THE vice presidential leg of the Pilipinas Debates 2016 held Sunday, April 10, at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila garnered mixed reactions from government officials.
Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Francis Escudero, Gregorio Honasan, Antonio Trillanes IV, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., and Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo are seeking the second highest office in the country in the upcoming May 9 elections.
Topics and issues included in the first and only vice presidential debate for the 2016 elections were corruption, poverty, political dynasties, human rights, traffic and other urban issues, internet connectivity, and foreign policy.
For Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., a staunch supporter of the Aquino administration, Robredo bested the other vice presidential candidates.
“I agree with the post-debate analysis and social media views of the netizens that Congresswoman Robredo rendered the most sincere answers, no put-ons, just sheer candor and honesty,” the governor said.
He said Liberal Party vice presidential candidate “provided substance on her answer on how to address poverty, by expanding and strengthening the 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program), and pave the way for more investments for rural development to help farmers, fisherfolk, and others in the marginalized sectors, saying this is also a way to decongest Metro Manila.”
She also scored big in such issues like human rights, corruption, and anti-political dynasty, Marañon said.
The governor said that Cayetano and Marcos stole the show with their heated exchanges on corruption and human rights issues, where emotions ran high.
“Despite that, Robredo argued with reason and challenged Marcos as well to follow the two landmark court rulings in the US and Singapore for his family to return their ill-gotten wealth so that the Martial Law victims will finally be compensated,” Marañon said.
He also said that the debate gave voters the opportunity to hear the views of the vice presidential aspirants on a wide range of issues.
Former governor Rafael Coscolluela, provincial chairman of Friends of Mar and Leni, said that Robredo, without a doubt, won the debate, adding that the congresswoman has “the balls, brains, and heart.”
Everybody studied and nobody embarrassed himself/herself, he added.
He pointed out that “Robredo gave clear and substantive answers. Trillanes was okay. Honasan surprised me while Marcos has many motherhood statements.”
For his part, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, president of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said that Cayetano was aggressive with the issues against his other opponents and that he was every clear in answering the questions.
He pointed out that Cayetano identified himself with the program of government of his presidential runningmate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to show that he belongs to a ticket and that he also had a hand in crafting these platforms.
The Commission on Elections, along with media partners CNN Philippines and Business Mirror, organized the debate.
The third and last presidential debate, which will be hosted by ABS-CBN and Manila Bulletin, will be held on April 24 at the University of Pangasinan in Dagupan City.