MANILA, Philippines – During a senatorial debate labor lawyer and senatorial aspirant Luke Espiritu got into a heated argument with fellow candidates Larry Gadon and Harry Roque.
The participants were asked about their opinion on how will you address the problem of children being used as scapegoats in the commission of grave crimes if ever they win a senatorial post.
During his turn, Espiritu stated that decreasing the age of criminal responsibility is something he opposes. He went on to explain that students should be educated about human rights violations done under the dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ reign as well as essential principles, such as the fact that extrajudicial killings are unacceptable.
Suspended lawyer, Larry Gadon repeatedly attempted to interrupt Espiritu.
“We should not use this forum for a propaganda against the Marcoses,” he said.
Espiritu countered Gadon by citing figures from Amnesty International that recorded thousands of Filipinos tortured and killed during Martial Law.
Still in his argument, Espiritu again got interrupted by Gadon.
Espiritu fired back to Gadon and insisted that it was still his time.
“It’s my time. Huwag kang bastos! (Don’t be rude!)” Espiritu told Gadon.
Former presidential spokesperson and former human rights lawyer, Harry Roque, also joined the heated argument and counter Espiritu.
He backed presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr., claiming to have verified court documents. He further stated that no human rights breaches had been reported in the US.
Espiritu questioned the sudden change of Roque’s political stance and allegiance, regardless of being a human rights lawyer.
“With all due respect to Atty. Harry Roque, I know your history. You were anti-Marcos before. You were for human rights before. You spent your life against the Marcoses. You worked for human rights. And now that you were given a Senate spot under the party of Bongbong Marcos, now you cry hallelujah and praise Marcos,” the senatorial candidate said.
Roque continued with what he is saying and defended the presidential aspirant.
Espiritu is under Leody de Guzman’s senatorial slate, while both Gadon and Roque are under Bongbong Marcos’ slate.
Marcos has still pending disqualification case on Comelec, the case is yet to resolve by the authorities.