A debate between Vice President Leni Robredo and former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. will never happen, according to Marcos' spokesperson on Friday.
In a statement in response to Robredo's challenge to Marcos, lawyer Vic Rodriguez said there are several reasons why such a debate would never push through.
"Sa debate na hamon kay presidential frontrunner Bongbong Marcos ay hindi ito kailanman mangyayari sa ilang kadahilanan," Rodriguez said. "At batid ni Ginang Robredo ang mga kadahilanang 'yan."
(That debate will never happen for many reasons, and Mrs. Robredo is aware of those reasons.)
In her statement, Robredo said she is ready to face Marcos "anytime, anywhere."
"Inaanyayahan ko si Ginoong Bongbong Marcos na makipagdebate, para mabigyan ang taumbayan ng pagkakataong makaharap siya at matanong tungkol sa mga kontrobersiyang pumapalibot sa kanya," she said.
(I'm inviting Mr. Bongbong Marcos to a debate so that the public will have a chance to ask him questions regarding the controversies hounding him.)
Rodriguez said he feels Robredo's disappointment, pointing out that she and Marcos just have different styles of engaging the public.
According to Rodriguez, Marcos and his entire slate have always been campaigning in a positive way as evidenced by their repeated calls for unity among the public.
"Positibong pangangampanya at walang paninira ang gabay ng UniTeam ni Bongbong Marcos. At derecho sa taumbayan ang mga mensahe nito at ang panawagan ng pagkakisa," he said.
"Pawang mga negatibo, panlilinlang at paninira naman ang sa kampo ng dilawan," he added, referring to the term used to describe Robredo and Liberal Party's supporters.
(Bongbong Marcos' UniTeam is guided by a positive style of campaigning, and its message of unity goes straight to the public. On the other hand, the dilawans are engaged in negative campaigning.)
Marcos lost to Robredo in the 2016 vice presidential race. He protested the results before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, which ruled in favor of Robredo.
The son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., Marcos leads various pre-election presidential surveys, with Robredo a constant second.
Meanwhile, presidential candidate former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales said that Robredo’s dare supposedly indicated her camp’s attempt to make the public believe that only she and Marcos were the choices for president in Eleksyon 2022.
He said this ran contrary to a “fair” fight.
“Pareho lang naman ang ginagawa ni BBM at ni Vice President Robredo- malalaking rally at doon na sila nagpapaliwanag sa sambayanan,” said Gonzales in a press statement Friday.
(BBM and Vice President Leni Robredo are the same — they hold rallies where they explain their programs.)
“Sana inunawa nila na may mga sektor ng ating lipunan na hindi bahagi o sakop ng kanikanilang makinarya sa kampanya. Paniwala ko marami sa ating sambayanan ang umaasa at naghahanap pa rin ng mga walang kulay na batayan sa gagawin nilang pagpili at pagsusuri sa kakayahan ng mga nagnanais na maging pangulo,” he said.
(I hope they understand there are sectors in our society outside of their separate campaign machinery. I believe a lot of Filipinos are searching for candidates with no color in choosing whom they will vote for as president.)
Instead of a personal debate, Gonzales said the state-sponsored debates could have been the “official occasion” for the exchange of opinions between Robredo and Marcos Jr.
“Parang handa pa naman ang marami na sa ating mamamayan na seryosohin ang politika at pamumulitika dito sa bayan natin. Nakapanghihinayang na marami pa rin sa ating mga pulitiko ang hindi nakakaramdam nito,” he said.
(It seems a lot of Filipinos are seriously wanting to discuss politics and politicking in our country. It is regretful that alot of politicians have yet to realize this.) —KBK/NB, GMA News