2nd debate format a test for candidates, says Comelec
Candidates will be battling each other not only for the best answers but also for good questions to ask during the second round of the presidential debates, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Sunday morning.
Comelec chair Andres Bautista, during a press conference at the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu, said the three-hour program of the second debate will allow the candidates to “expound on the topic(s).”
The second debate, organized by TV5 and Philippine Star, will run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday at the UP Cebu’s Performing Arts Hall, which can seat 500 people. It will have two formats, the first half will involve a panel while the second half will allow candidates to ask each other questions.
Bautista said the audience would want to “compare and contrast” each of the candidates.
“I think that a person is also being assessed not only by the answers that they give but by the questions that they ask,” he added.
Four candidates are expected to participate in the said debate: Vice President Jejomar Binay, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Grace Poe and former secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II. Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago will skip the debate to undergo a clinical trial for a new anti-cancer pill. Despite being diagnosed with lung cancer, the senator decided to run for president in the upcoming May elections.
Patrick Paez, head of TV5 news production, said they held two meetings with the candidates before the camps agreed to the format.
“We can’t say it was easy negotiating with 5 different camps. But happily we were able to agree on a format,” he explained. “All I can say is that all the concerns raised in the past were answered and addressed.”
Bautista said the candidates will also have more time to talk about issues because there would be fewer commercials and longer running time.
“Also because hindi makakarating si Senator Santiago, mas maraming panahon ang mabibigay sa ibang kandidato na dadalo sa second round,” he said.
(Also because Senator Santiago won’t be attending, more time would be given to the candidates participating in the second round.)
The first round of the debates, organized by the Inquirer group and GMA Network, was held last month at Capitol University in Cagayan de Oro City. It was in dual moderator format and tackled the candidates’ track record, peace and order, poverty and agriculture. The second round will include discussions on climate change and disaster risk reduction, education, healthcare and corruption. RAM