MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday criticized losing opposition senatorial candidates in his first overseas trip since the midterm elections, saying the Otso Diretso ticket was all talk and no action.
"Kung ’yan lang din mga politiko, mga Otso Diretso, remember those guys, kung sino ’yang mga naiwan diyan, walang ibang ginawa kundi magdaldal, walang contribution," he said in a speech in Tokyo.
(If we will be left with Otso Diretso as our politicians, remember those guys, they did nothing but talk. They have no contribution.)
Eight of the 12 winning senators in the May 13 elections were endorsed by President Duterte, while no one among the opposition candidates won a post.
Duterte is in the middle of a "working visit" in Japan to attend the 25th International Conference on the Future of Asia and to hold a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V earlier said that the overseas trip could also be a reward to Duterte's Cabinet members, as he was "so elated" with the victory of most administration candidates in the recent midterm elections.
Sixteen members of the Cabinet and some 200 delegates are in Japan to accompany Duterte.
Malacañang however denied Laurel's remarks, saying the envoy was "misinformed" on the nature of the trip.
"The good ambassador may have been either innocently speculating for lack of information or may have been misinformed of the nature of the trip of the Cabinet members. The latter's presence is necessary," Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.