'You're not a leader if you don't show up': Presidential bets stress value of debates

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 27 2022 09:41 PM | Updated as of Feb 27 2022 10:20 PM

MANILA — Nine candidates for president asserted on Sunday it was important that they attend debates to level the playing field and help voters choose the next Philippine leader. 

Former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, frontrunner in recent surveys for the presidency, skipped the election debate mounted by CNN Philippines on the same day.

Here is what his rivals said on the importance of debates. 

LENI ROBREDO

Vice President Leni Robredo said a debate offers voters a chance to scrutinize candidates' demeanor, character, and track record. 

"Iyong number one ingredient din ng leadership, aside from character, is you show up in the most difficult times. ‘Pag hindi ka mag-show up in the most difficult times, hindi ka leader," said the opposition leader.

(The number one ingredient in leadership, aside from character, is you show up in the most difficult times. If you do not show up in the most difficult times, you are not a leader.) 

"So kahit mahirap, kailangan and’yan ka, kailangan kaya mong harapin ‘yong mga itatanong tungkol sa ‘yo, kailangan kaya mong masagot ‘yong issues laban sa ‘yo—hindi ka magtatago. Kaya para sa akin, ito ‘yong pagbibigay ng halaga at respeto sa taong bayan na maghahalal sa ‘yo." 

(Even if it is difficult, you should be there. You should face questions about yourself, you need to answer issues against you--you will not hide. For me, it is important to give importance and respect to the people who will elect you.)

ISKO MORENO 

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso likened voters to an office's human resources department in charge of hiring applicants. 
 
"Gusto mo ba mag-hire ng aplikante na di ko nakita, di mo nakausap, di mo nalaman kung ano ang magagawa para sa iyo? You deserve to know what is in our minds, ano ang nasa puso namin," he said. 

(Do you want to hire an applicant that you did not see, you did not talk to, you don't know what he or she can do for you. You deserve to know what is in our minds, what is in our heart.) 

"What matters most is narinig niyo sa bibig namin ano ang mga idea namin para mapataas ang antas ng pamumuhay ng mga tao," added Domagoso. 

(What matters most is you hear from us our ideas on how we can elevate the people's standard of living.) 

MANNY PACQUIAO 

Sen. Manny Pacquiao said he requested a face-to-face format for the debates so that voters would see candidates "sincerity" and "purity of heart." 
 
"Pagdating ng eleksyon, ang daming nagpapanggap e, kunwari mabait, kunwari hindi makabasag pinggan. Maraming mga kandidato, nagsusuot pa ng kulang na lang punit-punit na damit, para isuot, para sabihin mahirap," he said. 

(During elections, many pretend to be kind, and even wear nearly tattered clothes just so they could appear poor.) 

PING LACSON

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said debates "level the playing field." 

"Walang tutor, walang script; dito masusukat nang maayos ang wisdom at grasp sa current and past issues. Pati character minsan lumalabas. Dapat encourage pa natin magkaron ng ganitong klaseng debate face-to-face at sana lahat kami narito," he said. 

(No tutor, no script, this measures our wisdom and grasp of current and past issues. Even character sometimes surfaces. We should encourage face-to-face debates like this and I hope all us could be here.) 

LEODY DE GUZMAN 

Labor leader Leody De Guzman asked, "Dapat nandito ‘yung isang kasama namin, bakit ‘di pumunta rito?"

"Importante ‘to para malaman sana’t masabi ‘yung mga programa, malaman ng bansa, ng mga botante kung ano ‘yung plataporma," he added. 

(One of us should be here, why did he not go? This is important so that our programs can be relayed, for the country, the voters, to know our platform.) 

ERNESTO ABELLA 

"It’s very, very important po talaga, iyong debate, para marinig natin kung saan nanggagaling ang tao," former Malacañang spokesperson Ernesto Abella said. 

"Ang kahirapan ay dahil sa mga maling mga polisiya na ginagawa sa bayan ng politico, mga negosyante. Mahalaga po talaga na magkaharap tayo para mailatag, makita at madinig natin kung ano talaga iyong nasa puso at mga plano," he continued. 

(It's very, very important, the debate, so that we can see where a person is coming from. Poverty is due to the wrong policies made by politicians, businessmen. It is important that we face each other so that what is in our hearts, our plans, could be laid out, seen, and heard.) 

NORBERTO GONZALES 

"Salamat at may mga debate, naipapakita natin, mayroon tayong magkakaroon ng pagkakataon na ipaliwanag sa ating mga kababayan ang pangangailangan ng bagong sistema ng pulitika," said former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales. 

(Thanks to debates, we can show, we can have an opportunity to explain to our compatriots the need for a new system of politics.) 

FAISAL MANGONDATO

"Mahalaga po ang isang debate para malaman ng ating mga kababayan ano ba talaga ang kailangan sa sitwasyon ngayon sa ating bansa, ano ba ang dinadala ng mga kandidato na kailangan masaliksik mabuti ng ating mga kababayan," said businessman Faisal Mangondato. 

(A debate is important so that our compatriots can know what is needed for the situation of our country, what candidates carry, which our compatriots should research well.) 

JOSE MONTEMAYOR 

Cardiologist Jose Montemayor said while Sunday's debate was more of a forum than a debate, he said he was still thankful that he got to participate because, "Ito pa lang ang nagbigay sa akin ng pagkakataon para makilala n’yo ako."

(This is the only one that gave a chance so you could know me.) 

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