BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia did not participate in the online townhall debate for mayoralty candidate organized by the UP Law Alumni Association- Neg. Occ. Chapter Saturday at the USLS coliseum in Bacolod City after the organizers did not heed the request of his camp for a face-to-face debate.
Leonardia said he and many netizens are pushing for a face-to-face debate for transparency. However, the organizers and his camp have not agreed on the rules.
“But definitely, I am looking forward for more debates as long as it is always face-to-face because this is what the people deserves and the people of Bacolod should get what they deserve,” the mayor said.
The people want a face-to-face debate so that everything will be open to the public. But if the debate is virtual, they do not know what is happening behind and around the camera. It is unfair to the public that they do not know what is happening, Leonardia said.
There are some people saying that there is a need to have a virtual debate because of the pandemic. But the proposition was to have the debate at the USLS coliseum where only 10 to 15 persons will be allowed to enter. The USLS coliseum can host 8,000 persons so what violation is made? He asked.
Meanwhile, the camp of Leonardia’s rival mayoralty aspirant Albee Benitez issued a press statement stating that the former solon of Neg. Occ, 3rd District, was the “clear winner” in the online townhall debate organized by the UP Law Alumni Association-Neg. Occ.
The press statement added that while Benitez’s rival (Leonardia) declined to participate in the debate, the former showed Bacolodnons that he is ready to serve them with no excuse.
Benitez was questioned by various sectors regarding his plan on how to address Covid-19 and other health issues in Bacolod should he be elected, as well as issues on how he would address killings of activist groups or members of progressive organizations, and problems involving other sectors affected by the pandemic, among others.*