Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has considered Mr. Duterte's unrelenting verbal attacks against the senatorial candidates of the united opposition "Otso Diretso" as a "very good sign" that they are gaining ground among the Filipino electorate.
De Lima, a human rights and social justice champion, said she believes that the eight united opposition senatorial bets have high chances to make it in the winning circle in the upcoming May 13, 2019 national and local elections.
"Duterte's taunting and mocking of the Otso Diretso candidates is a very good sign. That means the opposition slate's numbers are improving," she said in her handwritten brief statement.
In a bid to boost the senatorial bids of his favored candidates, Mr. Duterte has repeatedly lashed out at the opposition senatorial bets - individually and collectively - while pitching for the supposed qualifications of his administration's Senate slate.
Otso Diretso include Sen. Bam Aquino, Rep. Gary Alejano, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, civic leader Sam Gutoc, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, election lawyer Romy Macalintal, former senator Mar Roxas and ex-Rep. Erin Tanada.
Aside from claiming that the Otso Diretso will head straight to hell, Mr. Duterte has erroneously accused them of doing nothing but criticizing his administration - a remark which was refuted by the opposition slate.
In defense of Otso Diretso, Diokno explained that "it is the opposition's job to question, criticize and give alternative ways to run government" and that "it would be better for the president to not be onion-skinned [as] this is the spirit of democracy."
Despite criticisms by Duterte, Vice President Leni Robredo also stood by the laudable track records of the eight candidates, saying, "These are track records that stand in fact, that's the reason why they have 8 choices."
The lady Senator from Bicol said Mr. Duterte is deliberately and incessantly taunting the Otso Diretso candidates because he and his favoured candidates obviously feel threatened by the opposition slate and their worthiness based on their respective qualifications.
"Individually and collectively, Otso Diretso has gained remarkable traction and is viewed as formidable," she said.
De Lima has thrown her unequivocal support to Otso Diretso's senatorial line-up as she vouched for their unsullied integrity, proven competence and sterling track record.
Source: Senate of the Philippines