Lacson on called off Duterte-Carpio debate: Too much 'damage control' can hurt

Published May 8, 2021, 7:24 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Malacañang should just keep mum about the debate that has been canceled between President Duterte and former Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said on Saturday, May 8.

Senator Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson (Senate of the Philippines)

The senator gave the unsolicited advice as he warned that the “obvious” attempt of officials at “damage control” could result in more damage and worsen the political divide in the country.

“‘Pag nagda-damage control at sobra ang damage control at nagiging sobrang obvious na ang damage control, lalong nagkakadamage ‘yan (If you are doing damage control and it becomes too much and too obvious, it causes more damage),” Lacson said in an interview over DWIZ radio.

“Tapos na ‘yong usapin. Kung ako magbibigay unsolicited advice kay Secretary Roque, or doon sa taga-Malacañang, siguro mas maganda manahimik na lang, ‘wag na ‘yong marami pang pinapalabas na kung anu-ano (The debate will not push through. If I were to give a piece of unsolicited advice to Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque or those in Malacañang: It is better to just stay quiet, and not add more issues),” he added.

President Duterte has backed out on his challenge to debate with Carpio over the territorial issues in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) on the advice of his Cabinet.

Roque explained that the President could not debate with an “ordinary” citizen, and that his statements during the debate could affect government policies.

He said he was assigned to face Carpio instead

“There is no need to raise further issues, lest people see it as an obvious attempt at damage control. But if there is overkill in the attempt at damage control, the more it becomes damaging on their part,” Lacson said in a separate statement later.

Lacson, chairman of the Senate defense committee, earlier called on government officials to have a united stand on the West Philippine Sea issue.