Bello causes stir, riles fellow VP bets in CNNPH debate

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 26) — Vice presidential candidate Walden Bello caused a commotion in the CNN Philippines debate, catapulting him to the top trending Twitter topics on Saturday.

The former lawmaker took the opportunity to blast his opponent Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and her running mate presidential Bongbong Marcos for their absence in debates, including the ones being conducted by CNN Philippines.

In two heated moments, Bello hurled expletives on live television against Duterte — calling her a coward. He then used his closing remarks to criticize what he described as the Marcos-Duterte tandem's lack of respect for Filipino voters.

"I think the main problem that we face is the Marcos-Duterte tandem. I think they just spat on the face of the Filipino people telling them that you are not worth my giving you our programs because they have no f***ing programs," he said.

Bello also went on full attack mode against his other opponent, Senate President Tito Sotto. On different occasions, he accused the veteran lawmaker of being a turncoat now after supporting the questionable programs of President Rodrigo Duterte for most parts of his term.

The former Akbayan party-list representative questioned Sotto's hand, as the head of the Senate, in the the Anti-Terrorism Act, the Public Service Act, and the Foreign Investment Act, among others.

"Wag ho tayong mag-rewrite ng history kasi lahat naman ng key legislative na itinulak ni President Duterte, who was the biggest backer? It was Mr. Sotto," he said. "He never dissented from any major legislation kaya ho hindi independent ang kandidatong ito."

[Translation: Let us not rewrite history because every key legislation pushed by President Duterte, who was the biggest backer? It was Mr. Sotto. He never dissented from any major legislation so he is not an independent candidate.]

Bello also raised Sotto's inaction when human rights abuses were allegedly committed in the administration's bloody war on drugs.

"You were an ally of the President, until just very recently. Let's be frank with our kababayan naman, huwag tayong magsisinungaling dito [Let's be frank to our countrymen, let's not lie]," Bello added.

The VP candidate also sparred with Sotto and Sen. Kiko Pangilinan over what he called their pro-United States response to China's incursions in the West Philippine Sea.

His microphone was temporarily turned off for interrupting his fellow candidates, going against debate rules that all participants earlier agreed upon.

Sotto later jokingly said he believes he got the heat from Bello because Mayor Duterte was not around.