MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte's tirades against the opposition senatorial slate are "a good sign", detained Sen. Leila de Lima said Sunday.
Duterte has repeatedly mocked Otso Diretso candidates, saying they are "headed for hell," as he vouched for administration-backed bets.
On Saturday, the President said opposition bannerman Mar Roxas should work as a traffic aide instead, referring to an old video of the former Interior Secretary managing road traffic.
"Duterte's taunting and mocking of the Otso Diretso candidates is a very good sign. That means the opposition slate's numbers are improving," De Lima said in a statement.
"Individually and collectively, Otso Diretso has gained remarkable traction and is viewed as formidable," she added.
Of the 8 opposition bets, only Mar Roxas and reelectionist Sen. Bam Aquino were among 15 candidates with a statistical chance of winning in the May 13 polls, according to an opinion poll released last month.
De Lima, in a separate statement, also slammed Duterte for his statement casting doubt on allegations that the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos and his family had amassed ill-gotten wealth.
Duterte last month justified his decision to allow Marcos to be buried at the Heroes' Cemetery in November 2016, saying the law permits it and that critics "have not proven anything" against the late dictator.
"Only someone raised on Marcos-sponsored fake news and historical revisionism in social media believes that the Marcoses are innocent. But Duterte is too old to be fooled by the Marcos social media propaganda machine," De Lima said.
"Duterte is a denier of the Marcos plunder not because he believes the Marcoses are innocent. He is a Marcos plunder-denier because he has chosen to become part of their propaganda machine by spewing the same fake news shared in social media. Duterte is now the No. 1 Marcos troll," she added.
The late dictator's daughter, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos is eyeing a Senate seat. She is backed by regional political party Hugpong ng Pagbabago, chaired by Duterte's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.