Cebu City, Philippines -- The second wave of the three-part debate series for the country’s presidential contenders is a “blockbuster” in its own right.
Held in the University of the Philippines in Cebu City on Sunday, March 20, the PiliPinas Debates started off with a one-and-a-half-hour delay due to arguments on the "no-notes" policy set by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Vice President Jejomar Binay, standard-bearer of the United Nationalist Alliance, initially insisted to bring documents to the debate floor, citing a text exchange between his team and TV5 news executive Luchi Cruz-Valdes who told them documents are allowed in the debate.
Valdes, however, acknowledged she made a mistake and apologized, reiterating the Comelec's rule.
Despite the long wait, Filipino viewers remained glued to their screens and their social media accounts.
In an Inquirer report (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/775703/roxas-most-discussed-bet-on-facebook-during-2nd-debate), 2.6 million interactions have been generated out of the 1.3 million people who actively participated in discussions on Facebook.
Around 400 thousand tweets have been tallied after the debate, according to GMA News Research. (http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/559811/news/nation/vp-binay-gets-most-twitter-mentions-during-debate-s-delay)
The PiliPinas Debates 2016 is the only debate series administered by Comelec since 1992, after four presidential elections.
Poe and Binay duel
When the debate proper finally rolled, heated exchanges between Binay and Poe immediately ensued, lasting for about 10 minutes.
Panelist and TV5 host Lourd de Veyra asked Binay what he would do about the graft cases filed against his son, dismissed Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, if he becomes president.
Binay answered, “In God’s eye and in the law of men, my son did not sin... We must be a government with a rule of law."
Poe found fault in Binay's “rule of law” statement, citing the latter’s disobedience of the debate rules.
Binay quickly shot back at Poe, questioning her allegiance to the country after she renounced her Filipino citizenship in 2001, when she was naturalized as a United States citizen.
Poe eventually took an Oath of Allegiance to the Philippines in 2006 and renounced her US citizenship in 2010.
Binay argued, “In your Oath of Allegiance, it says ‘I abjure’…and what does it mean? I am ashamed of where I came from.”
At this point, the two talked over the other, each pursuing their own arguments.
Poe defended herself, proclaiming that staying in the country and stealing from its coffers is worse.
To which Binay retorted, “Were you referring to me?”
Poe drew laughs from the live audience when she quipped, “Did I say it was you?”
Two days after the debate, the latest Pulse Asia survey on the May 2016 elections came out.
Poe topped the poll with a voter preference of 26%, followed by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte with 25%. Binay comes in third with 22%.
Considering the ±1.5% error margin, the top spot was a statistical tie between the two presidentiables.
The survey also asked the 4,000 respondents who their alternative choice for president is other than their original chosen candidate.
Poe emerged as top alternative choice, followed by Binay.
The poll was conducted between from March 8 to 13.
Related story here https://kami.com.ph/121-duterte-poe-tied-latest-pulse-asia-survey.html
Photo credits VP Binay Blakegripling ph
Photo credits Sen Grace Poe