LIBERAL Party presidential bet Manuel Roxas II scored PDP-Laban candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for repeatedly turning down several challenges, the latest of which was for a presidential debate.
But Duterte taunted Roxas’ acceptance of the Davao mayor’s challenge to a debate and said he does not care to debate with a “tail-ender.”
“I don’t want to. He is boastful,” Duterte said when told that Roxas accepted the mayor’s challenge to debate “on any matter under the sun.”
“If he really wants to debate me, he should become Number 2 first. He’s still No. 4,” referring to recent presidential surveys which placed Duterte as the frontrunner in Metro Manila.
“He shouldn’t run this. Besides, I don’t debate with a liar and a tail-ender,” Duterte said in his native Cebuano language.
But Roxas reiterated that accuracy of the voter preference survey, commissioned by Duterte ally and Davao City businessman William Lina, is questionable and misleading.
“What do you call someone who always backs off from challenges,” Roxas asked reporters during a visit to Baybay City in Leyte province.
“He’s the one who challenged me to a slapping match. I said I’m just here, but what did he say. When I called for a fistfight, he also didn’t want that. When he challenged me to a debate, I accepted. He’s the one who again declined. What do you call that?” Roxas said.
“He has said many things and even challenged me. When I accepted his challenge, he’s the one who always withdraws. The leader of our country should not withdraw from any challenge. He should face it,” he said.
“How can our countrymen know what’s in the mind of my rival if he won’t speak his mind in a debate?” Roxas added.
Roxas also said that there won’t be any Christmas truce between him and Duterte if the Davao mayor insists on lying about his credentials.
“I said Merry Christmas [to all of them.] It’s Christmas time and I don’t like to engage in any word war, but I just cannot let these lying just pass as if nothing happened.”
Roxas’ spokesman Rep. Barry Gutierrez also slammed Duterte’s latest change of mind and said that only shows the Davao mayor’s indecisiveness and inability to make up his mind.
“Mayor Duterte has always been like that. He always has so many excuses. He makes a challenge and then backs off. If he’s afraid of a debate, he should just say so,” Gutierrez said.
In another interview, Gutierrez also slammed Duterte for his “unconventional manner of campaigning.”
“We don’t need a clown, we need a president,” Gutierrez said in an ANC interview.
“The only reason why Mayor Duterte is somehow popular these days is because he has distinguished himself from the other candidates by being, you know, the clown, by being the outrageous person in the room,” he added.