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Robredo: Debates give voters better foundation for voting

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Vice President Leni Robredo anchors her weekly radio show — “BISErbisyong Leni” — over AM radio station DZXL on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019. (Photo from a livestream video posted on her Facebook account)

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo on Saturday underscored the importance of debates in every election, saying that it would be the foundation of voters’ decision come election time.

“Mahalaga ang mga debate sa kampanya kasi ito iyong pagpapatunay na mahalaga iyong mga isyu, mahalaga iyong mga pinapanindigan — na iyong eleksyon, hindi lang mga personalidad,” Robredo told reporters in Naga City, Camarines Sur.

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[Debates are important in a campaign because they would prove that issues matter, that their positions matter — that personalities are not all that matters in elections.]

“Kung hindi siya haharap sa debate, anong basehan natin?” she asked.

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[If a candidate won’t join a debate, what’s the basis for voting him?]

The Vice President’s explanation came after Otso Diretso bets challenged administration-backed candidates to a debate on Monday, the 33rd anniversary of the People Power Revolution.

According to Robredo, debates also help elections move away from being a mere popularity contest, where the candidates whose names are more familiar will surely win.

“Kasi kung hindi natin mapapakinggan kung saan sila nakatayo, kung hindi natin mapapakinggan kung ano iyong pagtingin nila sa mga bagay-bagay, ano iyong basehan natin para botohan sila?” Robredo said. “Dahil lang ba sa popularity? Kaya marami tayong reklamo sa mga namumuno sa atin kasi hindi tayo nakapagpili nang tama.”

[If we don’t hear from them where they stand, if we don’t hear from them their views on issues, what will be our basis for voting for them? Will it be just because of popularity? That’s why we have many complaints about our leaders — because we weren’t able to choose correctly.]

“Iyong debate sana, isang platform para makita ng ordinaryong mamamayan ano ba iyong pagkatao nito, saan ba siya tumatayo, saan ba iyong kaniyang — ano ba iyong kaniyang mga paniniwala, saan ba siya tumatayo sa mga issues, paano ba siya magre-respond sa mga challenges,” she added.

[The debate will hopefully be one platform where ordinary citizens can see a candidate’s personality, his beliefs, his position on certain issues, how he responds to challenges.] /atm

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