Hugpong bets willing to engage opponents in debates, says Sara

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 21 2019 03:02 AM | Updated as of Feb 21 2019 05:03 AM

MANILA - Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on Wednesday said the senatorial bets under her regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) are willing to debate issues, after opposition bets called them out for failing to appear in debates.

Duterte-Carpio said Hugpong bets are actually “active” in attending debates and “willing” to engage in future ones.

“Wiling naman ang mga senators. In fact, they are active sa mga debates ng mga media outlets. Sumasali sila,” she told reporters at the sidelines of the HNP sortie in Cabanatuan City.

(The senatorial candidates are willing to debate. In fact they are active in the debates hosted by media outlets. They join.)

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, one of the bets from opposition slate Otso Diretso, dared administration candidates to face them in debates.

“Ang problema magkakaroon ng forum, debates pero 'yung mga bumabatikos sa'min hindi naman humaharap sa debate,” Macalintal told reporters in a forum.

(The problem is there will be a forum, debates, but the ones criticizing us cannot face us in the debates.)

“We are challenging the administration slate to a debate any time, anywhere, kahit ano'ng format, kahit ‘fast talk‘ pa (whatever the format, even a 'fast talk' type,” said Otso Diretso candidate Jose Manuel "Chel" Diokno.

“Kahit na 13 versus 8 OK sa'min yun, kahit 4 versus 1 OK sa amin 'yun basta magkaalaman tayo,” he said.

(Even if it's 13 [candidates] versus 8 that's OK with us, even if it's 4 versus 1 it's OK with us, as long as we get to see what we're all about.)

Senatorial aspirants should prove they could argue for or against measures that will be tackled in Congress, said Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, another Otso Diretso senatorial bet.

“Hindi dapat puwedeng sabihin na tumatakbo ako dahil sinabi ng presidente,” Alejano said.

(You cannot just say you're running because the President wants you to.)

“Importante na marinig sila dahil ang trabaho ng mga kongresista ay magbalangkas ng mga batas. Kung hindi sila sisipot, ano ang magiging basehan ng taong-bayan?” he said.

(It's important that they also be heard because it is the job of lawmakers to make laws. If they don't show up, what will be the basis of the people?) 

Former journalist Jiggy Manicad, who has appeared in various senatorial debates and fora, said he and fellow Hugpong bets are always ready to debate.

“Any time ready po ang mga myembro ng Hugpong ng Pagbabago. Ako po ay ready na makipag-debate po kahit saan, kahit kailan,” Manicad told reporters.

(Hugpong ng Pagbabago bets are ready to debate anytime. I am ready to debate anytime, anywhere.)

Former presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino, meanwhile, said Hugpong bets can easily defend the policies of the administration and debate “anytime [and] any topic under the sun.”

Another Hugpong bet, re-electionist senator Sonny Angara, said he and his fellow administration candidates are not fearful of facing opposing candidates.

“Wala naman kinakatakutan itong mga ito. Iyung mga iba dito parang galing na sa gyera,” Angara said.

“Kami may maipapakita kami sa taumbayan, hindi problema iyon.”

(They fear nothing. Some of these candidates have been in wars. We have credentials to show to the public. That’s not a problem.) - with Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News