Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano and Camarines Sur representative Leni Robredo grilled Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. during the first and only vice presidential debate for the PiliPinas Debates 2016 held this Sunday, April 10, 2016 at the Quadricentennial Pavillon of the University of Santo Tomas. Watch the full video below, as aired at CNN Philippines.
Just a few hours after Manny Pacquiao had his last fight and won against Timothy Bradley, Senators Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV, Gringo Honasan joined Cayetano, Robredo, and Marcos in the VP debate, as organized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), CNN Philippines and Business Mirror, with the hashtag #PiliPinasDebates2016
Moderated by Pinky Webb and Pia Hontiveros, all the six vice presidentiables were asked about their plans against the major problems in the country if they are elected. As expected, the topic of corruption and human rights violation badly hit Bongbong Marcos, being the son of the late president Ferdinand Marcos who was accused of such.
Cayetano, the running mate of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo ‘Rody’ Duterte, drew the first blood by questioning Marcos on his alleged involvement in the Napoles pork barrel scam and the alleged ill-gotten wealth of his family. Sen. Marcos was then interrupted several times by protesters who joined the audience and shouted, “Never again.”
Escudero, Sen. Grace Poe’s running mate, said that corruption can be stopped by the passing of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, which will force all public officials to be transparent about their spendings. All throughout the debate, we cannot help but notice his pa-cute smiles, and only got serious when the topic of political dynasty was raised.
Honasan, the running mate of Vice President Jejomar Binay, did not give clear details on how he can improve economic growth except that this requires a lot of planning. Nevertheless, the retired Philippine Army officer and one of the key personalities during the 1986 EDSA Revolution was also careful when political dynasty was tackled.
On the other hand, Trillanes, who has no running mate, noted that political dynasty is not just about having the same family name, but also if those politicians are corrupt or not. Nevertheless, he reminded the public that he do not belong to the family of politicians. He also mentioned being a huge critic of Binay, who was in the audience.
We must admit, Leni Robredo surprised us for having enough courage to grill Bongbong Marcos, especially on the issue of human rights violation. Although not as sarcastic as Cayetano, the widow of Jesse Robredo was firm when she said that the alleged Marcos ill-gotten wealth should be returned back to the Filipinos.
Robredo was also confident that the PNoy administration has helped improve the economy of the Philippines, and vowed to continue the its programs if elected. She did not deny being new in politics, but was proud of her bills. The LP vice presidentiable also questioned Escudero and Marcos why they did not support the increase of ‘sin tax.’
Interestingly, only Cayetano gave a ‘Yes’ answer to death penalty to convicted corrupt officials. Nevertheless, he agreed with all the other vice-presidentiables when it comes to opposing same-sex marriage. However, Robredo said she is favor of civil union. To help solve worst traffic in Metro Manila, all of them agreed to decongest the city.
But if there’s one thing very noticeable, Bongbong Marcos has maintained his composure despite being grilled by Cayetano and Robredo. He even laughed at some point, and reiterated that his innocence in the allegations to his father. “I cannot give what I do not have,” Marcos said, noting that he will only apologize if he did something wrong.
So, who won the vice-presidential debate 2016? If we are talking about being firm on promises and being tough, we think Sen. Cayetano won. But in terms of the X factor and giving surprises, we give it to Leni Robredo. We also commend Sen. Bongbong Marcos for being calm and focused on conveying his plans if he wins the election.