By FLORO L. MERCENE
A televised debate reaches many voters. Many are waiting to see the promised debate between administration senatorial bets in Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) and the opposition candidates in Otso Diretso (OD).
Sara Duterte, the admin matriarch, said they were ready for it anywhere, anytime but nothing happened since she uttered it in February.
She asked why OD is fixated in the debate and claims she couldn’t schedule the debate not being their secretary.
The OD team is bent on going on with the debate that candidates Samira Gutoc, Pilo Hilbay, Gary Alejano, and Romulo Macalintal went to Comelec and filed the request.
Gutoc said: “Hugpong bets should be the most excited and they should engage in debates because they are backed by the administration. If they truly believe this administration has ushered us to progress, they should have nothing to fear. I appeal that you debate with us and stop committing this great disservice to the Filipino electorate.”
Gutoc said, they lack the money for TV ads and big billboards like admins bets Bong Go and the other billionaires in HNP. She said the debate would “level the playing field” for them.
She is correct. Elections should be based on qualifications, competence, and platforms. Not cash to hire rap group Ex Battalion to air your jingle. Or how many tons of T-shirts you can give to your constituents.
A healthy debate on issues wouldn’t hurt admins bets, unless they have no right to be running at all.
Only OD bets and a handful of HNP candidates have joined national TV debates such as those of ABS-CBN, GMA7, Rappler, and CNN.
Missing are most HNP bets, who are either comfortable in their survey standings or they’re fearful to appear incompetent on national TV.
Maybe HNP bets don’t want to risk appearing as “lemons” as they parade themselves before voters touting to deserve their votes. How can voters gauge their competence if they’re not seen in debates?
Let’s hope HNP will honor their matriarch’s word so we can separate the “lemons” from the real fruits.