MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – As the race heats up for the May polls, candidates’ promises, platforms, and where they stand on the biggest issues facing the country invite greater public scrutiny.
Fifty candidates are vying for 12 Senate seats that are up for grabs. They are a mix of new names, fresh faces, and political veterans.
To help voters make informed decisions on their Senate bets, Rappler and its partner organizations provide relevant content and conversations to help voters assess the candidates’ plans and platforms and gauge their capabilities as potential future leaders of the country.
On Friday, April 8, Rappler will kick off its #TheLeaderIWant Senatorial Debates. It will be held at the AMA University and Colleges in Quezon City from 3 pm to 5:30 pm.
For the first leg of the debates, the following senatorial candidates are set to take the hot seat:
- Carlos Jericho Petilla, former energy secretary and ex-governor of Leyte and an advocate for access to energy
- Lawyer Levito Baligod, former counsel of pork barrel scam whistleblower Benhur Luy and an anti-corruption advocate
- Greco Belgica, a pastor and anti-pork barrel advocate, and former councilor in the city of Manila
- Lorna Kapunan, a human rights lawyer widely known for women’s rights and family cases that she handled
- Susan “Toots” Ople, former labor undersecretary and an advocate for the rights of overseas Filipino workers
- Samuel Pagdilao, a former police chief who served in the House of Representatives from 2013 to 2016.
They will be asked questions on 6 topics (see video above):
- Corruption and governance
- Social inequality
- Disasters and climate change
- Foreign policy
- Overseas Filipino workers
- Peace and development in Mindanao
For the first part of the debate, candidates will be given 3 minutes to answer this question: Why are you #TheLeaderIWant?
In the Issues Q & A segment, candidates will have 3 minutes to answer a question chosen by Rappler based on the candidate’s track record and advocacy. Another candidate can comment on the first speaker’s answer for 90 seconds, and the person in the hot seat can present a rebuttal for 90 seconds.
Netizens will also have the chance to pose questions. Rappler will crowdsource questions from the audience.
To be streamed live on Rappler, the debate will reach viewers on nationwide radio via DZRH-Manila and 17 relay stations in the provinces.
On television, viewers can watch it on Media ng Bayan-PTV4’s 14 stations all over the country and DZRH News Television (Channel 18 on Cignal).
Netizens can also follow updates on social media and join in the conversations. As the debate proceeds, you can react to the candidates’ answers by joining Rappler’s online poll, and voting on Rappler’s mood meter on rappler.com/phvote.
The Commission on Election (Comelec) will also conduct a demonstration on how to use the Vote-Counting Machines (VCM).
The next two senatorial debates will be on April 15 at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, and on April 22 at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. – Rappler.com