Puwede akong mag-referee [I can be the referee].”
This was the reaction, albeit in jest, of Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to presidential aspirants Manuel Roxas 2nd and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte eventually squaring off in a slapping match.
Marcos gave this statement on Tuesday night when asked by reporters for his comment on the raging verbal tussle between the two rivals after he spoke at the 63rd National Assembly of the League of Vice Governors of the Philippines held at Marriot Hotel in Pasay City (Metro Manila).
Turning serious, he said the exchange of harsh words between contenders is not unusual during elections especially in a presidential contest.
Marcos added that he expects that accusations by rival candidates against each other will intensify when the campaign period sets in.
“Pero sa ngayon nga medyo light-hearted pa rin. I think when the campaign period begins, magiging mas seryoso ang palitan ng comments sa isa-t isa [But now, it is still light-hearted. When the campaign period begins in February, the exchange of comments will be more serious],” he said.
The latest controversy involving the two presidential candidates arose from Duterte saying Roxas–the candidate of the ruling Liberal Party (LP)–did not graduate from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Economics.
The Davao mayor said Roxas can slap him if he was not telling the truth but that the administration standard-bearer will get it from him if he was.
The LP standard-bearer insisted that he indeed is a Wharton alumnus.