Duterte’s favored candidates cannot match Roxas’ integrity – De Lima

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has maintained that Mr. Duterte’s favored candidates could not outshine the performance and track record of former Sen. Manuel Roxas and seven other members of the united opposition’s Senate slate “Otso Diretso.”

De Lima, a human rights and social justice champion, said she holds the view that Duterte is trying to pull down the senatorial candidates of “Otso Diretso” because he knows that his chosen candidates lack competence and credibility.

“Duterte’s rants against Secretary Mar only show that the President is still insecure of his former rival. He already won in the 2016 elections yet still chose to unleash his vicious tongue against the erstwhile presidentiable-turned-senatorial candidate this coming May polls,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 487.

“Why the need to lash out? It’s because the President and his chosen candidates could not match Mar’s integrity,” she added, noting that Mr. Duterte is endorsing two plunderers, a liar, an enforcer of the murderous War on Drugs, and a loser in the 2016 elections, among others.

In a recent campaign rally in Cauayan City, Isabela, Duterte falsely accused Roxas of being disloyal for serving in the Cabinets of different presidents, and even threatened to hurt him. “You are nothing to me. I can even shoot you for free,” Duterte was quoted as saying.

Roxas, who served under the past administrations of former president and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her successor former president Benigno Aquino III, explained that his “loyalty is to the people and to the Filipino nation.”

Since the campaign period kicked off last Feb. 9, Mr. Duterte has unfailingly lashed out at the opposition senatorial bets while trying to boost the public image of his administration’s 13-man Senate slate.

Aside from Roxas, the members of “Otso Diretso” are: Rep. Gary Alejano, Sen. Bam Aquino, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, civic leader Sam Gutoc, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, election lawyer Romy Macalintal, and ex-Rep. Erin Tanada.

“Mr. President, it seems that you lack confidence over the same surveys that gave you high trust ratings and catapulted your favorite candidate from obscurity to the magic 12 of the Senate race. This is why you still need to whip out that forked tongue of yours just to pull down the rivals of your allies,” De Lima said.

Instead of attacking the candidates from the opposition slate, the lady Senator from Bicol advised Duterte to focus on solving the pressing issues in the country which continue to burden the Filipino public, including the current water crisis. De Lima has urged the Commission on Elections to reconsider its refusal to facilitate a debate among senatorial candidates, saying that organized debates among candidates are important to help public gauge the competence and ability of their future leaders.

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