Otso Diretso bets want debate with opponents on key issues
MANILA, Philippines — Otso Diretso opposition senatorial candidates on Wednesday challenged pro-administration and survey-leading senatorial bets to a debate on key national issues.
Speaking at a press conference, election lawyer Romy Macalintal said they are willing to face administration-backed senatorial candidates at a debate in Quezon City next Wednesday.
“Iyong pagharap sa taumbayan ang pinakamagandang qualification,” Macalintal said, recommending that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) disqualify candidates who refuse to participate in Comelec-sponsored debates.
“Any question na manggagaling sa media, maghihintay kami para malaman ang posisyon namin sa mga issues. Mabuti pa magharapan, kung sino ang nagsasabi ng totoo at kung sino ang nambobola,” he added.
Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc said she would like to meet her fellow women candidates, as well as those who are topping the recent election surveys, to know their stands on vital national issues.
“I’d like to see the women candidates and I’d like to see where they stand on issues… Kung top performer sa survey dapat top performer din sa debate,” Gutoc told reporters, adding that a number of women’s issues, like the reproductive health law and rape jokes, should be tackled.
“Please, let us allow ourselves to be subjected to the judgment of the people,” Gutoc said.
Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, who had faced-off with former Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos in a television debate, said they should continue their debate in time with the 33rd Edsa People Power anniversary on Saturday.
“We are challenging the other slate, the administration slate, to a debate anywhere, anytime kahit ano’ng format. Kahit 13 versus 8 ok lang sakin ‘yun o apat sa isa wala kaming problema dyan. Basta magkaharapan at magkaalaman,” Diokno said.
“Maganda siguro na ituloy namin ni Gov. Imee ‘yung debate,” he added.
Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano and former Solicitor General Pilo Hilbay also said they are willing to engage their opponents in a debate.
Alejano said debates offer a two-way avenue for the candidates to be heard and to be able to listen to the questions of the people on matters relevant to them.
Hilbay meanwhile pointed out that during campaign rallies, only candidates talk, and often feed the public with promises for sound bites.
“Itataga na lang ba sa bato ito o iguguhit na lang na sa tubig?” Hilbay said.
Former congressman Erin Tañada, Sen. Bam Aquino and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas were absent during the press briefing.
On Monday, Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) founder and Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said they would not engage in politicking against rivals and would instead focus on presenting its campaign platforms.
This came after the Otso Diretso coalition criticized some candidates from the administration’s slate and those being backed by the HNP who have been accused of corruption, as well as those who have installed huge billboards and some who made movies about their lives. /muf
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