Binay says ad breaks in debate ‘too long,’ asks Comelec to take control
TANAUAN CITY — Vice President Jejomar Binay has said he will ask the Commission on Elections to take sole sponsorship of the presidential debates as he criticized the long commercial breaks during the first event staged in Cagayan de Oro City on Sunday.
Binay, in an interview during a campaign sortie in Batangas province on Wednesday, said: “Mas mahaba pa ang commercial kaysa sa malaman kung ano ang dapat malaman sa kandidato (Commercial breaks were longer than the time given to candidates to introduce themselves and their programs),” said Binay, the standard bearer of the United Nationalist Alliance.
He said accommodating too many television commercials only showed that the organizers’ interest was “to generate income through sponsors.” For this, he said, he would write the Comelec to ask the poll body to stage the debate using its own resources and not rely on commercial media organizations.
The first leg of the Comelec-sponsored debate was co-organized by GMA Network and the Philippine Daily Inquirer. This was aired live over GMA 7 on Sunday afternoon from Cagayan de Oro.
Other broadcast and print media organizations are co-organizing the Visayas and Luzon legs of the presidential debates. Binay said the debate format should be improved because candidates were not given enough time to defend their positions on various issues. He also noted that some of the questions were off topic.
“During the first round, moderators told us that we would talk about track record, our accomplishments. Instead, they asked me about properties that I inherited and bought,” he said.
Binay, a lawyer and former mayor of Makati City, said he was asked about his position on political dynasty but none about his track record.
Binay’s family has been embroiled in controversies involving the acquisition of several properties, among them the so-called “Hacienda Binay” in Rosario town, also in Batangas.
While he has been saying that he came from a poor family, Binay, during the debate, said he acquired these properties through inheritance and through his and his wife’s earnings. The Vice President’s wife, Elenita, is a doctor and former mayor of Makati.
At a public market here on Wednesday, Binay told a crowd of mostly senior citizens: “You know, I grew up poor. I experienced poverty.”
Binay said addressing poverty would be his priority program should he win the presidency.
In his 21 years as mayor of Makati City, he said he was able to reduce the number of poor families by improving access to jobs, quality services, health and education. SFM