Students score Marcos, Duterte for refusing to debate
MANILA, Philippines — A group of collegiate debaters on Saturday slammed leading presidential and vice presidential candidates former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte for refusing to debate their opponents in the coming election.
“This constant refusal is a deprivation of the Filipino people’s right to gain knowledge on the presidential aspirant’s vision for the country,” the Philippine Debate Union said in a statement signed by its officers. It is composed of debate societies from different universities in the country.
The collegiate group said debates were necessary, pointing out that it was one of the avenues for the Philippine electorate in choosing their next set of leaders.
“We believe that presidential and vice presidential debates are essential in upholding the citizens’ democratic right to make informed voting decisions in the upcoming national elections, as these decisions have direct effects on the future of the Filipino people,” it stressed.
The debate union said Marcos’ and Duterte’s “deliberate choice” not to appear in debates and media interviews with those they deem to be critics was “severely disconcerting.”
They pointed out that the tandem’s non-appearance in debates “denies individuals the opportunity to know their candidates, as well as the future that said candidates intend to create for them.”
“Our country does not deserve leaders who claim to be brave, but are, in truth, frightened of debates, frightened of the voices of the Filipino people,” it said. “Leaders who withdraw under pressure and dodge dialogue with their constituents are not leaders of the Filipino; they are cowards.”
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