MANILA, Philippines (Update 1) - Lakas-Kampi CMD vice-presidential candidate Edu Manzano snubbed a nationally televised debate among vice-presidential candidates at La Consolacion College in Manila Sunday evening.
TV news anchor Ted Failon said Manzano was the only vice-presidential bet to refuse an invitation to participate in the debate, which was shown simultaneously on ABS-CBN Channel 2 and the ABS-CBN News Channel. Among those who participated in the debate were senators Loren Legarda and Manuel "Mar" Roxas, broadcaster Jay Sonza, former Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Bayani Fernando, former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Perfecto Yasay Jr. and Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay.
A tweet on the Halalan live chat later said Manzano was in Pangasinan campaigning with Lakas-Kampi senatorial bet Raul Lambino.
Manzano's absence was criticized by several people in an online forum hosted by abs-cbnNEWS.com. Previous reports said Manzano was disheartened by his political party's lack of financial support for his vice-presidential bid.
Noted Paz Atienza: "It's a shame that Edu is not present. To think his presidential candiate is always present in all debates."
Another reader, Kalupindo, asked Manzano: "Bakit ka um-absent sa Harapan? Sumusuko ka na ba? (Are you giving up?)"
Still another reader, etianboi, asked if Manzano "was afraid of a debate."
One reader, however, had a different take on Manzano's absence. In his message, reader anthonyrbls said Manzano's decision not to appear in the televised debate "is far better than [Loren Legarda's appearance/televised suicide."