With the end of the 2019 midterm elections, Presidential Spokesman and Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo extended his congratulatory hand to the senatorial slate of the opposition, ‘Otso Diretso.’
“To the Otso Diretso candidates and their supporters, we thank you for giving your best shot and fighting a good battle,” Panelo said in a statement.
Panelo said that they respect dissent since it ‘vitalizes’ the democracy in the Philippines. However, he stressed that the will of the people must prevail and be respected.
The un-official count of election returns shows that none of the eight members of Otso Diretso made it to the Top 12 of the senatorial race. As of writing, Re-electionist Sen. Paolo ‘Bam’ Aquino IV placed the highest among the opposition bets in the 14th spot.
“While we expect dissent to continue, we hope that the same be demonstrated with fairness and within the bounds of the law, as well as with deference to the leaders duly chosen by us, electorate,” Panelo added.
The Malacanang official urged the public to support the government ‘for the betterment of the Philippines’.
Meanwhile, Panelo believes that the ‘magic’ of President Rodrigo Duterte allowed eight of his endorsed senatorial candidates to their spot in the ‘Magic 12’. Sen. Cynthia Villar, former Special Assistant to the President Christopher ‘Bong’ Go, Taguig Rep. Pia Cayetano, former Philippine National Police Chief PGen. Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa, Sen. Sonny Angara, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imelda ‘Imee’ Marcos, former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino, and Sen. Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III are in the Top 12.
Panelo said that the overwhelming majority of the electorate responded to the call of President Duterte to support candidates who will help pass laws supportive of his goal to uplift the masses of our people and to provide comfortable lives to the public.
“While the results of the elections are unofficial, there appears to be an unstoppable trend towards a resounding victory of the administration’s favored candidates; undoubtedly, the Duterte magic spelled the difference,” Panelo said.
He said that voters rejected the negative propaganda, particularly on issues regarding extrajudicial killings, the war on drugs, and the South China Sea, raised by the opposition, critics, and detractors of the President.
Panelo stressed that the victory of the administration’s candidates and the shutout of the Otso Diretso candidates send a strong message that the people yearn for stability and continuity of the genuine reforms that this administration started.
“They yearn for a constructive and not obstructionist Senate which will help in crafting the President’s legislative agenda,” Panelo said.
“We therefore laud the Filipino electorate for expressing their will in the strongest and unequivocal manner, they have sent a message and we hope that the opposition and the rest of the country will receive that strong and resonant voice with acceptance,” Panelo added.
The Palace spokesperson added that the successful holding of the 2019 elections showed to the world that the Philippines has a ‘a great order for democracy that can rise above the loud political noise’.