Presidential candidates Ping Lacson and Manny Pacquiao disagree with the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to leak its questions to participants in its upcoming presidential debates.
On Wednesday, Lacson said the move would only benefit the unprepared.
“Para saan pa kung nagbigay ka ng exam kung magbibigay ka ng leakage? Parang lokohan lang. Dapat mag-aral sila. Wag silang humingi ng advance questions,” he told the media.
The Bongbong Marcos camp earlier requested the poll body about the debate format and what topics are included. Marcos’ campaign manager Benjamin Abalos Jr. said the candidates need to know the “the format, which will include the issues to be discussed, the time allotment for each, the right to respond and rebut his/her arguments, who will be the moderator, among others.”
Abalos said Marcos “has expressed his readiness to join” but the former senator hasn’t said anything about attending.
UPDATE: Comelec spox James Jimenez releases copy of a Feb. 11 letter signed by Marcos' national campaign manager Benhur Abalos expressing Bongbong's "readiness to join" Comelec-sponsored debates.
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Lacson’s running mate Senate President Tito Sotto, also doesn’t favor handing out questions beforehand, showing that an unprepared candidate cannot be trusted.
“‘Yung pagkakatiwalan ko ‘yung mga matagal nang nag-aaral kaysa sa ngayon pa lang mag-aaral. Kung ‘di ibibigay ng Comelec ang topic, hindi mag-aaral?” he said.
In a separate interview, Pacquiao said a president couldn’t be selective in solving problems.
“Dapat hindi ka mapili ng tanong kasi ‘pag tumatakbo ka ng pangulo ng Pilipinas as much as possible lahat ng tanong pwede itanong sa’yo dahil ikaw ay nag-aapply na maging leader ng bansa,” he said. “So kailangan open ka sa lahat ng mga tanong.” he added.
“Debate pa lang natatakot na. Paano pag nanalo ka na?” he added. “Eh natatakot, baka magnakaw naman ng pera ng gobyerno di ba?” he continued.
However, OCTA Research Fellow Guido David said the Marcos-Duterte tandem still leads in the surveys.
“We are looking forward to what we will see in the survey results this coming March. If the trends continue and of the lead will still be significant this coming March, that may not look good for the other candidates who are trailing behind,” he noted.