MANILA, Philippines—Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara on Friday challenged his fellow senatorial candidates to a debate on relevant national issues in an effort to help voters make informed decisions on election day.
Angara made the remark weeks after United Nationalist Alliance senatorial bet and Vice President Jejomar Binay’s daughter Nancy Binay turned down Risa Hontiveros’ invitation to battle it out with her on stage, saying she needs the remaining time in the campaign period to reach out to voters.
“Kung kampanya pa lang ayaw mo na magsalita, paano pa kung nakaupo ka na? Ano yun, sa committee on silence ka (If you refuse to speak out on the campaign trail, what would happen when you win a Senate seat? Would you join the committee on silence?)” Angara said in a statement.
“Aside from ads and sorties, debate is an effective channel for voters to know and understand the advocacies of candidates and their stand on the most pressing issues of the country. So I call on some candidates who still avoid participating in debates to join in,” he added.
Angara, a Harvard University alumnus, said debate is considered a de facto election process in the United States, especially during presidential elections.
“It has become customary for the Democratic and Republican candidates in the United States to face off late in the election cycle. It aims to guide the undecided voters, those who tend not to be partial to any party, on whom to choose. In fact, some elections have been decided by these debates,” Angara said.
Consistently making the top 12 in the surveys, the younger Binay said there will be plenty of time to debate when she’s already in the Senate. Administration candidate Hontiveros, on the other hand, has yet to break into the winning circle.
“Debates are really necessary. I try my best to attend every debate or forum that I am invited to. I hope my cocandidates realize the significance of the process,” Angara said.