Duterte attacks Otso Diretso bets, says opposition slate heading to hell

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 4) — President Rodrigo Duterte lambasted the opposition's senatorial bets while convincing the public to vote for his personal candidates.

The President criticized the Otso Diretso slate and almost all of its eight senatorial candidates — save for one bet because she's a woman.

He said the opposition party, backed by Vice President Leni Robredo, is going straight to hell for their endless criticisms.

"Sinong ipalit mo diyan sa 'yang 'Otso Diretso' papuntang impyerno? Walang ginawa 'yang mga tao na 'yan puro criticize," he said in a campaign rally in Zamboanga City on March 3.

This was the first time Duterte spoke against the opposition slate composed of former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Senator Bam Aquino, former Solicitor General Florin "Pilo" Hilbay, De La Salle University founding dean Chel Diokno, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, election lawyer Romy Macalintal, former House Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada III, and former Bangsamoro Transition Commission member Samira Gutoc.

Robredo admitted she felt happy after hearing Duterte's tirades against the opposition slate as she equates this to gaining more public awareness.

"Feeling ko the mere fact na Presidente na mismo ang pumansin, inisa-isa iyong mga kandidato, pagpapatunay na nagpi-pick up iyong mga kandidato. Magandang senyales," she said in a chance interview in Bulacan on Monday.

The Vice President added that the record of their candidates speak for themselves, saying it was the basis of how they were handpicked to be part of Otso Diretso.

Duterte listed down the public service experience of Roxas, his presidential opponent in the 2016 elections, but questioned what he was able to do in his years of service. He also accused Roxas of political turncoatism.

"Mar Roxas. Susmaryosep. Hambugero man ito... Ano mang nagawa ni Mar? Kayo tanungin ko kayo. Kayong nag-Liberal,magtanong lang ako sa'yo, anong nagawa niya? Nadaanan man niya lahat 'yan. Tapos porma. Ano ang nagawa niya? Bigyan mo ako isa. Maski isa lang," he said.

As for Aquino, he said he only resembles his uncle, former President Benigno Aquino III, but said the principal sponsor of the free tuition law has done nothing for the public.

"Alam mo maski ano ka Bam malayo ka sa... Kamukha ka lang. Pero 'yung... Ano bang… Ano bang signifikante na nagawa mo? What have you done that is really impressive? Puro kayo oposisyon, puro kayo saway," Duterte said.

He criticized the role of Alejano, one of his staunch critics, during the Oakwood mutiny against then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Duterte claimed Tañada, a "fundamentally honest" man, was a member of the leftist groups.

"Tañada leftist 'yan eh. Alam ninyo sinong tagabigay ng sakit ng ulo 'di ba sila? Ayaw nilang admitin na NPA (New People's Army) sila pero sila ang nagsusuporta. Lahat ang NPA sila ang abugado," he said.

Instead of taking offense, Tañada thanked Duterte for left-tagging him, saying his grandfather the late Senator Lorenzo Tañada and father former Senator Wigberto Tañada were also classified as leftists during Ferdinand Marcos' martial law.

"I always equate left with being pro-people," he said.

The President said Diokno is a downgrade of his father, human rights champion Jose "Ka Pepe" W. Diokno.

"Taga-La Salle man 'to. Kalayo niya sa tatay niya. 'Yung si W. Diokno. 'Yun ang kuyaw. Pero ito, wala ito. Tignan mo magsalita. Walang ka ano," he said.

Diokno, a human rights lawyer, said it is the opposition's job to criticize the government.

"Tungkulin ng oposisyon na kuwestiyunin, punahin, at magbigay ng alternatibo sa pagpapatakbo sa pamahalaan. Huwag naman sanang balat-sibuyas ang ating pangulo - ito ang diwa ng demokrasya. Ibalik ko rin sa Pangulo ang tanong, ano naman ang nagawa ng kanyang mga pambato?  Puro pagta-tarpaulin," he said.

Duterte also claimed Macalintal was only able to become a lawyer because he has the money.

The President compared his bet Francis Tolentino to Hilbay. He said Hilbay, a member of the legal team when the Philippines won the case against China with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016, has no chance of winning against the former mayor of Tagaytay City.

"'Yung pagong ilaban mo kay Mayor? Sino diyan sa lahat makatalo ni Tolentino in terms of qualification?  Magsabi ka ng kandidato. Macalintal, Hilbay, si Tañada," he said.

Hilbay defended himself and criticized the President's supposed inaction over China's encroachment in the West Philippine Sea.

"By the way, ako po iyong isa sa mga abugadong nagpanalo ng kaso laban sa China para sa karapatan natin sa West Philippine Sea. Nakilala niyo na po ako in person... Nagpapakilala po ulit ako kasi parang nakalimot na naman kayo. Kasi mismong iyong ruling na naipanalo natin ang West Philippine Sea laban sa China, nakalimutan niyo na rin," he said in a statement.

Duterte, who has been criticized for his rape jokes and comments against female rebels, spared Gutoc from his tirades against the opposition.

"Si Samira, babae man 'yan, ayaw ko magsalita diyan. Eh ganun 'yan ang rule eh pagka babae kalaban mo, you just shut up," he said.

Gutoc thanked Duterte, but called for him to accord the same amount of respect to all women.

"I know that you will be a better president and a great father to this nation if you will just learn to temper your words to the occasion and revisit your anti-poor policies," she said in a statement on Monday.

Otso Diretso campaign manager Senator Kiko Pangilinan said the qualifications and records of their candidates speak for themselves, adding the president should focus on addressing pressing matters.

"Instead of insulting our candidates it would be best for the President to tell the voters what his candidates will do to create more jobs, increase wages, address the impact of TRAIN and high prices of goods and how they will defend our sovereignty and our economy and our jobs from Chinese intrusions," he said in a text message to CNN Philippines.

Duterte is endorsing Tolentino, former Senate President Koko Pimentel, his ex-aide Bong Go, former police chief Ronald dela Rosa, Maguindanao Rep. Dong Mangudadatu, reelectionists Cynthia Villar, Sonny Angara, and JV Villar, Taguig Rep. Pia Cayetano, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, singer Freddie Aguilar, and former Interior Secretary Raffy Alunan.