MANILA -- Senator Manny Villar and Loren Legarda backed out of the Harapan tandem one-on-one debate because of Legarda's poor ratings in the recent vice presidential, according to Liberal Party director general Chito Gascon.

Gascon called the Nacionalista Party tandem cowards for not facing Senators Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas in the debate.

The Harapan vice presidential debates of ABS-CBN last week showed that most participants in the Wireless Audience Response System believed Roxas while the least number of them believed Legarda.

Gascon said that Villar and Legarda were supposedly going to watch a rock concert they have agreed to attend before the debate was scheduled.

“Ang Harapang ito ay mahalagang pagkakataon para mamalas sana ng publiko kung sino ang mas mahusay at matibay ang prinsipyo. Makakatulong sana ito para makagawa ng matalinong desisyon ang ating mamboboto. Hindi magagawa ‘yan ng isang rock concert,” he said.

ABS-CBN was reportedly disappointed by Villar and Legarda's decision. (Angela Casauay/Sunnex)