CLARK FIELD, Pampangaâ€”Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel â€œMarâ€ Roxas II laughed off the allegations that television giant ABS-CBN, which co-hosted the last presidential debate on Sunday, favored him by leaking the questions to him before the debate as he â€œlooked too preparedâ€ and his answers were â€œperfect.â€
Instead, Roxas said he would take these rumors as a compliment.
But Roxas, in a media briefing at Fontana Convention Center in Angeles, Pampanga on Monday, is also unconvinced that the network, where his wife Korina Sanchez worked for decades as a broadcaster, would give him a special treatment.
A laughing Roxas said: â€œPaano ako papaboran ng ABS-CBN? Halos araw araw binabakbakan ako ng mga komentarista nila. Diba? Kung papaburan nila ako eh di mas madali â€˜yung pupurihin ako araw araw ng mga komentarista nila.â€
(How could ABS-CBN possibly favor me? Their commentators are criticizing me almost everyday. Right? If they would favor me, it would be easier if their commentators would praise me everyday.)
â€œGanon na ba kababaw ang mga alegasyon ngayon? Parang leakage? Parang college? Kung sino man gumawa noâ€™n hindi ba kayo nahihiya noâ€™n?â€ he said.
(Are allegations now too shallow? Like leakage? Like in college? Whoever did that, arenâ€™t you ashamed?)
Roxas then told reporters that even the media could tell whether he was giving a prepared statement or not, given that he had been in the political limelight for almost 20 years.
â€œKayo you all come from major news organizations. You know every utterance Iâ€™ve had over the last 20 years. Hindi ba consistent? Hindi ba parehas ang aking mga posisyon? Hindi naman nagbabago ah (Isnâ€™t it consistent? Are my positions different? It does not change),â€ said Roxas.
A day after the debate, the administration candidate, with his running mate Camarines Sur Rep. Ma. Leonor â€œLeniâ€ Robredo, attended the â€œLiga ng mga Barangayâ€ assembly of some 3,000 local officials in Central Luzon provinces. They were joined by President Benigno Aquino III and some LP senatorial bets.
The presidential candidates in the Commission on Elections (Comelec)-sanctioned debate held in Pangasinan were asked about public transport, job security, health, foreign policy, basic public education, overseas Filipino workersâ€™ (OFW) concerns and peace in conflict areas.
While Roxas earned praises for his performance, some questioned his preparedness and the quality of his answers that â€œlooked scripted.â€
A video of a segment in the debate that showed the caption â€œRoxas: Binangga ko ang mga malalaking interes (I went against huge interests)â€ that appeared on screen even before Roxas said statement is making rounds online.
But based on the complete video of the debate, Roxas merely repeated his earlier statement on him standing up against pharmaceutical and banking giants to push for the cheaper medicines act and the pre-need law before the caption appeared.
Another post is also going viral on social media, criticizing ABS-CBN moderator Karen Davila favoring Roxas based on her line of questioning for the former interior secretary. (Inquirer.net)