By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: I Tacloban

The decision is out.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said she will pursue her campaign sortie and will not join any debates. 

Duterte made the remark when asked by the reporters on whether or not she will join the Commission on Elections-sponsored vice presidential debates slated on March 20.

“Yes, opo. We already released a statement about the debates. I have already decided that I will do this campaign without joining debates. Iniiwan ko na po ‘yan sa lahat ng ating kababayan ang pagdedesisyon sa pagpili nila sa vice president na ganito po ang aking direksyon sa kampanya,” Sara said.

The mayor then said she will inform the media should there would be another decision on the matter: “Well, kung magbago man o hindi (if I will change my mind), we will let you know, but as of this very moment that decision is to conduct this campaign without joining debates.”

No decision yet on Marcos’ debate attendance

Meanwhile, her running mate, former senator Bongbong Marcos is yet to release a decision if he will join the forums or not. His camp earlier stated the decision will be out this week but there are no statements as of writing.

Marcos had said he would check the format first before engaging with his fellow presidential hopefuls and that he would turn down the invitation of the forums if it is only meant for bickering and throwing past issues.

The late dictator’s son has been a trending topic for his no-shows in multiple debates. His first absence was on January 21 when GMA News organized a one-on-one interview with veteran journalist Jessica Soho then succeeded by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) presidential forum on February 4 and debates of CNN Philippines on February 27.

He, however, marked his presence in Boy Abunda’s interviews, DZRH presidential forum, cooking show and interview with Korina Sanchez-Roxas, and SMNI presidential debates. It is obvious that SMNI is a network of Kingdom of Jesus Christ Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, who endorsed Marcos and his running mate Sara Duterte-Carpio for presidency and vice presidency, respectively.

As a consequence, Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said that the candidates who will be absent in the upcoming forums will be barred from posting e-rally contents in the poll body’s social media accounts until the 90-day campaign period ends. He also said that expected topics will be disclosed to the aspirants, but the in-depth and individual questions are considered as “off-limits.” Moreover, aspirants who fail to commit their attendance in media forums are a “red flag” for the voters.

Edited by Phylline Calubayan