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Cayetano on VP debate: Opportunity to contrast myself vs other bets

Pia Ranada
Cayetano on VP debate: Opportunity to contrast myself vs other bets
Alan Peter Cayetano feels 'like a new graduate' – half-excited and half-concerned about the upcoming Comelec debate

MANILA, Philippines – “Half-excited, half-concerned.” This is how Senator Alan Peter Cayetano describes how he feels about the vice presidential debate to be held on Sunday, April 10.

The running mate of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is ready to make the most of the only vice presidential debate to be organized by the Commission on Elections. The debate will be hosted by CNN Philippines and BusinessMirror at the University of Santo Tomas. 

“Continuous prayers. [I’m] half-excited because it’s an opportunity to really contrast myself with the other candidates,” said Cayetano before a tourism forum in Pasay City on Friday, April 8. 

One of his differences from other candidates that he wants to highlight during the debate is his commitment to fighting corruption.

“We all say we fight corruption, but when there are hearings, how many of us are there? It’s usually me and Sonny Trillanes who are left in those hearings. Everyone says they will fight even their uncle, a member of their party, but when there are hearings in Senate, Congress, they are not there,” he said in Filipino.

But Cayetano said he is also “half-concerned” because he expects his rival candidates to put up a good fight. (READ: 10 things to know about Alan Peter Cayetano)

“On the other hand, these are very qualified people. I know they’re practicing, they have many resources,” he said. 

The senator said he feels the excitement and trepidation of a new graduate.

Parang new graduate. Tuwang-tuwa ka mag-graduate, pero may trabaho ba ako bukas, mahirap ba humanap ng trabaho? You don’t know what to expect, what kind of questions, who will go after each other?” he told the media.

(It’s like being a new graduate. You are so happy to graduate, but will I have a job tomorrow, is it hard to find a job?)

But one thing is for sure: “Definitely, hindi ako magdadala ng notes kasi kawawa ‘yung nagdadala ng notes (I won’t bring notes because the guy who brings notes is pitiful).” he said, referring to the experience of Vice President Jejomar Binay during in the Cebu presidential debate in March.

Cayetano’s brother Ren told Rappler that the senator is preparing for the debate the same way he prepares for Senate hearings.

“[He] studies the issues and gets briefed by his staff,” he said.

Cayetano has been dubbed “everybody’s critic” after making his mark in publicly scrutinizing top government officials suspected of corruption.

He was among the most aggressive interrogators during the Senate hearings on corruption charges against Binay.

As chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, Cayetano led the Senate investigations into the NBN-ZTE deal and fertilizer scam, two of the biggest corruption scandals that plagued the administration of the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.  Rappler.com

Read about other vice presidential candidates’ debate preparations:

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.