De Lima slams Duterte’s cheap stunts vs Otso Diretso

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has criticized Mr. Duterte for pulling off his cheap stunts against the senatorial slate of opposition coalition “Otso Diretso” and using his deceptive tricks to endorse his favored candidates.

De Lima, the staunchest critic of the administration’s crooked policies, lamented that Duterte’s unrealistic promises during his campaign in the last 2016 elections are the same promises being made by his endorsed senatorial candidates.

“Duterte has the gall to tell Otso Diretso to go straight to hell. Well, the country is in hell right now, courtesy of Duterte’s unfulfilled promises made during his hot-air campaign for the presidency and his unstable behaviour,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 479.

“He is using the same tricks now with his candidates, hoping to fool Filipino voters twice in a row. [L]ike empty shells when broken, they have nothing to show on how to fulfill these promises. This is the simple reason why Duterte’s candidates will never engage the Otso Diretso in any debate,” she added.

De Lima was reacting from Duterte’s recent rants against Otso Diretso, describing them as “worthless” group of individuals heading straight to hell. He claimed his favored candidates, such as Christopher “Bong” Go and Francis Tolentino, are better than them.

Otso Diretso’s slate includes Rep. Gary Alejano, Sen. Bam Aquino, 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.

De Lima, a former election lawyer, maintained that the sure-fire way to prove or disprove Duterte’s empty boast is through a live and televised debate between the opposition and administration bets.

“The only problem is, Duterte’s favored bets are content with hiding under Duterte’s skirt, too afraid to engage in any kind of debate with their opponents,” she said.

Last Feb. 25, Otso Diretso challenged the senatorial bets and guest candidates from the Hugpong ng Pagbabago to a public debate at Plaza Miranda, in Quiapo Manila but none of the administration candidates ever showed up.

Unsurprised, De Lima shared that the campaign of the administration candidates is patterned after Duterte’s fake promises during his presidential campaign in 2016, which focused on presenting populist solutions to the pressing issues in the country.

“Duterte’s own campaign in the 2016 elections was waged on pure gimmickry and uninhibited demagoguery, with no solid program of government on which to anchor his outlandish promises,” she said.

“This kind of campaign which has won him the presidency is the culprit for the directionless and chaotic governance of the country three years into his administration,” she said,” she added.

The lady Senator from Bicol said she hopes that the Filipino public knows better than to vote for candidates who promise shortcuts to good government and present crazy formulas to solve problems like poverty and corruption. De Lima has called on the Commission on Elections to facilitate a senatorial debate between the administration and opposition senatorial candidates to allow the public to judge their character, competence, and policy positions on national issues.

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