Bello wants Comelec to ‘penalize’ Bongbong Marcos, Sara Duterte for skipping debates
MANILA, Philippines —Vice presidential candidate Walden Bello called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to impose heavy penalties on vice presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Duterte-Carpio and her running mate, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos for skipping the debates organized by the poll body.
Bello was visibly fuming at the absence of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in the vice presidential debate organized by the Comelec on Sunday, saying it is becoming a “big joke” since the candidates are “slashing one another for her benefit.”
“The Comelec should do something about this. Maaari ba, can you penalize these two people, Marcos and Sara Duterte for not showing themselves up to Filipino people with their programs?” Bello said in the debate.
He also slammed the Comelec’s current penalty of not allowing candidates who are absent in the debates from joining the poll body’s e-rally platform. Bello said the penalty is weak.
Bello then called Marcos and Duterte “cowards” for not showing up in the debates.
“We need stronger penalties for these people, kasi this is so undemocratic that they are not here. I am tempted to walk out right now. Because, precisely, we’re making fools of ourselves without this person who’s just clapping up there,” he said.
“You can penalize these two jokers, Marcos and Duterte, for not showing up, they are spitting in the face of the Filipino people. I’m really so pissed off that these two jokers are not here. Duwag sila,” he said.
(They are cowards.)
Duterte-Carpio’s podium in the Comelec-organized debate on Sunday was empty as the Davao City mayor did not attend. Only one other candidate — Lito Atienza — did not attend the debate due to medical reasons. All other seven candidates were present.
The podium for Davao City mayor Sara Duterte Carpio is empty as the candidate did not attend the debate. She had said she will not participate in the debates. @inquirerdotnet pic.twitter.com/WyCOWlFiE0ADVERTISEMENT
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Meanwhile, other vice presidential candidates who attended the Comelec’s debate on Sunday also protested the absence of Sara Duterte-Carpio and Marcos Jr. in the first round of the debates.
Vice presidential candidate Rizalito David said he is saddened that Duterte-Carpio did not attend the debate, especially as she is the frontrunner in pre-election surveys.
“Nalulungkot ako dahil ‘yung nangunguna sa survey, hindi natin marinig kung ano yung kanyang opinion hinggil sa bagay na ito. Sana nandito si Inday Sara para masabi niya naman yung ano yung nais niyang sabihin hinggil sa mga bagay na ito,” he said.
(I am saddened that the frontrunner in the surveys is not here and we cannot here her thoughts on these issues. I hope Inday Sara is here so that we can hear what she has to say in these issues.)
“Kami kami nagtatagisan ng talino rito, pero paghahatian namin yung 50% na lang daw ng boto at tuwang tuwa siya na nakaupo lang siya doon. Inday Sara, dumalo ka naman gusto ka namin makamayan man lang,” David added.
(We are offering our wits here, but we would only split the 50% of the votes, based on the surveys, and she’s so happy up there. Inday Sara, we hope you attend. We want to even just shake hands with you.)
Senator Francis Pangilinan who is the running mate of Vice President Leni Robredo said candidates who are wooing voters should attend events such as debates.
“Kaming mga kandidato lumiligaw kami, nililigawan namin ang botante. Kapag lumiligaw, dapat humaharap. Kayong mga botante, kapag hindi humaharap, nirerespeto ba kayo?” he said.
(As candidates, we are courting voters. And if candidates are wooing, they should face the voters. If candidates will not face the voters, are they not respecting them?)
Duterte-Carpio earlier said she will be proceeding with her vice presidential campaign without attending election debates.
“Iniiwan ko na po ‘yan sa lahat ng ating kababayan ang pagdedesisyon sa pagpili nila sa vice president na ganito po ang aking direksyon sa kampanya,” she said.
(I am leaving to the people their decision on choosing the vice president while I maintain this direction in my campaign.)
She added that she has “personal reasons” for not attending the debates.
Inquirer.net has reached out to Duterte-Carpio and the camp of Marcos Jr. for their reactions.
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