Villar on Noynoy’s debate challenge: Anytime, anywhere
By Christina Mendez
The Philippine Star
NAVAL, Biliran, Philippines – Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. yesterday said he is ready for a one-on-one debate with Liberal Party standard-bearer Sen. Noynoy Aquino so long as the debate will be conducted in a “neutral area” and with fair moderators.
“I have long accepted that challenge. My only condition is that the hosts will be neutral and fair,” said Villar at the sidelines of the NP’s campaign sortie at the Naval State University. “Anytime, anywhere.”
NP vice presidential candidate Sen. Loren Legarda said she is also ready to debate with LP vice presidential Sen. Manuel Roxas II, who is leading the surveys.
“If Mar Roxas wants to prove that he’s more fit than I am to be vice president, he should be ready to debate with me on issues,” Legarda said during a break in their campaign in Northern Samar last Saturday.
Legarda expressed displeasure upon learning from her staff that black propaganda text messages against her are spreading.
“It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book,” she said. “Making your opponent look bad so that you look good in comparison. But that’s not going to make him (Roxas) any good as a vice president. Or even a barangay chairman for that matter.”
Last week, Legarda said Roxas tried to make a deal with her to back out of the vice presidential race. This happened during a regular session day in February.
In an interview with radio dzBB, Legarda recalled Roxas telling her as she passed his chair in the Senate session hall, “If there’s any way that you can support my principal (supposedly Aquino) and me, if there’s anything you want, we can provide.”
Not knowing what he meant she replied: “Please don’t talk to me in riddles.”
Legarda said her political advisers interpreted it as an “exchange deal.”
Roxas had admitted asking Legarda to support him and his “principal.”
“You got it straight from the horse’s mouth. Mar Roxas himself admits that he did ask me if I would withdraw from the vice presidential race and support him and Noynoy Aquino. Unfortunately, he remembers making a query, as he put it, but not an offer. He’s got a conveniently selective memory and a twisted interpretation of facts,” Legarda said.