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Duterte admits Santiago his greatest rival in 1st presidential debate

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 05:06 PM February 21, 2016
BREAK Candidates in light, subdued, interacting mood before debate. PHOTO BY JOHN NERY/INQUIRER.net

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte embrace warmly as other candidates go thru last-minute preparation.  PHOTO BY JOHN NERY/INQUIRER.net

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The tough-talking Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte considers Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago as his greatest rival in the first presidential debate here.

“Miriam is bright. All the rest tabla na kami (we are in tie),” Duterte told INQUIRER.net less than an hour before the debate.

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Responding to Duterte’s statements, Santiago said she and feisty mayor “have been friends for a long time.”

“It’s a comment of a true friend. We have been friends for a long time,” Santiago said.

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She said Duterte was one of the sponsors during the 25th wedding anniversary of her and husband Narciso Santiago Jr.

Duterte said he was “excited” for the first presidential debate here for the upcoming 2016 national elections in May.

“I am excited,” the tough-talking mayor said, who arrived here on Sunday morning via a commercial plane.

However, given the limited time, Duterte acknowledged that he won’t be able to present his platforms in full.

“You cannot present your platform of government with 60 seconds,” he said.

Earlier during the day, candidates were given the chance to have a podium check inside the auditorium, however, Duterte preferred not to attend it.

Peter Laviña, Duterte’s spokesman, said their camp trust the organizers.

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“We trust the organizers that the setting is ok and fair to all,” Lavina said. With reports from Frances Mangosing/RAM

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TAGS: CDO debate, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Elections 2016, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago
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