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‘Debate shouldn’t descend into shouting match’

antonio trillanes-jejomar binay

Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV and Vice President Jejomar Binay. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

MANILA, Philippines–The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay said it didn’t want the much-awaited debate between Binay and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV over the corruption allegations against the former to descend into a shouting match.

This is the reason they have been working with the Kapisanan ng Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP), which has offered to organize the event, to ensure that there would be ground rules that both camps have to observe, they said.

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“The public deserves a discourse that is elevated to the level that is truthful and scholarly,” said Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, Binay’s political spokesperson.

It was Binay who challenged Trillanes to a public debate on the allegations of corruption against him that surfaced in a Senate blue ribbon subcommittee investigation into the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building II that was built when the Vice President was mayor of Makati City.

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The senator has accepted Binay’s challenge.

In a phone interview, Remulla said he had been meeting with KBP officials concerning their proposals on the conduct of the debate. He said the KBP was also meeting separately with representatives of Trillanes.

Remulla made it clear that the debate could only happen after Nov. 12 because Binay’s schedule was full up to that time. He said Binay would be travelling to Lucena and Bicol this week, but his people would be “fine-tuning” his schedule this weekend.

The Cavite governor underscored the need for debate ground rules to keep things from getting out of hand.

One of the Binay camp’s proposals is for the debate to be moderated by law college deans as they believe the latter would be “scholarly and neutral.”

Remulla also said they were proposing that the opposing camps do without their cheering squads. Bringing their own people to the debate where they are likely to “cheer and jeer” each other might not be the best idea, he said.

Remulla cited as an example an election campaign debate in 2010 between then Manila Mayor Alfred Lim and rival mayoral candidate Joseph Estrada which turned rowdy because of the reactions of the rival candidates’ respective supporters. The two candidates also began playing to the crowd, he said.

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“We want it to be neutral. No cheering or jeering,” he said.

But the debate will be open to media coverage, he said.

“We want a real honest-to-goodness debate,” Remulla said, claiming that this has never been done before.

Asked whether what he said earlier that there would be no immunity from suits in the debate between Binay and Trillanes still applied, he said yes.

Remulla earlier warned that Trillanes that he had better support with evidence anything he says against Binay during the debate or they would file charges against him.

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TAGS: Antonio Trillanes IV, Binay-Trillanes debate, debate, Jejomar Binay, Politics, public debate
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