Tañada urges admin bets to join debate
MANILA, Philippines — Former Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada on Monday urged administration-backed candidates to join the debate instead of allowing President Rodrigo Duterte to speak for them.
Tañada’s challenge came on the heels of Duterte’s comments against the Otso Diretso line-up. The President said that the opposition slate is heading to hell because of their constant criticisms against the administration.
“Gawin na natin ang Comelec-sponsored debate para hindi ang Presidente ang nagsasalita para sa mga kandidato. Mas magkakalinawan at hindi mauwi lang sa name calling,” the former lawmaker, who is eyeing a Senate seat in the 2019 elections, said in a message to reporters.
(Let’s do this as a Comelec-sponsored debate so the President will not be able to speak for the candidates. We are going to clear a lot of things and not resort to name-calling.)
“Mabibigyan pa ng panahon ang mga kandidatong ipaliwanag ang kanilang track record at platform (The candidates will also be given a chance to speak about their track record and platform),” he added.
Tañada and the other opposition candidates challenged their counterparts at Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) to a debate scheduled initially last February 25. HNP stalwarts, however, were a no-show because of a previously scheduled campaign sortie.
Last Thursday, Otso Diretso formally asked the Comelec to facilitate the debate, after HNP founding chair and Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, declined invitations for her to set the rules and venue of the event.
Tañada’s comment is the latest among Otso Diretso bets’ reaction to the President’s tirades against the candidates. The issue raised against Tañada was his alleged leftist stance and support for communist rebels.
“Erin Tañada? And proud sila diyan sa Left. They think that it’s popular. Tingnan mo ang kakapal ng mukha. Gagawa pa ng ticket Otso Diretso,” Duterte said.
(Erin Tañada? They are proud being allied with the left. They think that it’s popular. Look at those thick-faced candidates. They even formed the Otso Diretso ticket.)
Tañada, however, thanked the President, saying he believes the left has always been associated with pro-people initiatives.
He said it is not different from the leftist tag that his father and grandfather, former Senators Wigberto Tañada and Lorenzo Tañada, received during the martial law era.
“Thank you for the ‘left’ tag, Mr. President. I always equate ‘left’ with being pro-people. Both my lolo and father, Sen. Lorenzo Tañada and Sen. Wigberto Tañada, were also tagged as [leftists] during Marcos’ martial law,” he added.
The senatorial aspirant also reiterated the statements of fellow Otso Diretso bets and lawyers Chel Diokno and Florin Hilbay that the opposition’s role is to check on the current administration.
“The role of the opposition is to question, criticize and propose alternative solutions that provide better opportunities to our fellow Filipinos,” Tañada said. /ee
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