Vice Presidential bet Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano challenged fellow Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero to a one-on-one debate following a statement made by the latter that Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s six-month target to stamp out crime, drugs and corruption is not realistic. Cayetano said that whoever loses in the debate should withdraw.
“To those who lack political will, nothing is possible. But to those who have a clear vision for real change and the strength of character to do what is right, any goal can be accomplished,” Cayetano said as he defended their tandem’s anti-crime and -corruption agenda.
In an interview, Escudero told reporters that Duterte could not possibly fulfill his pledge of ending crime and corruption in just six months. “It can’t be done. Not within his term… The problems are too serious and deeply rooted that these cannot be easily defeated,” Escudero said.
Cayetano, however, stressed that Escudero’s cynical attitude is an illustration of his “lack of conviction” to end the country’s pressing problems.
“With all due respect to Sen. Escudero, I’d like to reiterate what I said before. Failure is guaranteed for those who do not even want to try,” Cayetano noted. “It’s frustrating to see our fellow public servants lack the passion and optimism to change the country. All the while, they continue to offer the same solutions that failed miserably in the past,” he added.
Cayetano said amid the criticisms, he and Duterte stand firm on their commitment to fight crime and corruption in their first few months in office. “It will not be easy, but Mayor Duterte and I are ready to do it. Through our bold solutions, in six months’ time, we can make our streets safe again and cleanse our government of corrupt officials,” he stressed.
This was not the first time Cayetano defended their tandem’s proposed policies against Escudero’s criticisms. Back in January, Escudero also expressed disapproval of Duterte’s call for federalism. He said it would not work well in the Philippine setup, a statement which Cayetano dubbed as a “classic Manila-centric” attitude.
“The very essence of Federalism is to ensure that growth and prosperity are spread to every part of the Philippines, not just in Manila. It’s a pity that Senators Poe and Escudero are against this. Kawawa naman ang ibang parte ng bansa kung sila ang mamumuno,” Cayetano earlier said.#