MANILA, Philippines- An empty podium represented vice presidential aspirant and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte at the CNN debates held Saturday, February 26.
What could’ve happened if she attended it?
In Rappler’s In The Running, reporters and editors weighed in and concluded that Duterte likely had to carry the baggage of her father, President Rodrigo Duterte, and had to answer to the sins of presidential frontrunner Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
“They don’t want to be labeled as the administration candidate. I imagine she would be forced to start answering about Duterte’s policies, the ICC (International Criminal Court), the pandemic response… and (her team) wants to avoid putting her into that situation to answer to the sins of the Duterte administration,” said Bea Cupin, who covers Duterte’s campaign.
For Rappler’s head of regions Inday Varona, Sara would also have to answer for Marcos’ controversies.
“Mas mahirap ‘yun, nagtatago ang isa and Sara will have to answer those questions” Varona said. (That will be more difficult, the other one is hiding and Sara will have to answer those questions)
Rappler reporters and editors also tackled the issue of “toxic positivity” during the campaigns and why candidates are averse in attacking other candidates.
Rappler editor-at-large Marites Vitug said that studies have shown that Filipinos don’t like negative campaigning and mudslinging, but noted that pointing out flaws of other candidates are still necessary.
“Walden [Bello] was the life of the debate, of the party. He did not intend to win the elections but he wanted to bring out the issues, make issues sharper and call out candidates who have been enablers of the Duterte administration,” Bello said.
Bello took jabs at Senate President Vicente Sotto III for supporting Duterte’s contentious policies. He also criticized Senator Kiko Pangilinan for voting in favor of some of Duterte’s economic policies.
It was also Bello who pointed out Duterte’s absence in the debate. – Rappler.com