Vice presidential bet Alan Peter Cayetano yesterday challenged Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero to a one-on-one 30-minute debate following a statement made by the latter that Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte's six-month target to stamp out crime, drugs and corruption, is not realistic.
Cayetano, who was in Silay City, Negros Occidental, as part of his “Ronda-Serye” listening tour, 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 in defense of 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,” said Escudero, who is running for vice president under the ticket of Grace Poe.
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 that 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 that despite 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 said.
Cayetano also said that if elected, he and Duterte, will establish a government that is more responsive to the needs of the marginalized sector, particularly senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
The senator, who met with PWDs and senior citizens in Silay City, said that among the concerns raised were the lack of job opportunities for PWDS and PNoy's decision to veto a bill raising the monthly pension of senior citizens who are Social Security System pensioners.
“What good, is social security if what is being given to our senior citizens cannot even meet their barest needs?” Cayetano said.
If elected, he said he and Duterte will make the SSS pension hike measure a priority.
He earlier signed a resolution to express the sense of the Senate to override Aquino's veto.*
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