Senator Manny Pacquiao on Tuesday pushed for in-person presidential debates for the 2022 national elections.
“Personal. Face-to-face. Why online? Are they afraid? I am ready. I will not make a decision [to run for president] if I am not aware of what I am doing,” Pacquiao said in an interview during his visit in Baguio City.
The lawmaker and boxing legend also said he is not preparing for a head-to-head debate with a specific candidate.
“I have nothing to hide. I am sincere and I don’t need to prepare for questions that will question my integrity. I have nothing to hide,” he said in Filipino.
Pacquiao reiterated the following agenda that he will highlight during the presidential debates: the anti-corruption drive, economic growth and development, employment, livelihood, healthcare, and housing.
Moreover, the senator backed proposals removing withdrawal as one of the grounds for electoral candidate substitution.
“I want to amend the rule on substitution because that has been abused. Maybe we can change it and specify in the law that substitution can only be applied to candidates who died, who became mentally ill, or those who have terminal illnesses,” the lawmaker said.
“We should scrap the substitution for withdrawn candidacies because that has been abused. They are fooling the public,” he added.
On Monday, at least five senators filed a bill seeking to amend the Omnibus Election Code by removing withdrawal as a basis of a candidate’s substitution.