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Former senator Mar Roxas is avoiding attacks against President Rodrigo Duterte despite being part of the opposition slate to improve his chances of winning the senatorial race.

Roxas’ campaign manager, Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, said the former senator’s jabs are limited to policy issues since Duterte remains popular.

“[S]urveys show that all those who hit him are down. The harder you hit him, the lower you go,” Erice said.

The lawmaker cited the case of Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, Roxas’ colleague in the Otso Diretso slate, as an example of a candidate whose candidacy has been affected by his attacks against the President.

He’s relatively famous but he has one of the lowest numbers,” Erice said.

Pre-election surveys consistently showed only Roxas and re-electionist senator Bam Aquino were either within or near the “Magic 12,” the list of candidates who have a statistical chance of winning the senatorial race.

Alejano and the rest of the Otso Diretso slate, namely: former law dean Chel Diokno, peace advocate Samira Gutoc, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, former Quezon Rep. Erin Tañada, and former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, are having a hard time raising their popularity among voters.

Related story: Egay Erice blames ‘yellow’ for Roxas’ loss in 2016

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