Quezon City spokesperson Pia Morato said on Saturday, April 2, that the debate challenge posed by Analakalusugan Party-list Representative and mayoral candidate Mike Defensor to Mayor Joy Belmonte is just meant to elevate his status and earn media mileage by sharing the same stage with a well-admired public servant.
Earlier on the same day, Defensor challenged Belmonte to a debate regarding two issues involving him, which are his role in congressional decision on ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation’s franchise renewal and the distribution of Ivermectin to Quezon City residents at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The lawmaker said that these issues were used by the lady mayor against him in a bid to prop up her own candidacy for re-election.
In a statement released on Saturday, Morato said that if the debate were to happen it will not be for the citizen’s benefit as it would only provide a venue to grandstand and spread more fake news.
“Mayor Belmonte is more than happy to outline her comprehensive plans to improve the city and the lives of its residents, minus any of these theatrics,” Morato said.
"Finally, the good Congressman may have forgotten that he has lost all credibility to issue any challenges. Previously, he proposed a childish "resignation challenge" about supposed irregularities that the Commission on Audit (COA) found out about Quezon City. Even though the COA itself repeatedly debunked these accusations, Congressman Defensor still enjoys all the perks and budgets of a sitting Partylist Representative, and has not resigned,” she added.