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2016 PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE #2 IN CEBU
FIREWORKS IN CEBU DEBATE 2 AS PRESIDENTIAL BETS TANGLE ON OFF CAMERA


MARCH 21 -Verbal fireworks flew during the second leg of the PiliPinas Debates 2016 on Sunday in Cebu as four candidates in attendance hurled tirades at each other, both on and off camera.
The debate, held at University of the Philippines-Cebu campus, suffered an almost two-hour delay when a miscommunication happened regarding debate rules. The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay had insisted on bringing documents into the stage, after apparently being allowed by TV5 News and Public Affairs head Luchi Cruz-Valdes, contrary to Commission on Elections rules. The three other candidates – Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Grace Poe, and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas – however, opposed Binay's move. As behind-the-scenes footage later aired by TV5 showed, the parties, including Commission on Elections chairman Andres Bautista, failed to reach an agreement. Valdes later apologized to Binay's camp, saying: "Ako po ay humihingi ng paumanhin publicly kay Mr. VP kasi kami po ang nagbigay pahintulot sa kanila na magdala ng notes. Iyan din po ang dahilan kung bakit naantala ang pagsisimula ng debate na ito." But as the debate went on air, Binay was seen still with his documents at the podium. The behind-the-scenes drama, as it turned out, was a foreboding of what was to happen during the debate proper. READ MORE...RELATED REPORT FROM 5 BETS....

ALSO: Binay on overpricing allegations: Makati entitled to buy 'mamahalin' items


Presidential candidate Vice President Jejomar Binay Sr. on Sunday maintained that he is innocent of the corruption allegations against him during his term as the mayor of Makati City.
At the second-leg of the Pilipinas Debates 2016 held in Cebu City, Binay was asked by fellow candidate, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, to explain a Commission on Audit report supposedly saying that there were irregularities in the Makati City government's purchase of hospital beds and sterilizers during Binay's term as mayor. “Simpleng simple lang po: P16,000 na sterilizer nabili ng Ospital ng Makati, P1.5 million. Meron po kayong ultrasound. Ang isang ultrasound set P1.3 million, yan po ang nasa bill of particulars nung unang sinimulan ang project. Pero ang aktwal na nabili ay P8 million. COA po ang nagsabi niyan at hindi ako,” Roxas said. Binay, however, maintained that the veracity of the COA reports are still in question, especially as no cases has been filed against him in court yet. “Alam mo Mr. Roxas, sa Sandiganbayan, maraming kaso ang natatalo dahil sa yung COA [report] ay hindi nagtatally sa bilang,” Binay said. “Alam mo yung sinasabi ng kaibigan mo na si Senator [Antonio] Trillanes, na 'ayan oh, ang mahal, mahal nito'. Oops, alam mo, we are entitled to buy mamahalin kasi we have the best practice. Hindi sa presyo titignan kung tama ba ang binibili mo,” he added. Parking building Prior to that, Roxas brought up the recent COA report saying that the construction of the P2.28-billion Makati City Hall Building II, also referred as the Makati parking building, was overpriced and did not undergo the proper procedures. READ MORE...RELATED FROM MANILA STANDARD...

ALSO: Roxas on why rivals 'ganged up' on him in debate: 'Sa akin sila takot'


His rivals ganging up against him at one point during the PiliPinas Debates 2016 is a proof that he is the biggest threat in the presidential race, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas told reporters after the second leg of the presidential debate.
"I think nakita naman ninyo eh. Kahit ano pa ang mga survey-survey, ang nangunguna naman dito ay si Mar Roxas. Si Mar Roxas ang napagtulungan eh kaya sa akin silang lahat takot," he explained. During the face-off round, Senator Grace Poe had the chance to ask Roxas about Yolanda and the Mamasapano clash. It was supposed to be a dialogue but Vice President Jejomar Binay and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte wanted to join to grill Roxas. But they were restricted by TV5 head of news and public affairs Luchi Cruz-Valdez who was the debate's moderator. "Para sa akin naman, OK lang iyan. Nakikita ng mga kababayan natin na nasasagot naman natin na may laman at katotohanan, hindi pabola-bola," Roxas said. He also responded to Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s name-calling during the debate. Duterte called him a "pretentious" leader who couldn't handle stress. "Ang pagka-Pangulo hindi nadadaan sa patutsada. Ang pagka-Pangulo hindi nadadaan sa pasiga-siga. Ang pagka-Pangulo nadadaan sa liderato," he said. READ MORE...RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER....

ALSO: Poe takes Mar to task on Mamasapano, Zambo siege: Why should Filipinos trust you?


Why should the Filipino trust you when no less than President Benigno Aquino III didn't trust you in the botched Mamasapano operation and the Zamboanga siege?
Sen. Grace Poe in effect posed this question to administration standard bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II when they faced off in Sunday's presidential debate in Cebu City. Poe, who was the President's first choice to become Roxas' running mate, grilled the former Interior and Transport secretary if his actions during the onslaught of supertyphoon Yolanda, the Zamboanga siege, and the sorry state of Metro Manila's railway system influenced President Benigno Aquino III's decision to keep him out of the loop in the botched Mamasapano operation in January 2015. Roxas countered that the President thought that then suspended Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima had belatedly informed him of the operation aimed at capturing terror suspects Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman. "Kayo mismo ang chairman ng hearing. Hindi nyo mababali ang nangyari dun. Sinabi ni Purisima [na] sinabi ni (ex-PNP Special Action Force chief Getulio) Napeñas na inutusan siya na saka mo na lang sabihan ang dalawa (Roxas and then PNP officer-in-charge Leonardo Espina)," said Roxas, who was interior secretary when the bungled anti-terror operation, which claimed the lives of 44 SAF commandos took place. It was the first time for Poe to take Roxas to task for the Mamasapano incident. Poe had earlier said she will not grill Roxas on the incident when the Senate reopened its investigation on the incident last month. Explaining what transpired in Zamboanga, Roxas said he was there, along with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, for three weeks in September 2013 to supervise the police and military operations against Moro National Liberation Front forces loyal to fugitive Nur Misuari that laid siege on the city. READ MORE...RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN...

ALSO: Duterte, Roxas continue feud in second leg of PiliPinas Debates 2016


Administration standard bearer Mar Roxas and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte continued their quarrel in the second leg of the PiliPinas Debates 2016, as their exchange on peace and order degenerated into personal attacks.
In several instances, Duterte called Roxas pretentious and even a fraud. The former secretary of the interior countered by saying Duterte's brand of justice was one in which falsehoods are taken to be true if the Davao mayor believed them. The heated argument started when Roxas criticized the Davao City mayor for failing to stop criminality in "drug-infested" villages in his jurisdiction. "The secretary has forgotten that he was the DILG secretary. He controls the police. He has administrative control over everybody. Kaming mga mayor we only give guidance to the police," Duterte said. "Nakalimutan siguro ni Mayor ang Local Government Code, kung saan ang mayor po ang chief executive ng isang lugar," Roxas replied. Duterte then went into a tirade on how the government has failed to stop illegal drug operations inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City, where numerous raids have yielded illegal items including drugs. "Alam mo wala kang ginawa. And you are claiming credit that is not yours. Ang mahirap sa iyo Mar, you are a pretentious leader," Duterte declared. Roxas denied the tag, saying arrests were in fact made at the national penitentiary. Wharton issue revived Duterte even revived the issue on Roxas' controversial educational background, particularly on his degree at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. "You are a fraud. You're pretentious. Pati edukasyon mo, sinabi mo Wharton eh di ka pala taga-Wharton," he said. Roxas blasted Duterte for resorting to "name-calling," but went on to describe Duterte's "brand of Duterte justice." READ MORE...RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE...ALSO MALAYA AND TWETS FROM ABS0CBN...

ALSO: UP professor - Debate failed to draw platform-based arguments


JAN ROBERT GO The presidential debate initiated by the Commission on Elections failed anew in eliciting a platform-based conversation, a University of the Philippines educator on Sunday said.
“The candidates have attacked each other's person, which are not necessarily helpful,” Political Science Assistant Professor Jan Robert Go told Philstar.com in an online interview. “I hope the debate did not confuse the people.” READ: Candidates veer away from debate topics to hit rivals The analyst said the presidential candidates had been more preoccupied with “bashing” and “mudslinging” than on answering the questions raised. “If there were attempts from candidates to answer the questions, they managed to reconfigure their answers and give a different response than expected,” Go said.  While the analyst said the candidates had been more in attack mode, they nonetheless managed to reveal their characters in how they asked and answered the questions. READ MORE...RELATED, LAST MONTH'S FIRST DEBATE--4 takeaways and commentary from the Mindanao presidential debate ...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Fireworks in Cebu debate as presidential bets tangle on, off camera

MANILA, MARCH 21, 2016 (GMA NEWS)  Published March 20, 2016 By MARK MERUEÑAS, - Verbal fireworks flew during the second leg of the PiliPinas Debates 2016 on Sunday in Cebu as four candidates in attendance hurled tirades at each other, both on and off camera.

The debate, held at University of the Philippines-Cebu campus, suffered an almost two-hour delay when a miscommunication happened regarding debate rules.

The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay had insisted on bringing documents into the stage, after apparently being allowed by TV5 News and Public Affairs head Luchi Cruz-Valdes, contrary to Commission on Elections rules.

The three other candidates – Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Grace Poe, and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas – however, opposed Binay's move.

As behind-the-scenes footage later aired by TV5 showed, the parties, including Commission on Elections chairman Andres Bautista, failed to reach an agreement.

Valdes later apologized to Binay's camp, saying: "Ako po ay humihingi ng paumanhin publicly kay Mr. VP kasi kami po ang nagbigay pahintulot sa kanila na magdala ng notes. Iyan din po ang dahilan kung bakit naantala ang pagsisimula ng debate na ito."

But as the debate went on air, Binay was seen still with his documents at the podium.

The behind-the-scenes drama, as it turned out, was a foreboding of what was to happen during the debate proper.

READ MORE...

It was not too long after the debate had started when the first blows were thrown by the candidates at each other. Asked about the cases against his son and what he would do about it if he becomes president, Vice President Jejomar Binay said he would respect a court conviction.

"Kaya lang ang bintang, hindi ho iyon ang conviction... Sa Diyos at sa tao, sasabihin ko sa iyo, walang kasalanan ang anak ko. Pero anuman ang maging desisyon, susundin natin. We must be a government with a rule of law," said Binay.

But Poe used Binay's statement against him. "Rule of law? Pero mayroon din tayong rules ngayon na dapat sinunod," Poe said.

Poe also took a swipe at Binay for the latter's insistence on skipping Senate hearings on allegations of irregularities committed by him and his family while he was Makati mayor.

"Importante sana na nakadalo siya sa Senado upang mag-eksplika ng kanyang punto, kung wala namang itinatago," said Poe.

In response, Binay shifted the topic to Poe's citizenship. Poe, a foundling who became a naturalized US citizen in 2001 only to renounce it in 2011, earlier got the nod from the Supreme Court to run for the presidency.

"Hindi ka tunay na Pilipino... Ang issue, ikaw ba ay tunay na Pilipino? Ikinahiya mo nga... iyong oath of allegiance, nandoon ang 'I abjure... ikinahihiya ko ang pinanggalingan ko,'" said Binay.

But Poe responded: "Nandito ka nga nakatira sa bansa pero nangulimbat ka ng pera."

Poe vs. Roxas

Poe turned her sights on Roxas when she criticized the administration for being selective when it comes to prosecuting law offenders. "Napapansin ko kung hindi ka kaalyado, may kaso ka. Kung ikaw ay kaalayado, may project ka. Parang hindi naman tama iyon," she said.

Roxas insisted party alliance is not a factor in the government's prosecution of cases, even as Binay could be heard breaking into laughter. Poe butted in and cited the Department of Transportation and Communications, whose head Secretary Emilio Abaya has been spared from charges over alleged irregularities in the Metro Rail Transit Line 3.

"Ang mga kinakasuhan lang ng LP ay yung mga latak nilang miyembro. Pero ang mga miyembro nilang importante sa kanila, katulad ni Sec. Jun Abaya... ay nandiyan pa rin at hindi man lang kinasuhan ng Ombudsman," she said.

Roxas responded by pointing out that no cases came out of a Senate hearing that Poe headed on the MRT mess. In response, Poe said she filed a recommendation with the Ombudsman, but Roxas said, "Ano ang nangyari ngayon [doon sa recommendation]?"

Roxas vs. Duterte

But perhaps, no duel was more exciting than that between Duterte and Roxas, who had been trading barbs throughout the campaign. The heated argument started when Roxas criticized the Davao City mayor for failing to stop criminality in "drug-infested" villages in his jurisdiction.

The Davao mayor responded: "The secretary has forgotten that he was the DILG secretary. He controls the police. He has administrative control over everybody. Kaming mga mayor we only give guidance to the police."

"Nakalimutan siguro ni Mayor ang Local Government Code, kung saan ang mayor po ang chief executive ng isang lugar," Roxas replied.

Duterte then stressed how the government has failed to stop illegal drug operations inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City, where numerous raids have yielded illegal items and contraband.

"Alam mo wala kang ginawa. And you are claiming credit that is not yours. Ang mahirap sa iyo Mar, you are a pretentious leader," Duterte declared. Roxas denied the tag, saying the fact arrests were made at the national penitentiary supports the government's drive against illegal drugs.

Fraud, weak leader

But Duterte continued with his tirade against Roxas, even reviving the issue on Roxas' controversial educational background, particularly on his degree at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

"You are a fraud. You're pretentious. Pati edukasyon mo, sinabi mo Wharton eh di ka pala taga-Wharton," he said.

Roxas blasted Duterte for resorting to "name-calling," but went on to describe Duterte's "brand of Duterte justice."

"Hindi ko na problema na hindi maunawaan ni Mayor Duterte kung ano ang ibig sabihin ng pagiging graduate ng Wharton. Wharton na mismo ang nagsabing graduate ako doon sa kanila," he said.

"Kung ayaw maniwala, iyan ang brand ng Duterte justice, kung ano ang nasa isip niya kahit hindi totoo, iyan ang paniniwalaan," Roxas added.

Duterte claimed their camp asked Wharton about the issue, and the latter reportedly said it would be "inappropriate" for Roxas to claim he was a Wharton graduate with a Master degree in business administration.

Binay joined the conversation through sarcasm. "Hindi, umattend ata siya ng seminar [sa Wharton]," he said, eliciting laughter from the crowd.

Roxas responded: "Ito namang si Vice President Binay, sumali pa, sumawsaw pa."

Yolanda response

The argument further escalated when the issues of the Yolanda tragedy and the Zamboanga siege, both in 2013, were brought up.

Roxas recalled how he braved the aftermath of Yolanda and the Zamboanga siege, but Duterte contested Roxas' statement.

"I was there in Yolanda. Day 2. This guy cannot handle stress. He's a weak leader," said the Davao mayor.

Roxas insisted he was in Leyte, meeting with officials both from the local and national government. "I was a central player in those meeting. Ikaw ang nawala, dumating ka doon, ilang oras nagpa-photo op, umalis. Iyang ang uri ng liderato mo," said Roxas.

Duterte insisted he saw how "lost" Roxas was the entire time. — RSJ/JST, GMA News

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RELATED GMA NEWS....

PILIPINAS DEBATES 2016 Four presidential candidates not in favor of divorce Published March 20, 2016 10:06pm By ELIZABETH MARCELO, GMA News

Four of the five presidential candidates will not be pushing for the passage of a law that would pave the way for divorce in the country if any of them wins in the May elections.

During the second-leg of the Pilipinas Debates 2016 held in Cebu City, Vice President Jejomar Binay, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Grace Poe and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas were asked to raise their hands if they were in favor of divorce.

None of them did.

Binay had been previously mum on the issue of divorce. But Duterte, Poe and Roxas have long expressed their opposition about legalizing divorce in the country.

Duterte's 27-year marriage with his wife, Elizabeth Zimmerman, was annulled in 2000.

And while they are against divorce, it is also interesting to note that Duterte and Poe have long said that they are in favor of same-sex marriage.

Meanwhile, on her Twitter account, presidential candidate Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who was not able to attend the debate due to medical reason, expressed favor of the divorce on two grounds: first, if there is an attempt on the life of a spouse by the other and second, when the there is adultery or concubinage.

A bill legalizing divorce was filed twice before in two different Congresses. — RSJ, GMA News

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PILIPINAS DEBATES 2016 Poe hits scrapping of missile procurement for vests, helmets Published March 20, 2016 10:06pm By AMITA LEGASPI, GMA News

Senator Grace Poe scored Sunday the Aquino administration's failure to push through with the planned procurement of surface-to-air missiles, which could have enforced the country's defense capabilities amid territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

"Ito ang problema ng ating AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines). Dapat bibili na tayo ng surface-to-air missile para lamang madepensahan ang ating sarili, pero ano ang ginawa ng administrasyong ito? Pinalitan at sinabi ang bibilhin na lang ay bullet-proof vest at sombrero," Poe said during the second leg of the PiliPinas Debates in Cebu City.

"Importante rin yun pero bakit hindi pareho nating bilhin yun," she added.

She was referring to the scrapping of the planned purchase of missiles in favor of helmets, night goggles, and body armor which the Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Hernando Iriberri deemed more important to protect the soldiers during encounters.

Poe made the statement when Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte asked her what she would do if she was informed, as a president, that two of Coast Guard's vessels had been bombed.

The senator emphasized the need to modernize the AFP.

"Ito ang problema, ang ating bansa maliit ang budget sa defense. Ang China halimbawa napakalaki, nagiging praktikal lang tayo na nagpa-file tayo ng kaso pero hindi nangangahulungan na dahil mas maliit ang ating bansa ay hindi natin puwedeng pag-ipunan na depensahan ang ating sarili," she said.

"Nakakalungkot na hindi natin kaya pero dapat pag-ipunan na natin at siguraduhin na sa mga susunod na mga taon ay kaya na nating depensahan ang ating sarili," she added.

She noted that Singapore is a small country with a population of only four million, but no one is bullying because of its strong maritime and air defense.

Defenseless against China

She said the Philippines, at present, cannot face China head on.

"Ito lang ang kailangan nating tanggapin, talo tayo talaga sa China 'pag tayo ay lumaban. Kailangan natin talaga na magdesisyon na ang arbitration court at sabihin na since ang China ay pumirma dito, kailangan nilang tanggapin ang kanilang kasunduan sa ating bansa," she said.

Poe stressed the need for the Philippines to join hands with other member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

"Ang Pilipinas ay kailangang makipagsapalaran kasama ang mga ibang ASEAN countries katulad ng Vietnam, Indonesia, at Malaysia para [to] constructively engage ang China to follow the Code of Conduct. Hindi ko papayagan na mamatay ang ating mga sundalo nang walang kalabanlaban," she said.

The senator said that if she is elected President, she will approach other nation-claimants to convince them to stand against China.

"Kung kinakailangan, bilang isang Pangulo ay katukin ko ang bawat bansa para tayuan nila ang pagkakasunduan dito sa UNCLOS ay gagawin ko sapagkat ito ang reyalidad pero sa tingin ko 'pag nagsama-sama ang mga bansa para sabihin sa China na mali ka, tayo ay mananaig pa rin sa sitwasyon na ito," she said.

When Duterte pressed her what would be the first thing she would do if the news on the bombing of Philippine vessels would wake her up, Poe replied in jest that she would immediately wake up, which earned laughter from the audience.

"Ang kailangan siyempre bilang Presidente ay bumangon agad, hindi naman puwedeng mamaya na 'yan, mamaya nang alas-singko, mamaya nang alas-sais, mabilis na babangon ang presidente," she said.

She added that she would immediately confer with the head of the AFP and Department of Transportation and Communications, which has supervision over the Philippine Coast Guard.

"Dapat mag-uusap kung papaano gagawin. Ngayon mayroon tayong Visiting Forces Agreement. Mayroon tayong kasunduan sa ibang bansa kung papaano tayo dedepensahan. Totoo, ayaw nating umasa sa kanila, pero kung tayo lang hindi natin kaya," she said.

"Kung ano ang pwede nating gawin sa pagkakataon na yun, kailangan ay depensahan natin ang ating bansa pero ang tutuo kailangan natin ang tulong ng ibang komunidad para tayo madepensahan," she added. —ALG, GMA News

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Roxas: 93% of DILG projects for Yolanda completed Published March 20, 2016 9:43pm By ELIZABETH MARCELO, GMA News

Presidential candidate Mar Roxas on Sunday claimed that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) was able to complete about 93 percent of projects intended for the rehabilitation of areas affected by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) during his term as the secretary of the agency.

At the second leg of the Pilipinas Debates 2016 held in Cebu City, Roxas said that as of the end of 2015, a total of P90 billion has already been released by the administration of President Benigno Aquino III to government agencies for various projects in connection with post-Yolanda rehabilitation efforts.

Of this amount, Roxas said P4 billion went to the DILG for various projects in the Visayas region greatly affected by Yolanda's onslaught, and of these projects, 97 percent has been completed.

“Dyan sa P90 bilyon na 'yan, apat na bilyong piso ang dumaan sa DILG, 'yang apat na bilyon na 'yan ay dinownload up to the last sentimo to the provinces, cities, municipalities at sa mga barangay para ayusin nila ang evacuation centers, civil centers, multi-purpose halls, at kanilang mga palengke,” Roxas said.

“As of now, mahigit 93 percent na ang completed diyan sa mga projects na 'yan,” Roxas said.

Roxas' claim, however, was refuted by fellow candidate, Vice President Jejomar Binay, who pointed out that based on a Commission on Audit (COA) report, the DILG has yet to liquidate about P7 billion worth of funds, supposed to have been used for calamity-related projects including rehabilitation efforts for areas hit by Yolanda.

“Kung totoo na ang pera na binudget ay ginastos na ninyo, bakit hanggang ngayon ay hindi ka pa nakakapag liquidate sa P7 billion? Saan na napunta? Sa opisina ninyo?” Binay asked.

Binay was referring to a 2014 COA audit report, published recently by the audit body on its website.

Based on the COA report, the DILG has yet to liquidate P7.040 billion worth of fund transfers as of December 31, 2014.

The COA report said that the funds were transferred to national government agencies (NGAs), local government units (LGUs), non-government organizations (NGOs) and/or private organizations (POs), as well as in DILG’s regional offices (ROs) for the supposed implementation of various projects such as the Provision of Potable Water program (SALINTUBIG), PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA), Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB), Rehabilitation Assistance on Yolanda (RAY), and the Public Transport Assistance Program (PTAP).

“Fund transfers to NGAs, LGUs, NGOs/POs and Regional Offices (ROs) in the aggregate amount of P7.040 billion remained unliquidated… despite the completion of some of the projects/activities,” the COA report read.

However, Roxas, in his turn to answer Binay, claimed that 97 percent of DILG funds for Yolanda has already been liquidated as of the end of 2015.

“Ang liquidation po ay nasa COA na. Tapos na po iyon. Ang binabasa po ninyo ay 2014. Nasa 2016 na po tayo. Nangyari po itong paggawa [ng liquidatation] nito lahat noong 2015,” Roxas said.

Binay fired back at Roxas, saying that in the latter's press statement regarding the COA report, the former DILG secretary supposedly admitted that the liquidation is not yet done because the projects are ongoing.

“Iba yata ang paliwanag mo Mr. Roxas. Kasi ang pinalabas mo sa dyaryo, hindi pa namin ito nali-liquidate kasi hindi pa tapos ang project. Yun ang paliwanag mo,” Binay said.

Roxas, however, maintained that 97 percent of the DILG projects for Yolanda rehabilitation has already been completed and liquidated.

“Yung seven percent kasi hindi pa tapos. Yung 93 percent tapos na. Yung seven percent obviously hindi pa mali-liquidate yan. Pero yung 93 percent na tapos na,na-liquidate na yan, ang papeles ay nandun na sa COA, as of 2015,” Roxas said.

“Yung datos na binasa po ninyo ay 2014. Vice president, kung gusto mo na siraan ako, kung gusto mo na magtapon ng putik, at least, gamitin mo current data,” he added. —ALG, GMA News

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VP Binay gets most Twitter mentions during debate’s delay Published March 20, 2016 9:08pm

Vice President Jejomar Binay more than 90,000 mentions on Twitter during the delay prior to the second leg of the PiliPinas Debates 2016 at the University of the Philippines in Cebu on Sunday.

Binay, the last among the four presidential candidates to take the podium at the venue, insisted on bringing notes during the debate.

Notes, however, are not allowed under the rules set by the Commission on Elections.

The Binay camp said that it was told that Binay could bring his notes to the debate.

TV5's Luchi Cruz-Valdes later apologized for telling the Vice President's camp that he could do so.

The event was originally scheduled to start at 4:30 pm, but it was delayed by two hours as candidates debated on whether to allow Binay to bring his notes.

Binay drew more than 96,000 tweets during the lull, while Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was mentioned in 32,000 tweets as he attempted to break the ice with jokes.

Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas followed with 18,000 mentions, while Senator Grace Poe drew 6,000 tweets.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who skipped the debates due to health reasons, was mentioned in 5,000 tweets. —Marisse Panaligan/NB, GMA News

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Junjun says VP Binay’s ‘notes’ are documents to prove innocence vs. corruption allegations JPublished March 20, 2016 9:24pm By ROSE-AN JESSICA DIOQUINO, GMA News

CEBU CITY — Dismissed Makati Mayor Junjun Binay came to his father's defense, saying that the "notes" that caused the delay of the second leg of the PiliPinas Debates 2016 were "documents" Vice President Jejomar Binay wanted to present.

In an interview at the sidelines of Sunday's event, the younger Binay maintained that "Walang ginagawang mali ang ating Vice President," pointing out that the organizers had admitted that the presidential candidate was misinformed.

"'Yung mga notes kasi, hindi naman notes. These are documents to prove the point of the Vice President that he is innocent of any accusation being hurled against him by his political opponents," he said.

The younger Binay reiterated that they were told that his father could bring notes to the podium during the debate.

"Ito pong pinag-uusapan natin ay hindi labag sa napag-usapan. There were several meetings. Our representatives attended that meeting. And they allowed—inamin naman po ni Ma'am Luchi (Cruz-Valdes of TV5, the debate moderator) na puwedeng magdala ng papeles dito sa debate na ito," he said.

He added: "Ngayon ino-oppose. Sana in-oppose ng mga katunggali natin sa pulitika nu'ng meeting pa lamang. Bakit po natin hihintayin na mag-oppose 'pag nandito na?"

The Comelec eventually ruled that Binay could not keep his documents on the podium—a standing rule from the first debate.

Valdes apologized for the mix-up, admitting that she told the Vice President's camp that she thought it was all right for him to bring notes.

She said at the start of the program: "It was a standing rule that was not communicated to me. About four or five days before this debate today, Cong. Toby (Tiangco, president of the United Nationalist Alliance) called me up to ask if the VP could bring notes. In my earnest desire for all candidates to be present, and not thinking that there was such rule, I said, 'Yes, of course.'"

The issue over bringing notes to the podium held the debate back by an hour and a half. — RSJ, GMA News

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PILIPINAS DEBATES 2016 Binay on Duterte: We're both qualified to be President Published March 20, 2016 8:52pm By KATHRINA CHARMAINE ALVAREZ, GMA News

After his camp accused Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of fund misuse last week, Vice President Jejomar Binay on Sunday was all praises for the mayor, saying he finds him as equally qualified as he is for the presidency.

In the face-off round of the second leg of the PiliPinas Debates in Cebu, Binay said: “Wala akong itatanong kasi pareho kaming qualified to become president of the Philippines.”

Duterte and Binay are in a five-way race with former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, and Senators Grace Poe and Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

Duterte then retorted that Binay, a former city mayor of Makati, was “more qualified” than he is.

“Wala rin akong masasagot, mas qualified siya kaysa sa akin maging presidente,” Duterte said.

“Look, there are four of us here, mamili kayo, an equally beautiful lady, matagal na mayor kagaya ko, si Secretary (Roxas), sige, ngiti. Hindi ka na kasi mabiro, umiinit ulo mo,” the Davao mayor said.

Duterte and Binay then shook hands twice.

Just last week, Binay's political party, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), accused Duterte of misusing Davao City's Special Education Fund (SEF).

Citing a Commission on Audit (COA) report in 2014, UNA said Duterte may be charged with technical malversation in relation to the spending of the SEF totaling P45.8 million.

Under Republic Act 5447 or the Special Education Fund Act, the SEF may only be used for improvement of school facilities, printing or purchase of textbooks and teaching materials, payment of salaries of public school teachers and scholarship grants, among others.

COA's examination of disbursement vouchers, however, revealed that Davao City’s public schools had unauthorized expenses charged to SEF such as plane fares of coaches and students, fuel for various vehicles, insurance premiums for vehicles and payment for electricity, water, and telephone bills.

Duterte's spokesman Peter Laviña said that UNA's allegations were raised and has been answered last year.

"We see UNA desperately trying to muddle and confuse the public as it evades the allegations of corruption hounding VP Binay right now," Laviña said. — APG, GMA News

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PILIPINAS DEBATES 2016 What does the word abjure really mean? Published March 20, 2016 8:47pm By KIERSNERR GERWIN TACADENA, GMA News

Vice President Jejomar Binay repeatedly translated abjure to Filipino as "ikinahihiya" as he attacked Sen. Grace Poe's citizenship during the second leg of the PiliPinas Debates 2016 in Cebu City on Sunday.

“Paano ka magiging tunay na Pilipino kung sumumpa ka sa ibang bansa?” Binay asked Poe. “Sabi mo sa renouncement mo, ‘I will abjure,’ ikinahihiya mo ang pagiging Pilipino,” Binay told Poe during their face off.

A quick search on Merriam-Webster dictionary yields the meaning of abjure as “to renounce upon oath or to reject solemnly.”

Thesaurus.com lists the synonyms of the word abjure: forswear, recant, renege, renounce, retract, withdraw, and abstain from.

Meanwhile, Depinisyon.com translates abjure as “talikdan ang isinumpa, magbitiw.” Google translates abjure in Filipino as “magtakwil.” —ALG, GMA News

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Roxas shields PNoy admin's anti-corruption record Published March 20, 2016 8:45pm

Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II on Sunday parried criticisms from his rivals that the Aquino administration's anti-corruption drive spared political allies.

"LP, non-LP lahat nakakasuhan, natatanggal sa pwesto at makikita niyo po 'yan. 'Yan ang record, 'yan ang totoo. Hindi po 'yan kathang isip," Roxas said during the second leg of presidential debates at the University of the Philippines-Cebu campus.

Over the last few years, the Philippines has earned the perception as becoming less corrupt, Roxas noted, citing expert views on corruption from the World Bank among others.

Senator Grace Poe, however, perceived the administration as practicing selective justice.

She cited LP president and Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, who was cleared by the Office of the Ombudsman in graft cases involving the anomalous maintenance contract for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3.

Asked by Roxas if she has initiated any action against Abaya, Poe said she recommended to the Ombudsman to investigate Abaya for supposedly neglecting the problems hounding the mass rail system.

"Ang sinasabi ninyong Daang Matuwid ay hindi natutupad sa lahat ng ahensya ng ating gobyerno," the senator said. – Virgil Lopez/VDS, GMA News


GMA NEWS

Binay on overpricing allegations: Makati entitled to buy 'mamahalin' items Published March 21, 2016 12:46am

Presidential candidate Vice President Jejomar Binay Sr. on Sunday maintained that he is innocent of the corruption allegations against him during his term as the mayor of Makati City.

At the second-leg of the Pilipinas Debates 2016 held in Cebu City, Binay was asked by fellow candidate, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, to explain a Commission on Audit report supposedly saying that there were irregularities in the Makati City government's purchase of hospital beds and sterilizers during Binay's term as mayor.

“Simpleng simple lang po: P16,000 na sterilizer nabili ng Ospital ng Makati, P1.5 million. Meron po kayong ultrasound. Ang isang ultrasound set P1.3 million, yan po ang nasa bill of particulars nung unang sinimulan ang project. Pero ang aktwal na nabili ay P8 million. COA po ang nagsabi niyan at hindi ako,” Roxas said.

Binay, however, maintained that the veracity of the COA reports are still in question, especially as no cases has been filed against him in court yet.

“Alam mo Mr. Roxas, sa Sandiganbayan, maraming kaso ang natatalo dahil sa yung COA [report] ay hindi nagtatally sa bilang,” Binay said.

“Alam mo yung sinasabi ng kaibigan mo na si Senator [Antonio] Trillanes, na 'ayan oh, ang mahal, mahal nito'. Oops, alam mo, we are entitled to buy mamahalin kasi we have the best practice. Hindi sa presyo titignan kung tama ba ang binibili mo,” he added.

Parking building

Prior to that, Roxas brought up the recent COA report saying that the construction of the P2.28-billion Makati City Hall Building II, also referred as the Makati parking building, was overpriced and did not undergo the proper procedures.

READ MORE...

Binay was the mayor of Makati when the parking building project began in 2007. The project was continued by his son, dismissed Makati mayor Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. when the latter assumed his father's post in 2010.

According to the 148-page COA report, a copy of which was obtained by GMA News, the construction of the building, which was done in five phases, "showed irregularities from budgeting to procurement to execution resulting in misuse of public funds."

“Vice President, nandito sa harap ng sambayanan, maari nyo nang sabihin ang buong katotohanan. Hindi ninyo hinarap ang Senado, sabi ninyo parating pulitika lang ito. Pero ang COA, Ombudsman, Senado mismo ang nagsasabi may katiwalian sa Makati noong kayo po ay nanungkulan,” Roxas said.

Binay, however, fired back at Roxas, saying that the latter is part of the supposed demolition team against him.

“Talagang kumbinsido na ho ako, na ikaw ay isa sa namumuno doon sa paggawa ng demolition by perception...E ang nangyayari sa ginagawa ninyo, bintang, bintang ng walang katotohanan. Bakit hukuman ba yung COA para magsabi kung guilty or not guilty?” Binay said.

In the end, Binay said Roxas' claims will remain allegations unless he is proven guilty by the court.

“Uulitin ko lang Mr. Roxas, mga kababayan, hukuman po ang magsasabi kung kami ay guilty or not. Hindi yung bintang mo Mr. Roxas,” Binay said. —Elizabeth Marcelo/JST, GMA News

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MANILA STANDARD REPORT

Bets bash rivals in 2nd TV debate posted March 21, 2016 at 12:01 am by Christine F. Herrera, Macon Ramos-Araneta, Sandy Araneta and Rio N. Araja

THE gloves came off at the second presidential debate in Cebu Sunday, with the four candidates openly attacking each other over competence, nationality and allegations of corruption and extra-judicial killings.

After a one-and-a-half hour delay over a disagreement about the rules, the debate at the University of the Philippines Visayas quickly turned into a venue for heated arguments and personal attacks among the candidates.

The heated exchanges were the result of a new debate format that allowed candidates to address questions directly to their opponents, and also gave more time for rebuttals.

Heated debate.

This TV grab shows four of the five candidates for president facing off in the second television debate sponsored by the Commission on Elections at the University of the Philippines campus in Cebu on Sunday.

When Senator Grace Poe asked Vice President Jejomar Binay why he never attended a session at the Senate to address the allegations of corruption against him, Binay attacked Poe’s nationalism, and asked her how she could call herself a true Filipino when she had taken an oath to be an American citizen and abjured her allegiance and fidelity to her country.

Poe shot back, saying in Filipino: “If you stay in the country but you plunder and steal, what’s the point?”

Binay, who faces a plunder charge, said: “Madam senator, the way you speak, it’s as if I’ve already been convicted.”

Poe retorted: “Why, was I talking about you? I’m not saying it’s you because I believe in due process.”

In another exchange, Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte called administration candidate Manuel Roxas II “weak, indecisive” and a “moron” unfit to be president.

He also called him a fraud and once again questioned his having graduated from Wharton.

Roxas said Wharton itself had written that he was a graduate for the school, and that Duterte was “dangerous” because once he had formed an idea, he would not consider anything else.

“You’re closed-minded,” he said. “You do what you believe [is right even if it isn’t]. You could kill [a person].”

Duterte replied: “That’s the problem with you. You are not capable of killing. You can’t be a leader.”

He said Roxas performed poorly during Typhoon ‘‘Yolanda’’ in Eastern Visayas.

“You can’t handle stress,” he told Roxas, then turned to the audience and said: “This guy is a weak leader… We have a moron here.”

Duterte also criticized Roxas for being unable to stop crime, including the making and selling of illegal drugs in the national penitentiary.

But Roxas said the illegal operation had been exposed and stopped.

At another point, Poe also questioned Roxas’ claim that the administration followed the “straight path” and punished erring allies just as they did their opponents.

But Poe said the administration protected those who were important to it, including Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, despite the allegations of corruption against them.

Binay also accused Roxas of being behind the demolition campaign against him, comparing him to Hitler’s minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, who believed that a big lie told repeatedly would eventually be believed.

Roxas spent most of his time defending his and the administration’s track record.

“The World Bank, Transparency International, the World Economic Forum have all said that the Philippines has greatly improved and [that we] have come a long way in cleaning the government.

The leaks have been plugged. We are not perfect but we continue to do this,” Roxas said.

Roxas also chided his rivals for questioning the administration’s campaign against corruption.

“You can check the records. All are being charged. The Sandiganbayan has the records. LP or non-LP are being charged and a decision will be made whether you are guilty or not guilty,” he said.

Roxas also defended his role during Typhoon Yolanda, saying 93 percent of the budget of the Department of Interior and Local Government had already been released for rehabilitation.

Roxas also denied Binay’s allegations that the DILG under his watch had P7 billion in unliquidated cash disbursements—saying that was based on an outdated Commission on Audit (CoA) report.

He said the findings were addressed in 2015, and chided Binay for using old data to attack him.

Roxas said if he were elected president, he would pass a strong Freedom of Information (FOI) law—the same promise that President Benigno Aquino III made before he became president.

Binay also said he would support FOI and would do so by way of an executive order.

In a show of hands among the candidates, none said they would support a divorce law.

Only Poe and Duterte said they would support a return of the death penalty.

Duterte and Binay said they would support a burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.


Roxas on why rivals 'ganged up' on him in debate: 'Sa akin sila takot' Published March 21, 2016 12:27am By TRISHA MACAS, GMA News

His rivals ganging up against him at one point during the PiliPinas Debates 2016 is a proof that he is the biggest threat in the presidential race, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas told reporters after the second leg of the presidential debate.

"I think nakita naman ninyo eh. Kahit ano pa ang mga survey-survey, ang nangunguna naman dito ay si Mar Roxas. Si Mar Roxas ang napagtulungan eh kaya sa akin silang lahat takot," he explained.

During the face-off round, Senator Grace Poe had the chance to ask Roxas about Yolanda and the Mamasapano clash. It was supposed to be a dialogue but Vice President Jejomar Binay and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte wanted to join to grill Roxas. But they were restricted by TV5 head of news and public affairs Luchi Cruz-Valdez who was the debate's moderator.

"Para sa akin naman, OK lang iyan. Nakikita ng mga kababayan natin na nasasagot naman natin na may laman at katotohanan, hindi pabola-bola," Roxas said.

He also responded to Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s name-calling during the debate. Duterte called him a "pretentious" leader who couldn't handle stress.

"Ang pagka-Pangulo hindi nadadaan sa patutsada. Ang pagka-Pangulo hindi nadadaan sa pasiga-siga. Ang pagka-Pangulo nadadaan sa liderato," he said.

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"Ganyan ba ang liderato ni Mayor Duterte? Iyan nalang ba ang kanyang masasabi, mga patutsada, mga name-calling, mga kung ano-ano ang mga sinasabi? Wala sa issue? Walang sustansya? Wala sa laman? Buhay ng tao ang pinag-uusapan dito. Kapakanan ng bansa. Ekonimiya natin. Foreign relations. Lahat ng mga bagay na ito. Kung hindi ba niya makuha ang gusto niya o maunawan ang isyu ay magni-name calling nalang siya?" he added.

Roxas also said that Duterte is really that way.

"Kilala ko naman si Digong eh kung hanggang diyan nalang ang kanyang argumentation, tanggapin nalang natin iyan," he said.

In a separate interview, Duterte seconded Roxas' remarks about him.

"Eh ewan ko sa kanila kasi ako ganoon talaga ako sumagot," he said. —JST, GMA News

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THE INQUIRER REPORT

Bets name-call, tussle over track-record in no-holds-barred debate By: Kristine Angeli Sabillo
@KSabilloINQ INQUIRER.net 09:58 PM March 20th, 2016


NO ONE was safe during the first half of the second presidential debate held in Cebu on Sunday.

All four presidential bets — Vice President Jejomar Binay, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Grace Poe, and former Interior secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II — got their fair share of accusations and name-calling as they were allowed to react to the answers of their fellow candidates.

Corrupt vs not Filipino

“Hindi ka tunay na Filipino! (You are not bona fide Filipino!),” Binay told Poe, more than a week after the Supreme Court sided with her on a disqualification case.

READ: Poe to Binay: You’re corrupt’ VP to rival: You’re not true Filipino

“Paano (ka naging) tunay na Filipino, sumumpa ka na ikaw ay maging Amerikano? Ikinahihiya mo ang pinanggalingan mo!” the Vice President said.

(How can you be a real Filipino when you already pledged your allegiance to America? You are ashamed of your roots.)

Poe defended herself while taking a dig against Binay.

“Nanatili ka sa bayan natin pero ikaw naman ay nangulimbat at nagnakaw. Ano ang kaibahan nun? Malaki ang kaibahan,” she told Binay who has long been accused of corruption.

(You remained in this country but you stole money. What is the difference? That is a huge difference.)

“Madame senator, kung magbintang ka parang ako ay na-convict na,” Binay said.

(Madame senator, you accuse as if I am already convicted.)

“Ikaw ba ang sinabi kong nangulimbat?” Poe retorted.

(Were you the thief I was referring to?)

Binay and his family have been accused of getting commission from the alleged overpriced Makati car park building. Poe, on the other hand, has been accused of not being fit to run for president because she was a foundling and a former American citizen. The High Court, however, ruled that Poe should not be disqualified from the presidential race.

Pretentious

Duterte and Roxas exchanged heated arguments over the rising criminality and illegal drugs in the country.

Duterte was asked how he would end criminality and illegal drugs in the country within the first six months if he would be elected president in the upcoming May elections, citing the high crime rate in Davao City in 2010.

“Hindi po ako takot mamatay. Ang akin lang wag pumatay,” Roxas told the mayor who has been linked to the notorious Davao Death Squad.

(I am not afraid to die. But it’s not right to kill.)

“Alam mo wala kang ginawa. Getting credit (sa) hindi mo ginawa. You’re pretentious,” Duterte said.

(You didn’t do anything. You are claiming credit that is not yours. You are a pretentious leader.)

Roxas and Binay also had their moments. Even before the debate started, Roxas reportedly led the candidates in asserting the Commission on Elections (Comelec) rule against the use of notes during the debate when Binay arrived with folders and envelopes filled with documents and background material.

READ: Roxas, Binay trade barbs on cause of delay in 2nd presidential debate

During the first half of the debate, Binay tried to pin the blame on Roxas when the latter was asked about the slow rehabilitation efforts in areas hit by super typhoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan).

Citing a Commission on Audit report, Binay said Roxas’ former agency, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), did not liquidate P7 billion in funds.

“Tapos na po ‘yun. Ang binabasa n’yo 2014. 2016 na tayo. Ginawa lahat ito 2015,” Roxas shot back.

(That’s over. You’re reading the report from 2014. It’s now 2016. All of that was finished in 2015.)

“Sabihin n’yo sa staff ninyo maging up-to-date sa pag-aaral,” he added.

(Tell your staff to be up-to-date in their research.)


Poe takes Mar to task on Mamasapano, Zambo siege: Why should Filipinos trust you? Published March 21, 2016 12:15am By VIRGIL LOPEZ, GMA News

Why should the Filipino trust you when no less than President Benigno Aquino III didn't trust you in the botched Mamasapano operation and the Zamboanga siege?

Sen. Grace Poe in effect posed this question to administration standard bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II when they faced off in Sunday's presidential debate in Cebu City.

Poe, who was the President's first choice to become Roxas' running mate, grilled the former Interior and Transport secretary if his actions during the onslaught of supertyphoon Yolanda, the Zamboanga siege, and the sorry state of Metro Manila's railway system influenced President Benigno Aquino III's decision to keep him out of the loop in the botched Mamasapano operation in January 2015.

Roxas countered that the President thought that then suspended Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima had belatedly informed him of the operation aimed at capturing terror suspects Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman.

"Kayo mismo ang chairman ng hearing. Hindi nyo mababali ang nangyari dun. Sinabi ni Purisima [na] sinabi ni (ex-PNP Special Action Force chief Getulio) Napeñas na inutusan siya na saka mo na lang sabihan ang dalawa (Roxas and then PNP officer-in-charge Leonardo Espina)," said Roxas, who was interior secretary when the bungled anti-terror operation, which claimed the lives of 44 SAF commandos took place.

It was the first time for Poe to take Roxas to task for the Mamasapano incident. Poe had earlier said she will not grill Roxas on the incident when the Senate reopened its investigation on the incident last month.

Explaining what transpired in Zamboanga, Roxas said he was there, along with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, for three weeks in September 2013 to supervise the police and military operations against Moro National Liberation Front forces loyal to fugitive Nur Misuari that laid siege on the city.

READ MORE...

[Read: Timeline: Crisis in Zamboanga]

He said the government's action on the Zamboanga crisis was successful as there were minimum civilian casualties, hostages were saved and law and order were restored in the southern port city.

"Madali magpasabog ng mortar, mag-drop ng bomba pero ang ginawa natin ay surgical para house-to-house at street by street mailikas natin, maisalba natin yung mga mahigit 200 hostage. 'Yan po ang success ng Zamboanga. 'Yan po ang ginawa natin. Nandoon tayo at masasabi ko sa inyo na sa aking tingin successful ang operation na 'yun," Roxas said.

But Poe wondered why Aquino had to personally attend to the situation in Zamboanga if the president really trusted his men on the ground.

Roxas countered that it was Aquino's role to boost the morale of troops fighting the rebel forces.

[Read: The battle for Zamboanga: What went wrong]

The Liberal Party standard-bearer said he would have done the same if he were president.

Poe, however, hinted that Aquino went immediately to Zamboanga because he does not trust his people including Roxas.

"Pupunta lang ako dun, agad agad kung hindi ko pinagkakatiwalaan ang mga taong naroon. Sapagkat ang isang pangulo ay kailangan ligtas at ginagawa ang kanyang trabaho sa isang lugar na hindi siya mamimiligro," she said.

She added that a president need not personally instruct soldiers and police on what to do to defeat the enemy.

"Para sa akin lamang ay ito. Maaaring nabigyan ka ng maraming pagkakataon pero sa tinagal-tagal na pagkakataong na ibinigay sa'yo, ano ba ang mga naiambag mo? Malaki ang mga naibigay sa kanya. DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communications), DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) pero parang kulang pa rin," Poe said.

Roxas served as transportation secretary from 2011 to 2012. He was then transferred to the DILG in August 2012 when Jesse Robredo died in a plane crash off Masbate.

Roxas held on to the DILG portfolio for three years before quitting in September last year to focus on his presidential bid. — APG, GMA News

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MANILA BULLETIN REPORT

The 2nd PilipinasDebates2016 (Cebu) by Earl D.C. Bracamonte March 21, 2016 (updated) Share2 Tweet1 Share2 Email0 Share5


Photo courtesy of Lourd De Veyra's twitter post

Despite an hour-and-a-half delay, the 2nd leg of the PilipinasDebates2016 was successfully culminated at the University of the Philippines in Cebu City, a vote-rich bastion with 2.7-million registered voters. The four presidential candidates embarked on the debate proper immediately and were not given time to relay their opening speeches, compared to the Cagayan de Oro forum.

People’s Reform Party (PRP) leader Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago was not able to join the debate due to a scheduled hospital procedure.

The first part of Round 1 tackled the issues on the Freedom of Information Bill and on the graft & corruption charges against the Binay family. The second part zeroed in on disaster relief monitoring of aid for the Yolanda storm surge.

Read more: PilipinasDebates2016: Disaster relief issue

Round 2 delved on myriad issues and questions hurled at the presidential contenders.

Read more: PilipinasDebates2016: Round 2 (Cebu)

Section 7.3 of Republic Act 9006, as amended, states that “The COMELEC SHALL [may] require national television and radio networks to sponsor at least three (3) national debates among presidential candidates and at least one (1) national debate among vice presidential candidates. The debates among presidential candidates shall be scheduled on three (3) different calendar days: the first debate shall be scheduled within the first and second week of the campaign period; the second debate within the fifth and sixth week of the campaign period; and the third debate shall be scheduled within the tenth and eleventh week of the campaign period. The sponsoring television or radio network may sell airtime for commercials and advertisements to interested advertisers and sponsors. The COMELEC shall promulgate rules and regulations for the holding of such debates; EACH DEBATE SHALL NOT BE LESS THAN SIXTY (60) MINUTES, EXCLUSIVE OF AIRTIME FOR COMMERCIALS AND ADVERTISEMENTS.”

In closing, all four presidentiables were also given two minutes to wrap up their arguments.

Read more: Closing statements: PilipinasDebates2016 in Cebu

UNA’s VP Binay contended about experience.

PDP-Laban’s Mayor Digoy intoned about leadership.

Independent candidate Sen. Poe enthused on services.

Liberal Party standard Sec. Mar Roxas expounded on decency.

1992 was the last time that a presidential debate was conducted. Channel 5 ran that show and 24 years after, they ran the second installment in a series of three.

The final presidential debate is slated on April 24 at the University of Pangasinan with ABS-CBN and Manila Bulletin spearheading the event.

(SOME PHOTOS UNABLE TO INCLUDE) Check 'em out at http://www.mb.com.ph/2nd-pilipinasdebates2016-cebu/  (MANILA BULLETIN FULL REPORT)


Duterte, Roxas continue feud in second leg of PiliPinas Debates 2016 Published March 21, 2016 12:18am By MARK MERUEÑAS, GMA News

Administration standard bearer Mar Roxas and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte continued their quarrel in the second leg of the PiliPinas Debates 2016, as their exchange on peace and order degenerated into personal attacks.

In several instances, Duterte called Roxas pretentious and even a fraud. The former secretary of the interior countered by saying Duterte's brand of justice was one in which falsehoods are taken to be true if the Davao mayor believed them.

The heated argument started when Roxas criticized the Davao City mayor for failing to stop criminality in "drug-infested" villages in his jurisdiction.

"The secretary has forgotten that he was the DILG secretary. He controls the police. He has administrative control over everybody. Kaming mga mayor we only give guidance to the police," Duterte said.

"Nakalimutan siguro ni Mayor ang Local Government Code, kung saan ang mayor po ang chief executive ng isang lugar," Roxas replied.

Duterte then went into a tirade on how the government has failed to stop illegal drug operations inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City, where numerous raids have yielded illegal items including drugs.

"Alam mo wala kang ginawa. And you are claiming credit that is not yours. Ang mahirap sa iyo Mar, you are a pretentious leader," Duterte declared.

Roxas denied the tag, saying arrests were in fact made at the national penitentiary.

Wharton issue revived

Duterte even revived the issue on Roxas' controversial educational background, particularly on his degree at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

"You are a fraud. You're pretentious. Pati edukasyon mo, sinabi mo Wharton eh di ka pala taga-Wharton," he said.

Roxas blasted Duterte for resorting to "name-calling," but went on to describe Duterte's "brand of Duterte justice."

READ MORE...

Duterte prides himself in being a no-nonsense anti-crime crusader, saying in several instances that he has killed some criminals in his city.

"Hindi ko na problema na hindi maunawaan ni Mayor Duterte kung ano ang ibig sabihin ng pagiging graduate ng Wharton. Wharton na mismo ang nagsabing graduate ako doon sa kanila," Roxas said.

"Kung ayaw maniwala, iyan ang brand ng Duterte justice, kung ano ang nasa isip niya kahit hindi totoo, iyan ang paniniwalaan," he added.

Duterte claimed their camp asked Wharton about the issue, and the latter reportedly said it would be "inappropriate" for Roxas to claim he was a Wharton graduate with a Master degree in business administration.

Binay joined the conversation through sarcasm. "Hindi, umattend ata siya ng seminar [sa Wharton]," he said, eliciting laughter from the crowd.

"Ito namang si Vice President Binay, sumali pa, sumawsaw pa," Roxas said.

Yolanda response

The argument further escalated when the issues of the Yolanda tragedy and the Zamboanga siege, both in 2013, were brought up.

Roxas recalled how he braved the aftermath of Yolanda and the Zamboanga siege, but Duterte contested Roxas' statement.

"I was there in Yolanda. Day 2. This guy cannot handle stress. He's a weak leader," said the Davao mayor.

Roxas insisted he was in Leyte, meeting with officials both from the local and national government. "I was a central player in those meeting. Ikaw ang nawala, dumating ka doon, ilang oras nagpa-photo op, umalis. Iyang ang uri ng liderato mo," said Roxas.

Roxas and Duterte called each other friends until news came out in 2015 that Duterte was suffering from cancer, a report that the Davao mayor attributed to Roxas' camp.

Roxas has repeatedly denied that his team was behind the morbid news that riled Duterte. — NB, GMA News

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THE TRIBUNE REPORT

Mar besieged as fireworks fly in Cebu debate Written by Angie M. Rosales and Charlie V. Manalo Monday, 21 March 2016 00:00



Cebu City — Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas was placed on the spot during the second presidential debates as United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard bearer Jejomar Binay, independent bet Sen. Grace Poe, PDP-Laban hopeful Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte pounced on the poor performance of the current administration of President Aquino which Roxas under his platform vows to continue.

Roxas was visibly incensed as he was ganged up by his three opponents raising his voice at times showing what his critics say as his tendency to crack under pressure.

Roxas was particularly confronted by the other candidates regarding his performance as the Interior and Local Government Secretary when typhoon “Yolanda” devastated a huge part of the Visayas region and his failed leadership in the Mamasapano debacle.

He was also questioned about anomalous deals that led to the poor state of the mass transit system Metro Rail Transit (MRT)-3

NOY ADMIN CRITICIZED

The Aquino administration was criticized for responding slowly to the devastation caused by the super typhoon that included the death of more 6,000 individuals and the failed relief efforts.

The intensity of the debates held in the University of the Philippines campus proved to be several notches higher than the first edition as the the four candidates present traded pointed accusations against each other.

The exchange was also heated between the considered frontrunners, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Grace Poe as both tried to highlight each others’ supposed weak spot, corruption charges on the former and citizenship issue on the latter.

Poe was the first to be asked on her stand on the Freedom of Information (FOI), reiterating her stance to push for its enactment and chiding the administration for its apparent failure to pass it as the matter does not seem to be a priority agenda.

Administration standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II retorted by asking if he was the one being insinuated by Poe and countered her claims saying that under his leadership in the bill will surely be enacted.

The same promise was made by Binay and fourth candidate, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte with the Vice President promising his first executive office, if elected as president, the passage of the FOI bill.

Poe drew first blood in the exchange of fire as he confronted Binay when he promised to issue an executive order on the FoI once he is elected president.

“That is nice to hear but with due respect VP Binay, there were several questions that we wanted to ask you but you never answered in the Senate, how would you now assure us that you would support the FoI?”, Poe retorted.

Binay replied to Poe saying that he is a man of action the reason for which he was well-respected in Makati City where he served as Mayor.

Binay takes on Poe citizenship

Binay then turned the tables against independent presidential candidate, Senator Grace Poe when the latter chided the former on his supposed failure to comply with the rule of law on several occasions.

In the second leg of the presidential debate delayed by one hour and 31 minutes caused by administration bet Mar Roxas’ insistence to change the debate rules at the last minute which would bar any candidate to bring documents to the debate venue.

Binay was asked by one of the panelists, Lourd de Veyra on how he would deal with the case of his son, former Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay in the event he wins the presidency.

“The case of my son is still in the allegation stage. He has yet to be convicted,” said Binay.

“While I believe that in the name of God and before the people my son is innocent, in the event he is convicted, we would see to it he is penalized,” Binay said.

“We should be a government of law,” the vice president stressed.

He however was chastised by Poe who said the vice president is not known to to follow the rule of law.

“You mention rule of law but you should have followed the debate rules,” Poe said referring to an incident when Binay tried to bring out a document before the debate.

“And you should have attended the senate hearing to answer the allegations against you,” she added.

“But didn’t you yourself didn’t follow the rule of law? You’re an American citizen who’s ashamed of her country?” Binay retorted.

“How can you say I am ashamed of my country? Do you mean that the millions of Filipinos living in other countries are also ashamed of their country?” Poe answered back.

“Senator Poe, you are not an OFW (overseas Filipino worker). You are not a natural-born citizen. When you took of your oath as an American citizen, you swore to “…abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen…” Binay said.

“And to abjure means to shun,” he added.

Apparently upset, Poe took on a litany of defense line even using the time allotted to Binay.

The vice president also dared everyone to sign a waiver to their bank accounts to be submitted to the anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to show their sincerity in their adherence to the Freedom of Information Bill.

“If elected, I will immediately issue an Executive Order effecting the FOI,” Binay said.

“In fact, I have brought with me here a waiver which we will submit to the AMLC and which I ask my political opponents here to sign,” said Binay.

He however was cut by debate moderator Luchi Cruz-Valdez reminding him of the Comelec debate rules prohibiting anyone from bring out a document during the debate.

Binay to Roxas

Binay also had heated discussion with Roxas who kept on talking about the allegations against the vice president as if he was already convicted but choosing to play it safe on the accusations against him and his own allies.

“When it comes to you and your allies, you insist on following the rule of law, that cases be filed against the person first and then wait for the conviction. But in my case, you’re talking as if I am already convicted,” said Binay.

“You should also explain how come you haven’t liquidated the P7 billion DILG fund as per CoA (Commission on Audit) report,” Binay said.

Roxas defended himself saying Binay was talking about the 2014 CoA report which the DILG had already complied with.
“Mr. Roxas, you’re talking different now. In the newspaper you were quoted saying you haven’t submitted the liquidation yet because the projects for which the P7 billion was spent, are still in progress,” Binay replied.

Rules a hot topic

Armed with a paper, on supposed “waiver” which he tried to present but was barred by the moderator, TV5’s Luchi Cruz-Valdez and seconded by Roxas and Poe.

Poe’s comment’s on adherence to rules earned rebuke from Binay who reminded the senator on the issue surrounding her citizenship, that she renounced her being a Filipino when she turned American citizen several years ago.

Binay lashed bask accusing Poe of being supposedly among those in a “conspiring to demerit my character”, reiterating any that the senator, when she took her oath of allegiance to become a naturalized American citizen, she “abjured” her being a Filipino.

“The issue is that if you are a true Filipino? You turned your back on it,” Binay commented.

The senator then pointed out that it’s the quality of public service that is most important.

“It is true that you were in the country but you stole. I am running to allow opportunities for Filipinos and not to steal,” Poe said.

Binay tried to pull a fast one by reading a document, apparently Poe’s oath renouncing her Filipino citizenship when was granted US citizenship but was immediately barred by Valdez, reiterating the “rule” against any use of document, notes of paper.

Debate on rules delayed debates

The Cebu City debate, with one of the candidates absent - Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, started more than an hour late, organizers citing last-minute concerns between the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the participant candidates on rules as reason for the delay.

The camps of Roxas and Binay argued on rules regarding the use of documents during the debate.

Binay bought voluminous documents to the debate venue which he had intended to use either to support his programs or refute the allegations raised by his political opponents against him.

This however was opposed by Roxas according to Binay’s media bureau.

“We got information that (Secretary) Roxas wanted to change the agreements made in several meetings attended by his representatives,” said Joey Salgado, Binay’s campaign communication director said.

“What I know is that based on the agreements, candidates are allowed to bring documents with them,” said Salgado.

The only condition, Salgado said, is that the candidates are not allowed to bring their documents to the podium.

“And TV5 assured the VP can bring documents,” said Salgado.

“These documents will be used by the VP to disprove the allegations against him,” he added.

Security was tight at the venue, held at the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu Performing Arts Hall similar to the arrangements undertaken by the Philippine National Police (PNP) during the conduct of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings held in the province last year, PNP Central Luzon Office spokesman Senior Supt. Renato Dugan said in a radio interview.

Only 300 seats were given to the audience where the actual debates took place, with the local media being given the priority and those of the media partners.

Members of the national media covering the campaign trail of the candidates - Binay, Roxas, Sen. Grace Poe and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte - as well as those from other media outfits were not allowed to enter but were provided a media center where they could cover the event and serve as a work area.
 

Santiago

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago opted to skip the debate citing medical treatment as a reason.

As early as Thursday, Santiago announced that she will not be attending the event arranged by the Comelec and its media partners as she is set to undergo a clinical trial for a new anti-cancer pill on the same day.

Santiago, who is in tandem with her colleague, vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., said recently joined the international clinical trial to gain free access to the unnamed anti-cancer pill and she has been accepted to fit to undergo such treatment.

“I am very sorry to miss out on the debates but it would be a disservice to the country if I forego the opportunity to get rid of my cancer completely and strengthen myself further to serve the Filipino people,” she said.

Santiago, however, assured that she will try to participate in the third and last presidential debate if the ongoing treatments, which reportedly cost half a million pesos every three weeks, do not inhibit her.

The clinical trial also requires the senator to report for outpatient radiation treatment at the hospital daily for a short period.
Santiago has been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in June 2014 yet proceeded to pursue her presidential bid and intend to heavily bank on what she claimed as strong social media base.

She, however, vowed to be present in the third and last debate to be held next month in Dagupan City, Pangasinan.

Poe, who arrived past 4 p.m., heard mass early in the day at St. Therese of the Child Jesus Parish. First to arrive was Binay, followed by Duterte and Roxas.

Both Poe and Binay arrived in Cebu on the eve of the scheduled televised debates while Roxas came in around noontime accompanied by his wife Korina and Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda.

Outside the hall, bleachers and a huge LED screen were set up accommodate the thousands of eager students who watched the event live.

Designated places were also arranged at the High School grounds for the respective supporters of the candidates who took part in the debate.

Police authorities said 700 law enforcers were deployed around the UP campus to maintain order.

Annotators were quick to clarify that the delay was not due to any technical glitch on their part but due to concerns beyond their control.

“We are only hosting this on their behalf,” TV5 anchor Roby Alampay said.

Roxas focuses on more Aquino's BUB

Roxas highlighted the Aquino administration’s Bottom-up Budgeting (BUB) program, yet a closer look at the regional allocation for BUB program reveals how it is “intrinsically designed” to boost the Liberal Party’s candidate, a party-list group asserted Sunday.

“Mar Roxas and the Aquino administration is hyping the so-called grassroots approach to budgeting under the BUB program. However, looking at the regional budget allocation for BUB projects show that its ulterior purpose is to boost Mar Roxas’ candidacy through patronage politics,” Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon said Sunday night.

“Such observation is not bereft of concrete basis,” the lawmaker said, as he noted the following observations:
Large BUB funds have been allotted to traditional bailiwicks of President Aquino and Roxas, such as Regions III (Central Luzon), which was given a total of P1.6 billion in BUB projects spread over several agencies in 2015, and P1.9 billion in 2015. This is also the case for Region VI (Panay), which received a total of P1.8 billion worth of BUB projects this year, and P2.1 billion for 2016.
Charlie V. Manalo

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MALAYA REPORT

BINAY BEARS BRUNT OF CORRUPTION ATTACKS By WENDELL VIGILIA March 21, 2016 TIME to face the music.

Vice President Jejomar Binay had nowhere to go after he was cornered yesterday by three rival presidential candidates into answering allegations of graft and corruption against him and his family.

Right from the start of the televised PiliPinas Debates 2016 held at the University of the Philippines Cebu, the issue of graft and corruption was tackled, forcing Binay to answer the jabs of rivals led by Sen. Grace Poe.

Binay was confronted by Poe who suddenly turned into fighting mode after the Vice President told TV 5 journalist and panelist Ed Lingao that he would see to it that the freedom of information (FOI) bill will be implemented through an executive order if he becomes president.

“There are a lot of questions that you failed to answer at the Senate. How can we believe what you’re saying?” Poe told Binay, triggering an exchange of brickbats among the presidential bets.

Poe, the FOI’s principal author in the Senate, then asked Binay if he is ready to sign a waiver to open his bank accounts, prompting the Vice President to attempt to bring out a waiver for signing of all presidential bets to allow the Anti-Money Laundering Council and other concerned government agencies to investigate their lifestyles and performances in public service.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, standard-bearer of the PDP-Laban, butted in, saying he would sign Binay’s waiver in front of him but debate moderator TV-5 anchor Luchi Cruz-Valdes stopped Binay from referring to any kind of document since it is prohibited under the Comelec’s rules.

The tough-talking mayor then faced Binay for his camp’s allegation that Duterte had committed technical malversation, apparently referring to a Commission on Audit (COA) report questioning the use of P46 million of Davao City’s special education fund (SEF) which the Duterte camp earlier said has already been answered last year.

Duterte said he is willing to withdraw from the presidential race if a case is filed against him and dared Binay to do so since aside from the charges he is facing before the Office of the Ombudsman, the Vice President was found by COA “administratively liable for grave misconduct, dishonesty and gross inexcusable negligence, graft and corrupt practices in connection with the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Parking Building II.”

The COA special audit report on the Makati City Hall Building II project claims that the construction of the Makati Parking Building II from phase 1 to 5 totaling P2.8 billion “showed irregularities from budgeting to procurement to execution resulting in the misuse of public funds.”

“To be brutally frank, sir, you have a lot of cases before the COA and the Ombudsman,” Duterte said in Binay’s face, later prompting the moderator to stop the exchange since a panel of journalist is waiting to ask question to candidates.

POE VS BINAY ROUND 2

Poe continued the attacks against Binay after the vice president said that he would adhere to the rule of law if he becomes president and would not protect his son, former Makati City mayor Erwin “Junjun” Binay who was unseated by the Office of the Ombudsman for graft.

“If he (Junjun) was convicted, let him be punished (by the law). But he’s not yet convicted, he is being accused. To be said that one is corrupt, there should be a court ruling. My son has no sin to God and the people,” Binay said.

Poe, however, said the former mayor should have attended the Senate’s hearing on the alleged overpriced Makati City hall parking building.

Visibly irked, Binay lashed out at Poe, questioning the legitimacy of her presidential bid as she once renounced her Filipino citizenship to be an American citizen.

“You always say you’re a true Filipino. How can you say that? You’re not a true Filipino because you are embarrassed that you are one; because of where you come from (Philippines). In your oath of allegiance (to the United States), you said you ‘abjure’ your being a Filipino,” he said.

Poe defended her citizenship, saying she had to look for greener pasture in the US like many other Filipinos – an act which she said is a lot better than staying in the country “to steal.”

“Yes you were born here but you stole,” he told Binay, who angrily retorted: “You’re all part of this conspiracy against me.”

Binay said Poe already judged him without a court trial but the lady lawmaker clarified that she was not referring to Binay and was only comparing her act of renouncing her Filipino citizenship to someone who did not leave the country but stole from the people.

“Was I referring to you? I did not say it was you. I, too, believe in the due process,” she told Binay.

‘GOEBBEL’S DISCIPLE’

When the debate’s topic shifted to track records, Binay began pouncing on Roxas, accusing him of graft and corruption when he was transportation secretary.

“You stole from the people,” Binay bluntly told Roxas, quoting former Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 General Manager Al Vitangcol III as saying that Roxas was one of those involved in the train’s maintenance contract mess.

“It’s so easy for you to accuse me of being a thief. You are a disciple of (Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany Joseph) Goebbels who believes that spreading a thousand lies becomes truth,” the Vice President added.

Roxas refuted Binay’s claim, saying he was never involved in any anomalous procurement in the MRT when he was transportation secretary and it was Vitangcol who was involved in the bidding process.

“You’re the one who knows Goebbels because you read him,” Roxas told Binay. “I don’t know him.”

SELECTIVE JUSTICE

Poe, who, in 2013 ran for senator under the Aquino administration’s “Team PNoy” senatorial slate, slammed the “Daang Matuwid” for what she called its selective justice.

“’Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap’ is their slogan but if you’re not an ally, cases will be filed against you,” she told Roxas.

Roxas, the administration standard-bearer, strongly denied Poe’s claim, saying the Judiciary’s record would show that even allies of the ruling Liberal Party are facing charges before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Poe, however, said only “small fries” are being charged in the ranks of the administration while allies who are considered valuable, like Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, who is being blamed for the MRT’s woes, are not.

“You can’t see because you’re playing blind. You can’t hear because you’re playing deaf,” she said, referring to the administration.

Roxas asked Poe is he was accusing the Ombudsman of allowing itself to be a tool of the Executive which Poe could not answer was her turn to answer was up.

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ABS-CBN TWEET

2nd presidential debate delayed ABS-CBN News Posted at 20 Mar 2016 06:03 PM | Updated as of 20 Mar 2016 08:58 PM Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Pin it Share on LinkedIn

MANILA - The second leg of the #PiliPinas Debates 2016 in Cebu Sunday earned the ire of viewers after it was delayed for more than 50 minutes.

The debate, held at the University of the Philippines Cebu, was supposed to run from 5 to 8 p.m.

A commentary at 4:30 p.m. was supposed to precede the debate proper, but this extended until past 5:50 p.m.

Reports said the delay was caused by presidential candidates seeking last minute clarifications on the debate rules.

Annie Fe Perez ‎@feanneperez

Somebody speaks Patrick Paez of the host network says, "very sorry for the very inconvenient delay. There's some clarification on rules"

5:34 AM - 20 Mar 2016 1 1 Retweet likes


PHILSTAR

UP prof: Debate failed to draw platform-based arguments By Kristine Daguno-Bersamina (philstar.com) | Updated March 21, 2016 - 12:01am 22 180 googleplus0 0


JAN ROBERT GO

MANILA, Philippines — The presidential debate initiated by the Commission on Elections failed anew in eliciting a platform-based conversation, a University of the Philippines educator on Sunday said.

“The candidates have attacked each other's person, which are not necessarily helpful,” Political Science Assistant Professor Jan Robert Go told Philstar.com in an online interview. “I hope the debate did not confuse the people.”

READ: Candidates veer away from debate topics to hit rivals

The analyst said the presidential candidates had been more preoccupied with “bashing” and “mudslinging” than on answering the questions raised.

“If there were attempts from candidates to answer the questions, they managed to reconfigure their answers and give a different response than expected,” Go said.

While the analyst said the candidates had been more in attack mode, they nonetheless managed to reveal their characters in how they asked and answered the questions.

READ MORE...

Go blamed the long delay of telecast which compromised the quality of debate.

“The delay was a big deal here. It really affected the mood of everyone,” he said.

Go said several topics in the Visayas leg such as health and education were not tackled, citing policy agendas and basic services which are as important as issues.

He expects more substantive answers can be squeezed from the candidates at the third round of presidential debate next month.

“I hope specific policy questions should be asked. (We) have questions that each candidate can answer. Example: What are your proposed public health programs? How will you resolve the problems in the education sector? This way, we can hear their positions,” Go said.

“Of course, we are assuming that they will answer this properly,” he added.

The third and last round of presidential debate will be held in Pangasinan, taking a town hall format.

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PHILSTAR'S ON THE MINDANAO FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE LAST MONTH

4 takeaways and commentary from the Mindanao presidential debate By Jovan Cerda (philstar.com) | Updated February 22, 2016 - 9:21am 15 1634 googleplus3 0


Who do you think won the first presidential debate?  Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Sen. Grace Poe, Manuel "Mar" Roxas II, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Jejomar Binay share the stage in Cagayan de Oro City. Philstar.com / AJ Bolando

MANILA, Philippines (First published Feb. 21, 2016 at 9:21 p.m.) — It was a debate characterized by more agreements than disagreements, but it was not without its share of some zing and potshots.

What are the key takeaways from the first PiliPinas presidential debate held in Cagayan de Oro City?

1. There was hardly a debate. With a format where the next candidate gets to rebut the first speaker and the first speaker having the last say, one would expect an intense exchange where a fellow candidate casts a shadow of doubt or negates the statement of a fellow contender. However, that was not the case in the first presidential debate. In most cases, candidates have agreed with what the other had to say.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, for example, took a friendly tone and refused to comment on the issue of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago's health and her capability to govern the country should she win the presidency. He also had nothing to say against Mar Roxas II's plan to help poor fisherfolk in the country.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, when responding to Sen. Grace Poe's benign comment on his plan of action for the agriculture sector, said he had nothing against the senator's position, even admitting that they are on the same page.

When Duterte talked about his resolve to break down agricultural cartels, Binay decided to talk about what he would do instead of questioning Duterte's point.

On the issue of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the United States, Poe explicitly agreed with Santiago's firm stance that the executive agreement which the Supreme Court recently affirmed should have been ratified first by the Senate, much like a treaty. The debate became a contest on who had the better rhetoric, as the two candidates shared the same ideological position on the issue of US troops' increased rotational presence in the country.

It's either of two things: the format did not allow for presidential candidates to clash with each other's ideological differences, or the candidates were unable to exploit loopholes or questionable points from their opponents' statements.

2. The time given was not enough to explain complex and crucial points. For Roxas, it was about clearing his name from the MRT mess. For Duterte, it was about the viability of a federal system of government as an alternative to the current political setup. For Poe, it was about expounding on her accusations on the government's "old ways" and alleged ineffeciencies. For Binay, it was presenting a robust position in support of political dynasties.

With only one and a half minutes to answer a question and 30 seconds to rebut a fellow candidate's point, the debate showed the candidates' capability (or lack thereof) to communicate efficiently and succintly under time pressure.

3. Some candidates, thankfully, decided to take off their gloves and engage their opponents. From the opening statements alone, Roxas decided to pull ahead of the pack by differentiating himself from the other candidates, who, according to him, are faced with issues of corruption, anger management and inexperience - clearly alluding to the other presidential aspirants. Responding to Poe's defense on her relative inexperience, he said the presidency is not an on-the-job training.

Santiago, to her credit, was clear in her opposition to Binay's stand in support of political dynasties. The vice president said voters should be allowed to freely choose the country's leaders, regardless if they came from the same clan. The senator said the Constitution expressly prohibits political dynasties, but Congress has so far failed to pass any law that would implement the anti-political dynasty clause of the Constitution.

Binay tried to deflect criticism by raising the fact that Santiago had a son, Narciso Santiago III, who served as a lawmaker for a party-list group. Santiago tried to save face by saying that her son only served one term and is no longer in government, but Binay was left unable to sufficiently defend, on a principle level, his support for political dynasties. It is important to note that Santiago's running mate, Vice President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. belongs to a political dynasty, but Binay did not raise that point.

One of the highlights of the debate was the heated exchange between Binay and Roxas.

Roxas said anti-corruption efforts are the best plan to fight drugs, and highlighted the achievements of Oplan Lambat Sibat, the anti-criminality drive of the Department of the Interior and Local Government during his term as the agency's secretary. Binay raised a valid but short point on implementation, but shifted the spotlight to what he was able to do to solve the problems of Makati.

Roxas blasted Binay's concept of Makati, saying that there are two Makatis: the Makati of the Ayalas and the Makati of Binays, which is allegedly mired in poverty and corruption.

4. Most presidential aspirants were able to distinguish themselves from the others in their closing statements, but there could've been more comparison on why the values they espouse are the best. In the end, the debate was largely harmless with the lack of direct engagement from the candidates. Binay decided to highlight his advocacy - good governance and compassion for the poor and decided to hit the current government's underspending.

Santiago took on a more serious tone, saying that the race for president is not a personality contest, but a chance to educate the country on who to properly vote for.

Duterte, calling himself a "native" of the Philippines, talked about his love of the country, and promised to get rid of the country's problems in a matter of three to six months.

Poe dedicated her final statement to Mindanao, talking about the region's energy problems, her promise of better budget allocation and her vow to fight against corruption. She also hit the old solutions to old problems by previous administrations.

Roxas took on a personal tone, admitting that he has a privileged background, but said that he wants to be president because he wants every Filipino to be as fortunate as he is.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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