Opposition bets on Duterte's best policies: Smoking ban, MSME programs

MANILA, Philippines – Two opposition candidates shared what they felt were some good policies by the Duterte administration during the "fast talk" portion of ABS-CBN's senatorial forum, "Harapan 2019," on Sunday, February 17.

Issues surrounding President Rodrigo Duterte, from his health to his accountability for abuses during his administration, were among the topics during the forum.

Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno was the first opposition candidate who was asked what he felt has been a good policy under the Duterte administration.

"'Yung no smoking (The no smoking policy)," he said, referring to Duterte's executive order prohibiting smoking in public places and requiring establishments and institutions to have designated smoking areas.

Reelectionist Senator Bam Aquino was asked the same question during his turn in a "fast talk" round.

"Sa SMEs, small and medium enterprises, mas maganda 'yung pagpapatakbo ngayon (The SMEs, small and medium enterprises, are being run better now)," he said.

In the forum's "fast talk" portion, candidates had to keep their answers short as they were asked several questions in quick succession.

Duterte health, jail time

Meanwhile, Willie Ong, a doctor running for senator, thinks Malacañang should be more transparent about Duterte's health.

"Yes, para malaman ng taumbayan. Sa tingin ko healthy naman siya," he said. (Yes, so that the people know. I think he is healthy anyway.)

Ong had been asked the question, "Dapat bang isapubliko ang estado ng kalusugan ng Pangulo?" (Should the President's state of health be made public?)

Another question related to Duterte's welfare was directed at Diokno.

He was asked who he would save from a sinking ship – Duterte or House Speaker and former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo?

After chuckling at the humor in the question, Diokno smiled and said, "Ako na lang (I'll just save myself)."

Former solicitor general Florin Hilbay was also asked a question about Duterte.

Does he think the President should be sent to jail?

"Pagkatapos ng due process, husgahan siya ng isang hukom (After due process, a judge should hand down a decision on him)," said Hilbay. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.