Supporters of the Otso Diretso senatorial bets hold placards of their faces during the candidates' event in Naga City last week.
The STAR/Edd Gumban
Otso Diretso sets debate vs Hugpong slate on EDSA revolution anniversary
( - February 21, 2019 - 4:26pm

MANILA, Philippines — Following the declaration of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte that Hugpong ng Pagbabago senatorial bets are open to public debates, opposition candidates have set a date for one next week.

Otso Diretso senatorial aspirant Chel Diokno suggested holding a debate at Plaza Miranda in Manila on February 25 at around 12 p.m.

This is also the day of the 33rd anniversary celebration of the EDSA People Power Revolution.

"Salamat sa HNP sa pagsang-ayon na dalhin sa mga mamamayan ang ating prinsipyo, paniniwala, at mga hangarin para sa kanila. Malaki ang maitutulong niyan sa pagdedesisyon ng ating mga botante (Thank you to HNP for agreeing to bring closer to the public our principles, beliefs and aspirations for them. It would be of great help to the decision-making of our voters)," Diokno said in a statement.

Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo party-list), meanwhile, personally challenged former Special Assistant to the President Bong Go to a debate on the West Philippine Sea issue.

"Kung ganun, sa Plaza Miranda tayo, Bong Go, 12nn, Monday, Feb. 25. Game na akong maka-debate para pag-usapan ang China issue (If so, let's go to Plaza Miranda, Bong Go, 12 noon, Monday, February 25. I am ready to discuss the China issue)," Alejano said on Twitter.



Alejano, a former Marine officer, has long been an advocate of the West Philippine Sea, where Beijing had been constructing artificial islands and installing military facilities.

Hugpong senatorial candidates have yet to respond to the invitation of Diokno and Alejano to a debate next Monday.

On Wednesday, Duterte said Hugpong candidates are willing to attend debates. This statement came after Otso Diretso bets challenged other candidates to an open debate.

Former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chair Francis Tolentino, Sen. Sonny Angara and former broadcast journalist Jiggy Manicad have already expressed their willingness to participate in debates.

Lawyer Larry Gadon also accepted the challenge as long as it would not be held at the University of the Philippines "where the crowd is communist."

READ: Why is red-tagging of activists dangerous?

— Patricia Lourdes Viray

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