How do VP bets think they fared in UST debate?
MANILA, Philippines – Half of the 6 vice presidential candidates believe they performed well during the only VP leg in the PiliPinas Debates 2016 series held at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion on Sunday, April 10.
"I think it was opportunity for me na masabi ko 'yung where I stand on issues. Mukhang 'yung supporters naman namin ay masaya, so mukhang okay," Camarines Sur 3rd District Representative Leni Robredo told reporters at the end of the debate.
(I think it was the opportunity for me to say where I stand on issues. Our supporters looked happy, so I think I did okay.)
She said that while she felt the candidates' speaking time was quite short, she is satisfied because she was able to raise the questions she wanted to ask her opponents. (WATCH: Vice presidential bets square off in heated UST debate)
Among these were queries targeting Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr, who was repeatedly criticized during the debate over the human rights violations and corruption that occurred during martial law.
Despite these, the son of the late dictator thinks he had a good performance.
"I think I did alright, in terms of being able to give the message as to what our programs are, we were able to do that. And we were also able to provide entertainment for those who watched," said Marcos.
Senator Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan II refused to grant interviews with the media after the debate, but later told Rappler on Monday, April 11, that he was able to achieve what he wanted to accomplish: to put a spotlight on his party, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
"One thing for sure [is that] I believe that I was able to relate my answers to every question and issue raised to the platform of UNA, which the VP (Vice President Jejomar Binay) and I represent," Honasan said in a text message.
"And collectively, with all the other candidates, [the debate] helped educate voters for the coming May elections and beyond," he added.
The debate was organized by the Commission on Elections, CNN Philippines, BusinessMirror, and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas.
Mudslinging expected, Marcos says
One highlight of the VP debate was the candidates grilling Marcos about his late father's regime – from the martial law victims to the Marcos family's alleged ill-gotten wealth.
Marcos, who remains a strong contender in election surveys, said he expected this.
"Alam mo, matagal na rin ako sa trabahong ito e. Sanay na tayo diyan, sa ganyang klaseng pambabatikos. Kagaya ng aking sinasabi, kapag ikaw ay nangunguna, talagang asahan mong hahatakin ka ng iba. Magandang sign din 'yun, kaya ako ay nagpapasalamat sa atensyon sa akin," he said.
(I've been in this job for a long time already. I'm used to this kind of remarks. Like what I've always said, when you're leading, others will pull you down. That's a good sign, too, that's why I'm thankful for the attention they've been giving me.)
Marcos was also not surprised when 5 members of the Youth Alliance Against the Return of the Marcoses heckled him as he began delivering his opening statement.
"Pero mula sa umpisa ng kampanyang ito, hindi ako sumasang-ayon sa ganyang klaseng pamumulitika at pangampanya (But since the beginning, I do not agree with that kind of politics and negative campaigning)," he said.
According to Robredo, being frustrated by Marcos' answers during the debate "may even be an understatement."
She said not even the senator's Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth is enough to answer the issues he is facing.
"Mas inaasahan ko sana mas maging bukas, kasi ngayon mas ino-offer niya 'yung sarili niya sa taongbayan para maging vice president. Hindi naman puwedeng inooffer niya 'yung sarili niya sa taongbayan tapos hindi na siyang nagiging bukas kung ano talaga 'yung nangyari," said Robredo, whom netizens picked as the overall debate winner in Rappler's poll.
(I was hoping he would be more open now that he's offering himself to the people as the next vice president. It's impossible for him to offer himself and at the same time refuse to see what really happened.)
Another vice presidential hopeful, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, set the tone of the debate by being aggressive in hitting Marcos from the get-go even while they belong in the same Nacionalista Party. (READ: Cayetano hits Marcos: Your family stole $10 billion)
Cayetano, whom Rappler editors picked as the overall winner, did not grant interviews with the media after the debate.
'Let the people decide'
Senators Francis "Chiz" Escudero and Antonio Trillanes IV were more careful to give an assessment of their debate performance, saying only the voters can gauge how they did.
"You tell me kasi kayo talaga 'yung nakapanood so aabangan namin 'yan, kung ano talaga 'yung reaksyon ng mga kababayan natin, but primarily at least, nakilala kaming lahat. Magandang behikulo ito na makilala kami, kung ano 'yung mga posisyon namin sa issues," Trillanes said.
(You tell me because you were able to watch the debate, so we'll check what the people have to say about it. But primarily at least, we were able to introduce ourselves. It was a good vehicle for people to know our positions on issues.)
Trillanes added that he did not plan to hit Binay during the debate, saying he was merely replying to Marcos' claims that the year-long Senate probe against the Vice President was just done out of politics.
Like Trillanes, Escudero said he would leave the judgement to the people.
"Siguro tao ang dapat manghusga pero 'di ako naniniwala na bagaman nakakaaliw panoorin ang bangayan, batikusan sa pagitan ng mga kandidato, sa dulo, hindi tungkol sa mga kandidato ang eleksyon; tungkol sa inyo, tungkol sa ating mga kababayan," said Escudero.
(Perhaps we should let the people decide, but I believe that even if the debate was entertaining to watch, in the end, the election is not about the candidates; it's about the people.)
His wife Heart Evangelista said she is proud of Escudero.
"Okay naman. Nakakastress pala 'yung ganun. It's my first time na ma-experience 'yun (I didn't realize it would be stressful. It's my first time to experience this)," Evangelista said. "But I’m proud of him for keeping his cool, and I think we need that." – Rappler.com
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