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Opposition slate Otso Diretso suffers a resounding loss
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Opposition slate Otso Diretso suffers a resounding loss

MANILA, Philippines, May 15 ------ They were among the most talked about candidates on social media and among the top choices of the youth in university mock polls but it looks like no one from the opposition Otso Diretso coalition would become a senator of the country. The senatorial aspirants, whose candidacies were backed by Vice President Leni Robredo, were nowhere in the winners’ circle dominated by allies of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Even Otso Diretso’s veteran bets re-electionist Sen. Bam Aquino and former Interior chief Mar Roxas—both having managed to penetrate the winners’ circle in pre-election surveys—failed to enter the so-called “Magic 12.” Aquino was the closest to the “Magic 12” but was kept out by actor turned lawmaker Bong Revilla, who spent recent years in detention facing plunder charges, and another re-electionist Nancy Binay. Revilla further climbed up from the 11th to the 10th spot around Tuesday noon based on the partial and unofficial tally.

Human rights lawyers Chel Diokno and Marawi civil leader Samira Gutoc are clear campus favorites along with Makabayan coalition bet Neri Colmenares, topping several university polls. The three—backed by their stances that run against the administration and voices that resonate with the young population—are also popular among tech-savvy millennials. They, however, struggled to convert their online popularity to actual support of the general electorate.

Diokno landed 21st with 6,172,145 votes, while Gutoc placed 25th with 4,143,669 votes as of 4:50 p.m. Even in pre-election surveys, Diokno and Gutoc were rejected by respondents of polling firms Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia. In the last Pulse Asia survey before the May 13 elections, both first-time candidates placed in the 21st to the 30th bracket.

The remaining Otso Diretso bets did not only struggle to make strides in the pre-election survey but also in the most important survey of the year—the midterm polls. Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano landed 23rd with 4,593,588 votes, veteran elections lawyer Romy Macalintal placed 26th with 3,888,196 votes, followed by former House Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada at 27th with 3,758,113 votes. Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay settled at the 29th spot with 2,674,969 votes. Diokno, Gutoc, Macalintal and Tañada accepted defeat in the Senate race Tuesday morning.

In an interview with last year, political analyst Dennis Coronacion said an administration party—PDP-Laban—awash with campaign resources and the massive popularity of President Rodrigo Duterte would mean tough times for the opposition. “What makes it more difficult for the opposition is that the president continues to enjoy huge public support as shown in his recent trust and approval ratings,” Coronacion had said.