Duterte: Marcos was right to decline debates

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DAVAO, MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES - JUNE 19: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and President-elect Ferdinand
DAVAO, MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES - JUNE 19: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. poses for pictures during the oathtaking of Sara Duterte as the next Vice President on June 19, 2022 in Davao, Philippines. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

Outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday (June 27) that it was right for President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to not attend the presidential debates during the campaign period.

“During the campaign, we had a limited time to talk, and the next time that you are a candidate, you are invited to do that… Tama si Marcos, decline (Marcos is right, decline),” Duterte said. “We were only given half a minute or one minute and that’s it. You cannot even talk further… It was for show.”

He added, “It earns money for them at your expense sometimes.”

Marcos Jr. and vice president-elect Sara Duterte were criticized by some voters for failing to show up in a number of interviews and debates – a move described by the Philippine Debate Union as “a deprivation of the Filipino people’s right to gain knowledge on the presidential aspirant’s vision for the country.”

Among the debates that the dictator’s son failed to attend included those organized by CNN Philippines, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).

He was consistent, however, in attending the presidential debates organized by SMNI, which was described by then-vice presidential candidate Walde Bello as “disorganized”, “soporific”, and “boring as hell.” SMNI is owned by US convict for sex trafficking and Duterte ally Pastor Apollo Quiboloy.

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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