Duterte to skip presidential debates unless disqualification case is dropped
DAVAO CITY – “Am I a candidate?”
This was the question raised by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night to the Commission on Elections when asked if he would take part in the first presidential debate sponsored by the Comelec and media organizations.
Duterte, in a press conference late Monday night, said he was puzzled why the Comelec included him in the list of those invited to the Feb. 21 presidential debate in Cagayan de Oro, when it still has not resolved the disqualification cases filed against him.
“Please ask them (Comelec) why they included me in the debate. How sure are they that I am a candidate?” he told reporters.
Duterte earlier said he would not show up at the presidential debate in Cagayan de Oro City on Feb. 21 because he has been busy traveling around looking for campaign funds.
“I have no time for that, may be in the future there would be other presidential forums,” he said in an earlier interview.
But on Monday night, the mayor said he would go to the Cagayan de Oro City debate but only if the Comelec declared him a legitimate presidential candidate.
“If I go there and they later disqualify me, that would make look like a fool,” he said.
“You (Comelec) resolve the cases first. Why invite me when you are not sure if I am a candidate,” he added.
The first debate in Cagayan de Oro City will be hosted by the Inquirer and television network GMA-7. Other media companies will be sponsoring succeeding debates with the Comelec. SFM
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