'Big joke': VP bets slam Sara Duterte's absence in Comelec's debate

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 20 2022 09:22 PM | Updated as of Mar 20 2022 11:23 PM

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MANILA - Several vice presidential candidates criticized Sunday the absence of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio during the Commission on Elections' debate.

Duterte-Carpio's running mate, presidential aspirant former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos also skipped Comelec's debate on Saturday.

Partido Lakas ng Masa's candidate Walden Bello said he was "tempted to walk out" of the debate. The outburst came as he refused to answer the question what would be his policy expertise as vice president.

"We’re slashing one another for her benefit. The Commission on Elections should do something about this. Commissioner and chair, can you penalize these 2 people, Marcos and Duterte for not showing themselves up to the Filipino people with their programs," he said.

"They’re spitting in the face of the Filipinos. (Comelec commissioners and chairman) can you say something right now, tell them to show up. I'm really so pissed off that these 2 jokers are not here. Duwag sila (They're cowards). We can't show their record., they have to show up so that the Filipino people can judge. Otherwise this is a f***ing big joke."

The Comelec's penalty for Marcos and Duterte's absence in its debates is to ban them from an "e-rally," which Bello said was "too weak."

"We need to get something from these people. To penalize them like a big, huge penalty like P203 billion," Bello said, pertaining to Marcos' estate tax dues.

Senator Francis Pangilinan, running mate of Vice President Leni Robredo, said those seeking voters' support must show up like suitors.

"Wala si Mr. Marcos kagabi, wala si Sara Duterte ngayong araw. Kaming mga kandidato lumiligaw kami. Nililigawan namin ang botante. Pag lumiligaw dapat humaharap," he said.

(Mr. Marcos was absent last night, Sara Duterte is not here today. Us candidates seek voters' support. We court voters. Suitors should show up.)

"Ako may 3 anak, pag may lumiligaw saking anak, dapat humaharap. Respetuhin ang aking mga anak, respetuhin ang mga magulang. Pag di humaharap nirerespeto ba kami?"

(I have 3 children. If someone is courting them, they should show up. They should respect my children and their parents. If they don't show up, are we respected?)

Rizalito David, meantime, said he would like to know Sara Duterte's stance on various issues that he and his opponents were discussing.

"Nalulungkot ako dahil ang nangunguna sa survey ay di natin alam ano ang kanyang opinion tungkol dito. Kami-kami nagtatagisan ng talino dito pero paghahatian na lang namin ang 50 percent ng boto," he said.

(I'm saddened because we don't know the opinion of the frontrunner in surveys. We are battling each other with wits and yet we will share just 50 percent of the votes.)

"Inday Sara dumalo ka naman, gusto namin kang makamayan ka man lang."

(Inday Sara, please attend, we want to shake your hand.)

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