By Ben Rosario
Inspired by the huge public following of television debates sponsored by the country’s leading networks, senatorial candidates want more exposures but this time, by discoursing on a one-on-one faceoff to score votes.
Lawyer Larry Gadon, Kilusang Bagong Lipunan’s bet for senator said he is accepting the debate challenge hurled by bets backed by the Liberal Party.
However, Gadon wants the debate to take place on a neutral ground, not at the University of the Philippines “where there are communists.”
Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano directed his debate challenge to former special assistant to the president Christopher “Bong” Go.
Alejano said he is accepting Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s dare for senatorial bets to debate with senatorial hopefuls backed by Hugpong ng Pagbabago.
“Kung ganun, sa Plaza Miranda tayo, Bong Go, 12nn, Monday, Feb 25. Game na akong maka-debate para pag-usapan ang China issue,” Alejano posted on Twitter. (In that case we can meet in Plaza Miranda, Bong Go, 12 noon, Monday, Feb. 25. I’m willing to debate for us to discuss the China issue.)
Go, who enjoys solid backing from President Duterte, has started to peak in popularity, having breached the magic 12 as indicated in various national surveys for senator.
Unlike Go, Gadon and Alejano have yet to show improvement in their respective bids to become senators.
Daring their rivals to public discourse was also aired by election lawyer Romulo Macalintal and human rights activist Jose Manuel Diokno, both members of the Otso Diretso slate.
Diokno’s camp has claimed that their candidate won solid points and in the process, huge voters’ support during the recently-held Harapan 2019 staged by ABS-CBN.
However, Gadon claimed otherwise, saying that he earned high ranks in popularity, having impressed at least 29 percent of the audience.
“That’s according to Yahoo Philippines, not the SWS or Pulse Asia,” said Gadon, who slammed the poll surveys conducted by SWS and Pulse Asia as bogus and aimed at mind-conditioning.
ABS-CBN, media partner of Manila Bulletin, has set the second of a three-part town hall public debate on Sunday.
Among senatorial bets expected to attend are former Secretary Rafael Alunan; former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, former PNP chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa; re-electionist Sen. JV Ejercito, Maguindanao Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu, former Sen. Serge Osmena and Mar Roxas; former Rep. Erin Tanada, Alejano and Macalintal.