World-class debaters to adjudicate candidates on Rappler panel
World-class debaters to adjudicate candidates on Rappler panel
The live panel includes former UP Diliman team captain Nicole Curato, Worlds Finals adjudicator Joan de Venecia, and Asian Grand Champion Glenn Tuazon

MANILA, Philippines – A panel of some of the country’s best debaters and adjudicators will be assessing the performance of presidential candidates on Sunday, March 20 during Rappler’s coverage of the second presidential debate to be held in Cebu City.

The panel includes Joan de Venecia, Worlds Finals adjudicator, bar topnotcher and now a professor at the University of the Philippines College of Law. She will be joined by Rappler contributor Nicole Curato, former captain of the UP Diliman Debate Society, now a research fellow at the Center for Deliberative Democracy in Canberra and one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men in the field of sociology. Completing the panel is Glenn Tuazon, two-time Asian Best Speaker, Asian Debate Grand Champion, now an associate at Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & de Los Santos. (READ: Cebu presidential debate: The Rappler coverage)


The second presidential debate organized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will start at 5 pm on Sunday and will be aired live on TV5, the television partner of Comelec for this debate.

More than an hour before, or at 3:30 pm, Rappler will start its live blog that will contain useful and relevant information that will help voters assess candidates and better appreciate issues that will be tackled on Sunday: disaster response and climate change, health care, education, women’s rights, and fighting corruption. (READ: Watch, comment, vote, share: Weigh in on the Cebu debate)

Rappler’s panels from Manila and Cebu will go live at 4 pm, an hour before the debate.

No speed dating, please

Curato, who is now co-writing a presidential profile series with Rappler reporter Patricia Evangelista, stressed the importance of presidential debates.

“It exposes the leader’s logic and their capacity to explain and inspire. It also gives a unique window to a candidate’s character especially under pressure.” 

Curato earlier made public her dissatisfaction with the previous Comelec-sanctioned debate held in Cagayan de Oro, describing the event as “speed dating.”

Tuazon, who is also among the top ten speakers of the Jessup Moot Court International Rounds, says he expects a debate that emphasizes “differences in opinion and platform,” given how the first debate “had a lot of moments where the candidates simply agreed with each other.”

De Venecia also addressed the need to delineate positions and “see a real clash in the candidates’ respective positions,” as well as “an articulation of their governance philosophy and ethos through more developed and discussed argumentation, unlike the surface, motherhood statements that characterized the first debate.”

“I would hope for less rote memorization,” she said, “in favor of a more spontaneous, gut-level explanation of what informs their respective beliefs and proposed programs. In other words, I hope to get a glimpse of what moves each candidate, what they’re passionate about, and why they want to run.”

Best speaker per round

The adjudication panel will comment live from the Rappler studio in Manila after every debate round.

Candidates will be judged according to the traditional debate standards of matter (what the speaker knows – the arguments and supporting evidence), manner (how the speaker presents arguments and engages with opponents) and method (the logic and structure of the speeches).

Panelists will select a best speaker after each round, as well as a best speaker for the entire debate.

At the same time, Rappler’s teams in Cebu and Manila will provide breaking news, quick fact checks, expert commentary, and instant videos.

We have rolled out an array of polls and social media executions that will allow readers and followers like you to join in the discussion wherever you are. –



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