The spokesman of Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday, Jan. 18, dared her rivals to attend the presidential debates to be organized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to give voters a chance to get to know the candidates better.
Robredo’s spokesman Barry Gutierrez, a lawyer, retweeted a news report wherein Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said that presidential candidates are not required to attend the debate that the poll body will organize.
“Hindi ba dapat magharap-harap ang mga kandidato para malinaw kung sino talaga ang may totoong ibubuga at sino ang umaasa lang sa (Shouldn’t all candidates face each other to see who’s better and who depends on) fake news at (and) memes?,” he said in a post.
“I really hope we take a more proactive stance in giving Filipinos the opportunity to really see who our candidates are,” Gutierrez wrote on Twitter using the hashtag #LabanLeni (Fight Leni).
This came after Jimenez said that under the law, debates are not mandatory and the poll body cannot force candidates to join the debates.
From past experience, candidates participate in the debates because of the free airtime, he stressed.
Robredo’s numbers in preferential surveys have been steadily increasing, but she is still a far-second placer to former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. who many believe will be a runaway winner in the May polls.
The namesake of the former dictator, the former senator does not regularly grant scheduled nor ambush interviews.
Critics allege that his high ratings in the surveys, however, is partly due to a rebranding of the family name by using memes.