VICE-PRESIDENTIAL aspirant Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Saturday evening continued to pounce on candidates who are repeatedly absent in nationally televised debates by saying they may possibly be harboring skeletons and ill-intent toward Filipinos.
Speaking at the Team Robredo-Pangilinan (TROPA) grand rally in Caloocan City on Saturday evening, Pangilinan said: “Pag hindi humaharap [sa debate] ano ang iisipin natin? Buti sana kung duwag. Baka masamang ang hangarin. Baka may itinatago.”
Pangilinan’s Saturday rebuke of the alleged frontrunners was his strongest yet since March 20 when he started assailing their repeated refusal to participate in national debates.
“Baka ayaw may malaman ang taong-bayan, ‘ika nga,” Pangilinan told the crowd estimated by organizers to be 36,000.
Pangilinan also asked the crowd who attended the rally, also known as Camanava Rock and Rosas, “nirerespeto ba kayo kapag hindi humaharap?”
“Hindi” the crowd feverishly shouted in reply.
Pangilinan again likened participating in national debates to courtship, saying candidates present themselves before the electorate in a bid to win them over and eventually secure their votes.
On March 22, in Talavera, Nueva Ecija, Pangilinan confronted the Marcos-Duterte tandem, labelling them as disrespectful toward the electorate.
Pangilinan’s castigation of the Marcos-Duterte tandem came on the heels of a March 21 announcement by several local government officials that they are openly supporting Vice President Leni Robredo for president and Sara Duterte for vice president.
“Kaming mga kandidato ay lumiligaw para makuha ang matamis ninyong oo. Ang kailangan kapag nanliligaw dapat humarap. Pag may debate di ba nagpapakilala? Paano ninyo kikilalanin ang mga nanliligaw kung hindi nagpapakita sa debate? Kaya kayo mga botante, (kapag) hindi humaharap ang kandidato, nirerespeto ba kayo?” he asked the Nueva Ecija crowd.
During the Commission on Elections vice-presidential debate on March 20, Pangilinan said voters can discern the way candidates will govern, should they win, through their campaign behavior and attitude. “Hindi pa nga nananalo, hindi na humaharap, hindi kayo nirerespeto. Pag nanalo na, rerespetuhin kaya kayo?” Pangilinan said.
On March 23, in Capas, Tarlac, Pangilinan cautioned voters not to be easily bewitched by the sweet promises of candidates pleading for their support and votes.
“Kami po ay lumiligaw sa inyo bilang mga kandidato. Nais naming makuha ang matamis ninyong oo. (Pero) kailangan hindi basta-basta mahulog ang Bataan,” Pangilinan said during a rally at the Capas Municipal Covered Court.
Pangilinan told a crowd of at least 1,000 farmers, agricultural workers, students, and municipal employees to be critical of all candidates, and to scrutinize their achievements and accomplishments.
Also on March 23 in Tarlac City, Pangilinan warned voters against electing Vice President Leni Robredo as president and a vice president from a different political party, alluding to possible political deadlock or chaos, if Robredo is elected together with a vice-presidential candidate not in her ticket.
Pangilinan told 40,000-strong crowd at the Tarlac City grand rally: “Hinihiling ko at pakiusap, ‘yung para kay Leni ay sana para kay Kiko din dahil mahirap na kung iba bise-presidente. Baka iba ang planuhin sa ating President Leni.”