VP debate today at UST; all bets to participate

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – All six vice presidential candidates have confirmed their attendance at the PiliPinas 2016 Debates today at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila.

Sens. Alan Peter Cayetano, Francis Escudero, Gringo Honasan, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Antonio Trillanes IV and Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo have committed to attend the debate.

The debate will be held at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Among the topics to be discussed are corruption, poverty, political dynasty, traffic, Internet connectivity, foreign policies and the vice president as a “spare tire.”

The debate is organized by the Comelec in partnership with CNN Philippines, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, Business Mirror and UST.

Three CNN international correspondents are expected to pose questions to the vice presidential candidates during the event.

VP not a spare tire – Robredo

The vice president should not be considered a spare tire, according to Robdredo.

Robredo said she would continue to give her best in serving the people if she wins.

She said it would be a waste of resources if the vice president is not given any task and will end up “just waiting for something to happen to the president.”

The office of the vice president presents huge opportunities to help the people, Robredo said.

Robredo said she wants to handle anti-poverty programs that cut across all departments if she is elected.

When asked how she would work if she wins and the president comes from another party, she said: “That would be unfortunate but our job description is to have the same commitment to serve as we committed to our runningmate, nothing more, nothing less, as our oath as public servants demands of us.”

Robredo said she hopes that she and her runningmate Manuel Roxas II will win as they work well as a team.

Meanwhile, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) said the next vice president should be a team player.

The next vice president should be able to establish a relationship with the president, PPCRV national chairperson Henrietta de Villa said. 

Marcos sees mudslinging

Marcos, meanwhile, said he was expecting mudslinging in today’s vice presidential debate. 

“We are preparing for all possibilities, intellectual discussions as well as antagonistic exchanges,” he said.

Marcos, who has been leading in surveys, said he expects to bear the brunt of the mudslinging.

Marcos said he would stick to his call for unity and not engage in mudslinging just to stay ahead of his rivals.

“Instead of trying to put each other down, we should just present our plans and programs to the people so that they will have an informed choice on who to vote come May 9,” he said. – With Mike Frialde, Paolo Romero

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