Human rights lawyer and aspiring senator Chel Diokno is open to a public debate with President Duterte and other fellow senatorial candidates in the May 2022 elections.
“Kailan ang debate (When is the debate)? I would love to have a debate with the President or with anyone else who is running for the Senate,” he said on ANC’s “Rundown” on Thursday, Nov. 18.
Duterte filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for senator before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on the last day of the substitution of candidates last Nov. 15.
This was after he initially planned to run as vice president to face his own daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, in next year’s polls
The Chief Executive earlier asked Comelec to release guidelines for the campaign period that would be attuned to the restrictions of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The poll body has yet to schedule any debate among senatorial candidates, leaving the private sector to arrange a face-off among senatoriables.
For Diokno, the public debate is the best way for Filipino voters to determine who are qualified for the seats in the Senate.
“After all, that’s what we’re going to be doing if ever we are elected. We will be debating bills and passing laws,” the veteran lawyer said.
In the same interview, Diokno clarified that he’s not affected by Duterte’s tirades against him, saying he does not take these personally.
The Chief Executive has repeatedly made fun of Diokno’s physical appearance due to his large teeth.
“Ako naman hindi ko pini-personal iyan (I don’t take it personally). That’s something I learned from my father, never to plant those types of feelings inside you because they are like poison,” said Diokno, who has embraced the moniker “Ngipin ng Batas (Teeth of the Law)”.