We will not see the spectacle of Rodrigo Duterte and his motor mouth spewing out torrents of bullets in a debate with Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas.
The Davao City mayor, now leading in surveys for presidential preference, has dismissed the challenge to debate hurled by Roxas, the standard bearer of the ruling Liberal Party of President Benigno Aquino.
Duterte, who has the habit of dishing out expletives left and right as he travels the route to the presidency in the 2016 elections, said there is no honor debating with a candidate with a franchise over the bottom of surveys.
“The debate would make sense if Roxas improves his rankings in the surveys,” said Duterte over the week-end in a report in GMA’s 24 Oras television news program.
The tough-talking Duterte, candidate of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Laban (PDP-Laban), said he would agree to a face-off only if Roxas climbs to the number 2 spot in the surveys.
In the latest survey by Social Weather Stations (SWS) covering Metro Manila, Duterte led with 38 percent, while Vice President Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) and independent candidate Senator Grace Poe shared the second spot with 21 % each.
A perennial cellar dweller in previous surveys, Roxas trailed the pack with 15 percent, a breath away from fifth placer Senator Miriam Santiago (People’s Reform Party) who had 8 percent.
Duterte and Roxas had locked in a word war and exchanged barbed comments after Roxas said the claim that Davao City is the safest city in the Philippines is a myth.
Taking it as a slur on his iron-fist anti-crime policy, Duterte responded with a threat to slap Roxas if they cross paths.
Roxas belittled Duterte’s threat saying slapping is a womanish and instead challenged the mayor to a fistfight.
Stepping up the verbal scrimmage, Duterte said a gun duel would put closure to the conflict.
Duterte last week smoked the peace pipe by apologizing to Roxas.
But he capped the apology with an explanation that he had mumps and would not engage Roxas in a slapping encounter on advice of his doctor.
Asking if Roxas wear false teeth, Duterte said he was also worried that a fistfight would be physically devastating to the LP candidate.
Lastly, Duterte called off a gun duel saying that Roxas could not even handle a gun.
Apparently, Roxas with his challenge to debate is opening another war front with Duterte.
On Friday last week, Roxas made the challenge after the Commission on Election (Comelec) declared Duterte as a candidate in the 2016 election.