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Walang ganun usapan! Sara defends Hugpong bets’ absence in Plaza Miranda debate

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POLITIKO - The bible of Philippine Politics

By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Davao City Mayor Sara has defended the senatorial candidates endorsed by Hugpong ng Pagbabago after none of them showed up in the debate challenge posed by their rivals at the Plaza Miranda last Monday.

In an ambush interview following Hugpong’s campaign caravan in Malabon City, Duterte said there was no formal agreement with any member of the Liberal Party-led Otso Diretso slate to engage in a debate showdown in Plaza Miranda.

“Wala naman agreement na sasali sa debate (doon sa Plaza Miranda) at walang agreement na mag-debate doon,” said Duterte.

Nonetheless, Duterte said the HNP candidates were still willing to go head-to-head with their opponents if there would a formal agreement on future debates.

“Willing mag debate ang some of the candidates but only if there’s an agreement about the rules, venue, yung mga ganun,” she said.

She added that opposition candidates could not unilaterally decide over what to do in such debate.

“There should be (dapat) merong organizer at meron agreement kung ano ang mangyayari. Hindi puwede yung parang bara-bara na parang palengke. Kapag meron debates, meron agreement (just like) how professionals do it,” she said.

Otso Diretso senate bets led by Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, former Solcitor General Florin Hilbay, renowned election lawyer Romulo Macalintal and former Quezon Rep. Erin Tañada went at Plaza Miranda lunchtime of Monday but not a single administration bet showed up.

Meanwhile, Duterte said she was in favor that any upcoming senatorial debates and forums should be sanctioned by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).

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