Roxas asks Duterte: Let’s level up political discourse
Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Mar Roxas is urging Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to raise the standard of the political debate after his presidential rival blinked on his challenge to engage him in a fistfight in his Cubao home or in Duterte’s turf in Davao.
In an interview with reporters during a campaign sortie in Lapu-Lapu City, Roxas said: “Mayor Digong, let’s level up. Our people deserve better. This word war, the mudslinging and lies have no place in our political discourse. What is your plan? What is our plan? What have you done? What have we done? Those are the only things that matter so that our countrymen can choose what is right.”
Roxas sounded exasperated at the latest challenge of Duterte for a gun duel between the two of them after days of tough talk on slapping and punching each other with the Davao mayor trying to change the issue or moving to another challenge every time.
National leaders should serve as a model to the youth, respect women, treasure the life of every person, promote good manners and follow the law to the letter, he said.
“Guns are not the solution to our problems. Let us leave the discussion on shooting, slapping and violence because it is clear that I will not back down from Mayor Duterte from any challenge. It is clear I am not afraid of him and I will face him anywhere, including a debate,” Roxas said.
The former interior secretary was quick to point out that next year’s election was not about him or Duterte but where the people wanted the next administration to lead them.
Roxas said that he considered Duterte a friend until Duterte started spreading lies about him, such as being responsible for spreading a report that Duterte’s wife has cancer and that his Wharton degree was bogus. Roxas believed in the maxim that “all friendships begin with trust.”
He disputed Duterte’s claims that he started the word war by declaring as a myth Davao City’s claim as the safest city in the Philippines. He said that Philippine National Police data showed that the city had the fourth highest crime rate in the Philippines based on an audit of police blotter reports in the city manned by his handpicked police chief.
Roxas said that Duterte could not dismiss the data just because it did not fall in place with his perception. “If Neda (National Economic and Development Authority) gave him statistics that he does not like, will he gun down Neda? If he thinks there is no crime in Davao City even if there is, we cannot solve the problem. It’s the same as being in denial of the poverty around us,” Roxas said.
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