ABS-CBN debate: Bets give an idea of how they will be as VP
MANILA, Philippines – Aspirants for the second highest post in the land gave voters a glimpse of how their leadership would be, as they faced off in another vice presidential debate held on Sunday, April 17.
ABS-CBN's Harapan ng Bise debate, held just a week after the lone Commission on Elections (Comelec)-organized debate for vice presidential bets, asked candidates questions related to how they would perform as vice president.
The name of a candidate required to answer a particular question was drawn from a glass bowl.
On transportation and terrorism
Camarines Sur 3rd District Representative Leni Robredo, candidate of the ruling Liberal Party, was picked to answer what she would do if the presence of the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group in the country is confirmed.
The lawmaker answered by stressing that it is better to lay down preventive measures rather than addressing the threat when it is already there.
"Iyan ang kinakatakutan natin ngayon – na wala pa rin tayong batas na naipapasa para po ma-capture yung aspirations ng ating kapatid na Muslim. Kaya ating itinutulak na magkaroon na sana ng batas," Robredo said, alluding to the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law that Congress failed to pass before it went on a break for the elections.
(That's what we fear now – that we have not passed a law to capture the aspirations of our Muslim brothers. That's why we are pushing for the passage of a law.)
"Kapag 'di natin sila pinakinggan, ang atraksyon nila na maging extremist, ang atraksyon nila sumali sa ISIS, napakalaki po talaga ng pagkakataon," she added.
(If we don't listen to them, it will be more likely that they will be attracted to join ISIS and be an extremist.)
She was also asked who she would endorse as head of the Department of Transportation and Communications – the agency under fire over Metro Manila traffic and MRT mishaps.
Robredo said that she does not have any particular name in mind, but would advise the president to appoint someone new in government who will most likely have fresh ideas.
Employment and OFWs
Senator Francis Escudero, meanwhile, was asked about potential conflict of interest, given that some of his wedding sponsors are prominent businessmen. Escudero's wedding to actress Heart Evangelista in February 2015 was attended by movers and shakers in business, politics, media, and entertainment.
"Hindi ko papayagan na ito ay mamagitan sa pagitan ko at sa aking trabaho," the senator answered.
(I won't let it come between me and my job.)
Escudero was also asked how he would improve the condition of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) if he would be named migrant czar.
Escudero said that he and standard-bearer Senator Grace Poe plan to establish a separate department for OFWs, allot P100 billion for a legal assistance fund, hire more employees for embassies, set up a pension fund, and extend PhilHealth coverage for OFWs to hospitals abroad.
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano was asked what would make him break ties with the administration. He responded that it would be corrupt practices, noting how he burned bridges with past controversial presidents.
"Si Alan Cayetano po ay isa sa mga inaalagaan ng Erap administration ngunit nung nakita ko na may issue sa jueteng, sa graft and corruption, ako po ay umalis at lumaban. Ninong at ninang ko po sa kasal si GMA at ang FG ngunit nung nakita namin ang Hello Garci, fertilizer [fund scam]… ay nilabanan namin ito," he said.
(I was an ally of Joseph Estrada's administration, but when I saw that there were issues with jueteng, graft and corruption, I broke ties and fought them. Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo were my wedding sponsors, but when we found out about the Hello Garci scandal, the fertilizer fund scam, we also battled those.)
Declaration of martial law
Independent candidate Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, meanwhile, was asked whether or not he would support a declaration of martial law.
The senator known for leading a failed coup against Arroyo answered: "Kung ang basehan ng pagdedeklara ng martial law ay may basis o valid eh kailangan nating suportahan.... Kung may threats to national security."
(If the declaration of martial law has basis or is valid, we need to support it. [It would be valid if] there are threats to national security.)
"But if it were declared to preserve power, we can't let that happen," he added in Filipino.
Only Robredo, Escudero, Cayetano, and Trillanes were able to attend the debate. Senators Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr and Gregorio Honasan II said they skipped the event due to prior engagements.
Though he was absent, Marcos was again criticized by Cayetano and Trillanes, his fellow Nacionalista Party members. – Rappler.com
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