Presidential candidates: Jejomar Binay, Miriam defensor-Santiago,
Drodrigo Duterte, Grace Poe, and Mar Roxas. Photo: ABS-CBN screengrab
to the first two, this debate moderated by ABS-CBN was by far the best.
So before anything else, kudos to the folks at ABS-CBN and ANC. Each of
the five presidential contenders had ample opportunity to differentiate
himself or herself from the rest—which should help voters make more
informed choices on election day.
Binay's performance this time was quite good. We like his idea of free
schooling for all Filipinos. However, when asked how he could help
Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea, we thought his answer
naive and ill-advised when he said he would ask China to "allow" our
fishermen to fish unimpeded in areas of the West Philippine Sea while
the issue is being contested by both nations.
Duterte's honesty and sincerity came across loud and clear in this
debate. However, his comment about risking death, by getting on a jet
ski and planting a Philippine flag on a China-occupied Island located
inside the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone, seems foolhardy at best.
We're not sure what to make of a Duterte presidency; it could be truly
great, or truly disastrous.
The Lady we saw in this debate was a far cry from the Miriam we knew
just a few years ago. She seems to have mellowed-out and slowed down
though there was still some of that fire left in her. Despite her
protestations to the contrary, her bout with cancer appears to have
dulled some of the edginess to her.
Grace was her usual eloquent self. She appeared confident and fully
conversant on all the topics discussed during the debate. Her idea of
appointing a "traffic terminator" was music to the ears of Filipino
commuters who spend hours on the road each day stuck in traffic.
Overall, we were
pleasantly surprised that all five candidates appeared to have the best
interest of the nation at heart. For us however, Mar Roxas and Grace Poe
came out on top as both offered a well thought-out plan for the country.
Miriam Santiago appeared to have health issues, Duterte appeared too
cavalier, and Binay's plan to negotiate bilaterally with the Chinese ran
counter to our stand on that issue. Let us know what you thought of the
Even more so than previous debates, Mar appeared on top of his game in
this debate. He was well versed on all the topics discussed during the
debate. He also appeared to put on a more forceful persona compared to
his usual soft-spoken, mild-mannered ways. He also played the role of
spokesperson for the Aquino administration, touting its achievements and
successes. He made no radical pronouncements unlike Santiago and Duterte,
and appeared to offer the country a firm steady hand at the helm. He
also touted his years of experience in government, differentiating
himself from Poe who is sees as lacking in experience.