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Gov. Ramil, ER Ejercito snub election forum; 3 independent bets offer ‘solutions’

The absence of the two top candidates for governor at such an important event has not been adequately explained, although Laguna Now learned that Ejercito decided not to attend the event after learning that Hernandez had declined the invitation by the organizers.

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Gubernatorial candidates (from left) Berlene Alberto, Bronson Grajera, and Bro. Rico San Sebastian at the Bantay Halalan Laguna 2019 Gubernatorial Forum at UP Los Baños. (Photo by Jervis Gonzales)

LOS BAÑOS – Reelectionist Laguna governor Ramil Hernandez and his main adversary in the May election, ER Ejercito, were a no-show at the first Laguna Gubernatorial Forum held inside the University of the Philippines Los Baños on Monday, depriving those who attended the opportunity to hear what they have to say about issues concerning the province.

The absence of the two top candidates for governor has not been adequately explained, although Laguna Now learned that Ejercito decided not to attend after learning that Hernandez had declined the invitation by the organizers.

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A few dozen people attended the forum organized by the College of Development Communication of UPLB. Only three candidates out of the nine invited were present and fielded questions from the audience, mostly students. Questions also came in the form of video clips showing Lagunenses asking about specific issues such as social services, minorities, and local industries. The candidates present were Brother Rico San Sebastian, who is running for vice governor, and Berlene Alberto and Bronson Grajera, both running for governor.

The issues tackled were varied and there were no heated arguments throughout the three-hour-long forum that began at 2 pm.

Some takeaways from the forum: San Sebastian, Grajera and Alberto all supported the Duterte government’ “drug war,” particularly the release of the “narco list” by President Duterte, as well as the reimposition of the death penalty. All were concerned about corruption in government and presented their own ideas of addressing it (see separate stories). At least one candidate (Sebastian) expressed disagreement with LGBT rights concerns, saying sex education should not be a priority and that young Lagunenses are better off reading the bible or playing basketball to address sexuality issues.

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Every candidate agreed that Laguna Lake can help alleviate the water crisis in the region. (Laguna Now)


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