By Genalyn Kabiling
Opposition senatorial candidates are apparently trying to seek publicity in pressing their administration rivals to a debate ahead of the May elections, Malacañang said Sunday.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo, however, said the Palace would leave it to the discretion of administration senatorial bets whether or not to engage in a debate with their opponents.
“The Palace need not advise them. They are running for the Senate then it’s their call,” Panelo said in a radio interview.
“I can understand na ‘yung mga nandun kabila they want a debate kasi publicity para sa kanila. Ito naman siguro mga nandito sa kalaban nila, ayaw nila kasi pagbigyan na mabigyan ng publicity [I can understand the other camp, they want a debate because it will generate publicity for them. Their opponents probably refuse because they don’t want to give them such publicity],” he said.
“Ganyan talaga ang labanan sa Pilipinas. Matira matibay [That’s the elections in the Philippines. It is survival of the fittest],'” he added.
Senatorial candidates under the Otso Diretso ticket recently asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to organize a public debate between them and the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) candidates.
In seeking a public debate, the opposition bets said voters have the right to know the platform and position of candidates on various issues.
Earlier, Otso Diretso candidates challenged the administration bets to a debate at Plaza Miranda last Monday. The candidates endorsed by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio’s, however, skipped the event. The mayor slammed the informal debate, saying there should be rules-based debate for senatorial candidates.
Panelo said the senatorial candidates would know what to do when the debate challenge was issued by their opponents.
Asked if administration’s Senate bets were a match to the Otso Diretso opposition bets in the debate, Panelo: “Siguro sila ang tanungin mo niyan hindi ako [Maybe you should ask them, not me].”