Dispute on Binay’s notes mars second presidential debate
The second presidential debate was delayed for more than an hour after a “miscommunication,” TV5 admitted on Sunday.
It was later revealed that Vice President Jejomar Binay brought notes, which is in violation of the senate rules penned by the Commission on Elections.
Luchi Cruz-Valdes, the debate moderator, said “There has been some [miscommunication] regarding the debate rules of today.”
“We take full responsibility. We would really like to deeply apologize to the candidates, to the teams of the candidate, to you, the live audience,” she said as she addressed the crowd inside the University of the Philippines Cebu’s Performing Arts Hall.
“We are still trying to resolve this miscommunication issue. We will start as soon as the miscommunication is reached,” she said, several minutes before 6 p.m.
The debate was supposed to start at 5 p.m. and end at 8 p.m.
Right after she left, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Grace Poe went on stage to talk to the audience. They were followed by former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II. The three candidates made jokes about each other and the cause of the delay.
Binay was not seen on stage, while Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago earlier said she would skip the debate to undergo a clinical trial for a new anti-cancer pill.
After several minutes, Cruz-Valdes, Binay and his team went out to face the audience.
Cruz-Valdes issued another statement and apologized for the delay of the 2nd presidential debate because she told the Binay camp that their candidate could bring notes.
“I would like to issue an apology in behalf of TV5. There has been a serious miscommunication, the miscommunication being that the Comelec rules have initially stated at the outset that there should be no notes or documents to be brought by the candidates during the debate,” Cruz-Valdes said during an off-air segment before the actual debate.
Cruz-Valdez said she was not informed about the rule.
“And about four or five days before the debate today, Congressman Toby called me up to ask whether the VP could bring notes. And in my earnest desire to be sure that all of the candidates will be present, and not thinking there was such a rule, I did say, I think so, of course,” she explained.
Cruz-Valdes said she later checked and “was told there was no rule.”
“And now (Comelec) chairman Andy said that this was a rule from the get-go. Because of this, all the other candidates have expressed their very strong protest against the violation of this rule,” she said.
As the debate was starting, Binay insisted on opening his notes to give a document to Duterte but Cruz-Valdes was quick to say that they would abide by the Comelec rule. With reports from Marc Jayson Cayabyab and Nestor Corrales/RAM/IDL
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