Poll bets shouldn't take offense over questions on education
MANILA -- Candidates for public office should "strive to do better" even if everybody lies, as claimed by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, a former poll body official and an election watchdog said Thursday.
Duterte-Carpio, who chairs the Hugpong ng Pagbabago regional slate, earlier said “honesty should not be an issue now” because “all candidates lie.”
"You should strive to do better. It doesn't necessarily mean that because everybody is doing it, it's right... You should find ways to correct it," former Commission on Elections commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal told ANC.
"We cannot tolerate it and we have to make sure that this doesn't become the norm," added Kontra Daya convenor Danilo Arao.
Duterte-Carpio made the statement following questions about the legitimacy of HNP-endorsed candidate Imee Marcos' diplomas from the University of the Philippines College of Law and Ivy League school Princeton University.
Marcos earlier said she graduated with a degree in Religion and Politics from the US-based university and as cum laude from UP. Both schools belied her claims.
The Ilocos Norte governor has yet to address the issue.
"Pabayaan na natin 'yung mga banat banat nila. Basta sa amin, ilalatag namin 'yung programa namin," Marcos told reporters on Wednesday.
(Let's just ignore their tirades. I will focus on pushing for my public programs.)
Candidates should not take offense when their academic credentials are questioned as "that is part of the process in terms of educating our voters," said Arao.
"It's not an issue of whether or not you have a degree, but whether or not there is truth to what you claim," he said.
"There is a distinction between white lies and lies that really deceive millions of people and hoodwink people into partaking of their money," he added.
COMELEC URGED: MOUNT DEBATES, FORUMS
Both Arao and Larrazabal also urged the poll body to stage debates and public forums that will test candidates' stands on national concern, instead of letting them dictate the narrative of the campaign period.
"Comelec should take the reins and tell the candidates that this is what you should provide, not just singing and dancing, not just entertainment but discussion of issues," said Larrazabal.
"They will craft laws that will affect us for decades and I think it's travesty that we're not discussing the important things. We're discussing trivial matters," Arao noted.
With 2 months ahead of the May 13 polls, there is "sufficient time to organize townhall discussions, if we don't like debates, on important issues," said Larrazabal.