welfare in mind.
Despite the fact that many known Liberal Party members have jumped ship to other parties, Drilon believed that Western Visayas remains as Liberal Party’s stronghold, particularly that of Capiz and Iloilo.
Other provinces that comprise Western Visayas are Aklan, Antique, Guimaras, and Negros Occidental.
The region has more than 4 million registered voters.
“I ask for your help because I know these are the people who will preserve democracy,” he said.
He also labeled the candidates as the individuals who would stand by what is right.
“These are the people who can stand up to abuses,” he said.
Drilon went on to say that as he has helped the Iloilo people, “last ko na ni nga pangayo (this would be my last request for the election), helped me bring our eight candidates to the Senate.”
Earlier that day, the opposition candidates met with the Archbishop Jose Romeo Lazo of the Archdiocese of Jaro.