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Outnumbered, outspent, outmaneuvered: What happened to Otso Diretso?

No candidate from the opposition slate Otso Diretso made it to the Top 12 in the Senate race of the recent 2019 midterm elections based on the official final tally of the Commission on Elections released Wednesday. 

As the 12 new senators were being proclaimed by the Comelec at the Philippine International Convention Center Professor Aries Arugay from the University of the Philippines (UP) Department of Political Science enumerates the possible factors that hindered the Otso Diretso from landing in the  winners’ circle.


In his interview on GMA News’ Balitanghali, Arugay said the simple fact that the opposition decided to pick only eight candidates for their slate contributed to their loss.

Their rival slate Hugpong ng Pagbabago not just have 12 but 13 candidates for the Senate bid, which means a bigger chance in sweeping the 12 spots in the winners’ circle.

“Outnumbered sila, the mere fact na otso yung pinatakbo ng opposition, ibig sabihin kahit manalo yung otso may papasok na apat sa ibang slate,” Arugay said.

He also said if only the opposition—pertaining also to non-Liberal Party group like Labor Win and Makabayan—was united, winning could have been possible.

“Hindi naging united yung opposition dito,” Arugay said.


According to Arugay, the groundwork in the grass roots is a big factor to the election win of most administration bets. The UP professor said the campaign strategy of their manager Sara Duterte acquired in Hugpong ng Pagbabago also did the work for the success of their candidates.

The HNP, before becoming a political coalition, is initially a regional political party that was already familiar with the local government leaders in Mindanao, he said.

Due to this, admin bets were easily endorsed by these local leaders even in the hard to reach areas.

“Groundwork, yung traditional na makinarya, napakalakas niya pa rin…Nanaig sa eleksyon na ‘to na kailangan gagapangin ang local government leaders at sila ang magmomobilize ng boto,” Arugay said.

This factor might be lacking in Otso Diretso slate, Arugay suggested.


Arugay said Otso Diretso spent the most of the campaigns taking jabs against President Rodrigo Duterte which, according to Arugay, did not help them since the president is not even in the ballot in this year’s election.

“Karamihan noong kampanya, inaatake nila ang Pangulong Duterte, na wala naman sa balota . At hindi nakatulong sa kanila na nasa peak ng popularity at trust rating ang Pangulong Duterte,” Arugay said.

“At the end, nakita sila (ng mga botante) na balakid sa administrasyon na napakataas ng trust rating,” he pointed out.

Arugay said Otso Diretso slate should have been distinct and united with what message that they want to convey to the voting public during the campaign to convince them.

“Para kasing lumabas, hindi napaigting yung kanilang constructive message. It was really more negative campaigning against the administration. That did not work,” he said.

Arugay said they should have shifted their message against Duterte to an issue-based criticism.

“For those who considered themselves as the opposition, not to also treat everything that the administration does is wrong. Binabalewala nila yung trust at popularity rating ng administrasyon e. Dapat issue-based, hindi personalan. Kasi talo sila roon sa personalan, e napakapopular ng Pangulo sa ngayon,” Arugay said.

Among the Otso Diretso bets, Senator Bam Aquino earned the highest votes at 14th spot in the Senate Race.

Out of the 13 admin bets in HNP, nine candidates have been proclaimed as senator: Cynthia Villar, Christopher Bong Go, Pia Cayetano, Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, Sonny Angara,  Imee Marcos,  Francis Tolentino, Aquilino Koko Pimentel and Ramon Bong Revilla. —Joviland Rita/LDF, GMA News