Leody, Walden ready to attend rescheduled final Comelec debates

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 23 2022 06:05 PM

MANILA - Partido Lakas ng Masa standard bearers Leody De Guzman and Walden Bello said on Saturday they are willing to forego any conflict in schedule to attend the final round of Comelec-sponsored debates which have been moved to April 30 and May 1.

De Guzman told reporters on the sidelines of his campaign in Bulacan that the Comelec should proceed with the last presidential and vice presidential debates for the sake of Filipino voters.

He added he and Bello will prioritize the debates because there are particular topics that remain to be discussed in the last debate that are important to the public.

“Tingin ko ‘yon ay mahalaga dahil pinag-isipan ng Comelec iyon na maging panuntunan o batayan sa pagiging pagboto ng ating mga kababayan. Kaya ‘yon ay importante para sa amin. Kahit kami lang dalawa ni Walden ang dumalo,” he said.

De Guzman added the Comelec should still answer for the discrepancy that led to the postponement of the debates.

The poll body rescheduled the PiliPinas Debates after venue Sofitel Manila raised issues of non-payment by organizer Impact Hub Manila.

>READ: https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/04/23/22/impact-hub-manila-sofitel-payment-mess-a-miscommunication
>WATCH: https://news.abs-cbn.com/video/news/04/22/22/halalan-debates-hit-snag-due-to-organizers-unpaid-bills

Vice presidential bet Bello said the delay in the debates may undermine the public’s confidence in the Comelec’s integrity and ability to mount the May polls.

“‘Pag hindi nakakaya ng Comelec ng holding of a national debate, siyempre marami sa ating mga kababayan mag-iisip, ‘Makakaya ba ng Comeelc itong national elections na ito? Baka mamaya pumalpak din ang national elections.’ Kaya malaking loss of public confidence ito sa palpak na holding ng debate na ito,” Bello said.

“Kailangang-kailangan the Comelec has to step forward and assure that all steps of the electoral process, kaya nilang gawin at may pruweba sila that 100% foolproof iyan.”

He added there was no excuse to miss out on the debates.

“Maski may conflict of schedules namin, priority namin ‘yong debate. Kasi alam naman natin na national event ‘yan. This is the last time there will be a national audience looking intently sa mga programa. So ‘yong mga hindi mag-a-attend niyan, hindi excused.”

Bello also said the Comelec and even President Rodrigo Duterte himself should commit against a failure or postponement of the May 9 elections.

This after Health Sec. Francisco Duque III said elections may be held off in areas with high COVID-19 cases.

“Dapat ‘yong halalan ay sa May 9 sa buong bansa, kasi kaya namang makontrol ‘yong paglaganap ng COVID kung ‘yong minimum health protocols ang sinusundan ng ating mga mamamayan,” Bello said.

“Mahirap na ‘pag ma-postpone pa ‘yan, kasi alam naman natin na ‘pag may mga postponement na ganyan, doon gumagalaw ‘yong mga nagko-corrupt ng eleksyon.”

De Guzman and Bello met with local voters through town hall meetings in the City of San Jose Del Monte on Saturday.

The labor leader also conducted a house-to-house campaign, giving fistbumps and introducing himself to residents.

With less than 3 weeks left in the campaign, De Guzman said he is optimistic he has made a mark on Filipino voters with his pro-poor and pro-worker platform, which includes a tax on the country’s richest, the abolition of contractual work, free social services, and the nationalization of key industries.

“Ako’y natutuwa. Malaking-malaki na ang pagbabago. Kung dati pagsakay ko ng eroplano, walang bumabati sa akin, walang nakakakilala, pero ngayon andami nang bumabati, andaming nagpapa-litrato, andaming sumasalubong, kaya tingin ko, unti-unting nauunawaan ng ating kababayan ‘yong kawastuhan ng aming pinakikita na walang pag-asa sa mga bilyonaryo, walang pag-asa sa mga elitista. Ang pag-asa ay nasa kauri nila, nasa uri nila,” he said.

“Anuman ang mangyari, anlaki, anlaki nang inabot ng aming kampanya, at ramdam na ramdam ko ‘yan sa mainit na pagtanggap sa akin,” he added.