WINNERS AND LOSERS: The PiliPinas 2016 Vice Presidential Debate

MANILA, Philippines - Better than Pacquiao-Bradley. That’s how the recently vice presidential debate organized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) last Sunday, April 10 went on.

The VP aspirants pose for a short pictorial upon entering the premises of the UST Gymnasium.
Photo credit: Philipine Star online
The overflowing trading of barbs against each other even made the lone vice presidential debate a standout compared to the previously held presidential debates as observed by netizens and political analysts. As it meaty as it can gets, the gymnasium of the University of Santo Tomas was jam-packed with supporters of the six candidates aiming for the second highest post in the land.

With issues ranging from corruption, poverty, economic growth, political dynasties, human rights abuses, Mindanao, crime eradication, transportation woes, foreign policy and even internet connection, the aspiring second-in-command leaders braved the challenge. Let’s see who were in and out during the debate:


WINNERS: Cayetano, Marcos and Robredo nailed it last Sunday at the #PiliPinas2016 VP Debates
WINNERS: Cayetano, Marcos and Robredo nailed it last Sunday at the #PiliPinas2016 VP Debates
Photo credit: CNN Philippines online
1. “I cannot give what I do not have.” - Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

If Binay was the subject of mockery and intense castigation during the last presidential debate, it was the turn of the younger Marcos last Sunday as he was under siege from his fellow candidates. The discussion on corruption alone went approximately for an hour giving Marcos longer media exposure albeit he became the subject of scrutiny.

“I cannot apologize for anyone else, only myself and for what I have done.” – Bongbong on FM’s human rights violations. Source: Youtube online (ChampBlogs).

Anyway, good or bad, Bongbong and his set of followers proved what his contemporaries doesn’t have, that the more he gets hurt, the more he is loved by his loyalists. The machinery of the Marcoses seems to be doing its work properly. Bongbong is truly made for politics but he just really needs to find a way on how to address the issues of corruption against his family and make unbelievers focus on his government platforms instead.

2. “It’s the political leadership that will win the day.” - Senator Allan Peter Cayetano

Knowing that he only got one shot to impress the nation, Cayetano made sure that his voice will not only be heard but will resonate all throughout the program with his scathing remarks headed towards his fellow party-mate Senator Bongbong Marcos.

Pitching federalism and strong political will to solve the country’s predicaments, Cayetano made sure that every minute that was allotted for him will make him a standout and he did. Cayetano remained aggressive in the entirety of the debate, alternately attacking Marcos, the Liberal Party, Aquino administration, Secretary Jun Abaya and of course, Vice President Binay who was at the audience. Although he made quite a good strategy to win the anti-Marcos crowd, his style can also spell the opposite come election day as Marcos is known to reverse any harmful elements to his campaign into an additional asset.

3. “Sa amin pong anim, may the best woman win!” - Congresswoman Leni Robredo

She started softly but the unassuming Camarines Sur representative finally exposed her fierceness and delivered the now famous one-liner “May the best woman win,” implying the looming possibility of winning the election next month against her all-male rivals.

Robredo exuded an aura of confidence and independence from his running mate, former DILG Secretary Mar Roxas by addressing issues with concrete answers and admitting that the current programs of the administration needs to be improved. Instead of making any reference of the works of her late husband Jesse Robredo to impress the crowd, Leni opted to share her own vision of good governance and brought with her solid figures of facts that supported her stance on the issues presented to her in which no other candidates that night did so much.

Some may have hit the target but there’s the other half who could have done better during the debate.

1. “Bilang sundalo po at rebelde, paulit-ulit ko pong itinaya ang aking buhay.” - Senator Gregorio Honasan

The former soldier and leader of coups in the past barely made his presence felt. His apparent composure and deep knowledge on issues solidified his name as one of the veterans of Philippine politics but failed to give outstanding views on issues hurdled on him.

Standing in the podium, Honasan remained mum while his contemporaries were trying to outlast each other and was found by the audience as playing safe as he refrained from attacking them which is the name of the game in a highly publicized debate.

If there’s one highly commendable on his performance that night, it’s the way how he centered on the safety and importance of the Filipino family and the right to live.

2. “Ito po ay tungkol sa inyo, tungkol sa interes at kapakanan ninyo, hindi kung sino ang gwapo at maganda dito sa entablado.” - Senator Francis Escudero.

His proposed solutions to issues may have been commendable but it is undeniable that Escudero needs to step up in the game in the last four weeks of the campaign as his other rivals were able to pushed him out of the picture that night and are now catching up with him in the recent surveys.

Escudero was clearly outshone by the Marcos-Cayetano and Marcos-Robredo clashes, which was very surprising given that the young senator had always that capability to attract the interest of the cameras and the public whenever he wants to in the past.

Like Cayetano, Escudero also tried to remind the public that he is the solely, and officially the chosen running mate of Senator Grace Poe in this election as he tried to mention their tandem most of the time in the platform. This is not so good as the senator should’ve shown himself as more secured being Poe’s preferred partner rather than reiterating to the public that he is indeed her chosen one and not Trillanes who is offering himself as Poe’s alternative tandem.

3. "Ang kailangan po natin ay isang Vice President na buo ang tapang na haharap at babanggain sila." – Senator Antonio Trillanes III.

“Mag-create tayo ng autonomous regions one for central Mindanao and one for Basilan, Sulu & Tawi-Tawi.” Trillanes on Mindanao Source: Youtube online (ChampBlogs)

He’s still the valiant rebel soldier that we knew from the last decade, but Trillanes seems to be losing steam on this campaign and we hope it is not because he failed to secure a presidential running mate.

Known to be fiery and full of conviction, Trillanes was just like the Manny Pacquiao of the debate, perceived as a strong contender but failed to showcase such attribute in that three-hour long program. Instead, it was his fellow Nacionalista Sen. Cayetano who took that role that night, making him a mere second voice.


The debate didn’t only put the candidates into the limelight but also acknowledged the other elements present in the program and here they are:

(Winner) CNN Philippines

As compared to the previous two presidential debates, CNN Philippines presented a more sophisticated stage design and implemented a calmer but strict imposition of rules among the debaters.

CNN Philippines also exuded its characteristic of being the country’s most globalized media outlet as it introduced some of the CNN’s notable news personalities overseas like CNN Asia Pacific Editor Andrew Stevens, to ask the candidates some questions that they need to address according to their proposed platforms.

(Winner) Pinky Webb

The high caliber broadcast journalist who is making a comeback as CNN Philippines’ newest journo successfully passed her baptism of fire by being able to co-handle the debate with maintained composure. As she also headlines the network’s first Filipino-language newscast “Balitaan,” we expect Webb to bring more contribution to the network in terms of formulating its own distinct characteristic to the Filipino audience.

The VP aspirants tried to outsmart each other at the lone VP debate last Sunday.
The VP aspirants tried to outsmart each other at the lone VP debate last Sunday at UST Gymansium.
Photo credit: GMA News TV Online
(Loser) The live audience

Although they added spice to the program, the uncalled jeering of the crowd against the rivals of their supported candidates was disturbing. It can be recalled that the unruly set of audience even started such taunting right at the beginning of the program while Marcos was just having his preliminary talk. Aside from that, the loud hissing of unwarranted comments every now and then just disrupts the airtime allotted for each candidate, making some points heard unclearly.

For those who weren’t able to tuned in during the live event, here’s the full video of last Sunday’s debate.

What’s your opinion? Share it in our comment box!

- Michael Santiago, The Summit Express

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