Robredo challenges archrival Marcos to debate

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Robredo challenges archrival Marcos to debate
Presidential candidates Bongbong Marcos and Vice President Leni Robredo on the campaign trail in April 2022.
Marcos, Robredo campaigns

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 4:02 p.m.) — Vice President Leni Robredo is challenging her archrival, former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., to a debate, saying that people must be given a chance to scrutinize him.

“Inaanyayahan ko si Ginoong Bongbong Marcos na makipagdebate, para mabigyan ang taumbayan ng pagkakataong makaharap siya at matanong tungkol sa mga kontrobersiyang pumapalibot sa kanya,” Robredo said Friday in a statement.

(I am inviting Mr. Bongbong Marcos to a debate so the people would be given the opportunity to face him and ask him about the controversies surrounding him.)

The independent presidential candidate continued, “We owe it to the people and to our country. Kung papayag po kayo, anytime, anywhere, darating ako.”

(We owe it to the people and to our country. If you will agree, anytime, anywhere, I’ll be there.)

Marcos’ spokesperson, however, quickly rejected Robredo’s dare for a debate, suggesting that these events are only spaces for “arguments and fighting.”

He also said that the former senator is focused on mounting a “positive” campaign, but in the same breath claimed that Robredo’s campaign — whom he denigrated as “dilawan,” referring to the Liberal Party’s color — is focused on “the negative, deception and mudslinging.”

“Sa debate na hamon kay presidential frontrunner Bongbong Marcos ay hindi ito kailanman mangyayari sa ilang kadahilanan. At batid ni Ginang Robredo ang mga kadahilanang ‘yan,” lawyer Vic Rodriguez said.

Robredo remarked that among all the presidential candidates, only Marcos has not yet faced the people in a debate, depriving the public the chance to learn about and compare their character and their vision for the country.

“Kaming ibang kandidato prinisenta namin iyong sarili namin, sa kanya hindi nagkaroon ng ganoon na pagkakataon na ‘yung mga issues na kinakaharap niya ay hindi magkaroon ng opportunity iyong taumbayan para marinig kung ano talaga iyong totoo,” Robredo told reporters in Laguna.

(Us candidates have presented ourselves, while he has not given the people that opportunity to learn about the truth behind the issues he is facing.)

The only presidential debates that Marcos attended were those organized by SMNI, a TV network owned by fugitive pastor Apollo Quiboloy who has endorsed him and his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Marcos has skipped the first two presidential debates organized by the Comelec, the debate hosted by CNN Philippines and the forum set up by the Kapisanan ng Brodkaster ng mga Pilipinas.

The presidential frontrunner is also skipping the presidential forum jointly organized by the Comelec and the KBP, where only four presidential candidates and four vice-presidential candidates have confirmed attendance.

Robredo, likewise, is skipping the Comelec-KBP forum, saying that she wants to spend time with volunteers supporting her candidacy in the remaining days of the campaign.

“Naihayag ko na sa maraming pagkakataon ang track record, mga plano, at mga prinsipyo ko. Maraming beses na akong nagbigay ng panayam sa mga panel interview at naka-post online ang lahat ng recording na ito,” she said.

(I’ve shown my track record, plans and principles multiple times. I have given many interviews on panels and all the recordings of these are all posted online.)




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