“One of Asia’s premier debating institutions today called on Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III to accept the debate challenge of Akbayan Youth Chairperson Leloy Claudio.
The Ateneo Debate Society (ADS) made this statement after Claudio and his group challenged Sotto to defend his statements against the Reproductive Health Bill, particularly the senator’s controversial statement trivializing women who die every day due to pregnancy-related causes.
“The ADS believes that Mr. Sotto should accept the offer issued by one of our alumni. If he’s confident in his ideas then he should be able to defend them,” said ADS President Job de Leon.
De Leon offered to host the debate in the Ateneo de Manila University, should Sotto accept.
“The ADS has vast experience in hosting debate tournaments and academic forums,” said de Leon. “And there will definitely be an audience eager to hear what the senator has to say.”
De Leon said the debate challenge aims to promote discourse and greater youth involvement.
“The Ateneo community and its students are invested in this critical piece of legislation. It would be a shame if Sotto passed on this opportunity to engage the academic community,” he said.
ADS said Claudio is one of the most decorated Asian debaters in history. The group said he is a three-time national champion, three-time Asian champion, and one of the few local debaters to advance in the World Universities Debate Championship.
Last Thursday, Akbayan youth challenged Sotto to a debate on the reproductive health bill. The youth group requested the lawmaker to refrain from “Iskul bukol” arguments and raise the level of discourse concerning the RH bill.