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No fireworks during face-off round of presidential debate

/ 09:02 PM April 24, 2016
Presidential aspirants Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Grace Poe, and Maro Roxas. SCREENGRAB FROM ABS-CBN

Presidential aspirants Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Grace Poe, and Maro Roxas. SCREENGRAB FROM ABS-CBN

DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines—Presidential candidates refused to engage in verbal tussle during the face-off round of the final government-sanctioned debate held in this city on Sunday.

Corruption charges or platform?

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Vice President Jejomar Binay chose to snub former Interior secretary Mar Roxas’ challenge to answer accusations of corruption against him.

“Ilang beses ko na sinagot. Wala nang bago d’yan (I have answered that before. There is nothing new there),” he told the ruling Liberal Party’s presidential bet.

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Instead, Binay said he wanted to talk about his platforms.

READ: Presidential bets offer solutions to traffic woes, sea dispute
Roxas tried to coax the vice president into responding by saying, “Tiwala ang nasa sentro ng ating relasyon sa ating taongbayan (At the core of our relationship with the people is trust).”

But Binay replied, “Yung tiwala na makikita mo pagkapanalo ko talagang ‘di mawawalan ng tiwala ang taongbayan (If I win, you will see that the people will not lose their trust on me).”

No malice

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, on the other hand, was sober in his response to Senator Grace Poe’s question about his controversial remark on the Australian missionary who was raped and killed during a hostage-taking in a Davao City detention center in 1989.

READ: Duterte foes pounce on mayor’s rape joke

Duterte initially enumerated what his city has done for women.

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“We do not allow swimsuits. It’s only shorts and beach wear,” he added.

Later he said “there is no malice” in his remarks. “It was just a narration,” he said.

“Pinatay ko lahat na 16 (I killed the 16 of them),” Duterte said, referring to the 16 inmates who held Jacqueline Hamill and other people hostage more than two decades ago.

Poe could only tell him that women would appreciate more respect, even a little restraint.”

Never been false

As expected, Duterte refused to argue with Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, whom he considers a friend.

It would be an “insult to the intellect of everybody to be asking a learned and experienced human being in this planet,” he said.

Duterte eventually asked her, “How are you today?” Santiago replied by talking about battling lung cancer.

“I have been the subject of much propaganda concerning my health. I have never been false to the Filipino people,” she said before discussing her treatment.

Qualified?

As for Roxas, Santiago interrogated him about on his “academic, professional and moral excellence.”

Explaining his professional excellence, Roxas told her, “You would be the best judge as to my capability of understanding the issues.”

Santiago again attempted to provoke Roxas by asking if “the path has been too narrow (for someone with an elitist background) to be president.”

“It is not important how you came into this world. What is important is what you did in this life,” he answered.

Why become American citizen

Binay also tried to engage Senator Grace Poe by again raising the issue of her citizenship.

Couldn’t you have worked in the US without becoming an American citizen? Binay asked her.

Poe, who has renounced her American citizenship before entering public service, said that it is true but added that she did that for her family.

The Vice President taunted her that she was embarrassed of her being a Filipino but Poe argued that changing citizenships does not mean that she did not love the Philippines.

She said living in the US taught her things that could be implemented in the Philippines.

“Mas malawak na ang aking pananaw (My mindset has become wider),” she said.IDL

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TAGS: comelec debate. Jejomar Binay, confrontation, Elections 2016, Grace Poe, Mar Roxas, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Pangasinan debate, Pilipinas debate, Politics, presidential debate, Rodrigo Duterte, verbal tussle
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