Labor leader: A no-show candidate in debates may be hiding things

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BONIFACIO SHRINE, MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 2019/02/14: Presidential candidate, labor leader Leody de Guzman seen speaking at the crowd during the rally.
FILE PHOTO: Presidential candidate, labor leader Leody de Guzman seen speaking at the crowd during the rally. "Labor Win" a coalition of labor leaders running for Senate, said they are the only ones who have the "real" credentials to push for pro-poor policies unlike other candidates for this year elections. the policial party "Partido ng Lakas ng Masa" offers themselves as alternatives in this year's elections. They say they don't belong to either the administration or opposition. (Photo: Josefiel Rivera/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Presidential aspirant Ka Leody de Guzman stressed the importance of attending the debates organized by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), saying that candidates who fail to appear for the arguments may be “capricious” or “hiding things.”

Ang kandidato na nag aatubiling humarap sa debate ay mas mag uurong-sulong sa mas mabibigat na responsibilidad bilang mataas na opisyal ng bansa, o may itinatago sa sambayanan,” he said.

(A candidate hesitant to face debate may be fickle with their responsibilities as a high official of the country, or hiding secrets from the people.)

De Guzman said that the debates were better organized by the Commission to give candidates who lack the resources a chance to participate.

Ang mga debate at diskurso ay mas mainam na inoorganisa ng Comelec para sa “level playing field” para sa mga kandidato’t partidong kwalipikado ngunit kulang sa rekurso, lalo na yung ayaw magkaroon ng "utang na loob" sa mga makapangyarihang mga interes sa lipunan,” de Guzman said.

(Debates and discourses are better organized by the COMELEC to have a “level playing field” for candidates of different qualified parties yet lack the resources to do so, especially those who don’t want to be indebted to the powerful’s interests in society.)

This comes after the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) information director James Jimenez said that candidates are not mandated to attend the debates.

“Under the law, participation in debates is not mandatory. Wala tayong choice (We don’t have a choice). We cannot force them to join the debates,” Jimenez said.

De Guzman said that it was the responsibility of each candidate to join the debates, so Filipinos would be informed of their stances.

“Yes. I will participate. Tungkulin ng bawat kandidato na ipakilala ang kanyang sarili at kanyang plataporma sa masang botante upang magkaroon sila ng “informed choice” sa Mayo 2022 (It is the job of each candidate to introduce themselves and their platforms to the voting masses, so they would have an informed choice on May 2022),” the labor leader said.

COMELEC aims to have the debates to occur for three consecutive months from February to April, one argument a month.

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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