By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has challenged Vice President Leni Robredo to have a debate to discuss the loss of the Philippine territories under the Duterte administration.

In his Monday presser, Roque said Robredo was among those individuals who are claiming that under President Rodrigo Duterte, the country’s territories have lost.

When asked for a comment on Robredo’s remarks on her recent radio broadcast, Roque said: “Ang importante po yung debate, VP.”

“Kung talagang ayaw ni Associate Justice [Antonio Carpio] na makipagdebate sa ordinaryong abogado gaya ko dahil siya ay retiradong mahistrado ng Supreme Court, tayo po, magdebate po tayo kasi gaya ni Associate Justice Carpio, wala pong tigil ang pgsabi niyo na nagbigay ng teritoryo ang Presidente.”

“Dahil wala ring tigil si VP Leni, baka gusto nya kaming dalawa na lang,” added Roque.

In response, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) told Roque to perform his duties instead of challenging Robredo to a debate.

“Anlakas ng loob maghamon, eh ‘yung unang debateng hiningi inatrasan naman,” OVP Spokesperson Ibarra Gutierrez said.

“Mas Mabuti pa, tularan na lang ninyo si VP Leni: magtrabaho na lang kayo. Dami ninyong oras eh,” he added.

It was on Wednesday last week when Duterte challenged Carpio to conduct a debate regarding the issue in which the former magistrate accepted on the next day.

“I gladly accept the challenge anytime at the President’s convenience,” Carpio said in his statement.

Carpio also dared Duterte to be true on his pronouncement that he will immediately resign once his claim that the former magistrate was involved in the withdrawal of Navy assets in the contested waters is proven false.

“President Duterte should now resign immediately to keep his word of honor. I state under oath that I was never involved in the decision to withdraw Philippine Navy ships from the West Philippine Sea during the 2012 Scarborough standoff.”

“At that time and all I knew about the withdrawal of Philippine Navy ships was what I read in the newspapers. I call as my witnesses former President Benigno Aquino III and the Defense Secretary, Foreign Affairs Secretary and the Chiefs of the Philippine Navy and the Coast Guard at that time,” he added.