The first Comelec PiliPinas Presidential and Vice-Presidential debate occurred on March 19, 2022. Both events began at 7 PM at the Sofitel Harbor Garden Tent, Pasay City. These debates are instrumental to Presidential aspirants looking to share their policies with the Filipino public.
These were the eight Presidential aspirants in attendance last Saturday, March 19:
- Former Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella
- Labor leader Leodigario “Ka Leody” De Guzman
- Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno Domagoso
- Former National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales
- Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Sr.
- Mr. Faisal Mangondato
- Dr. Jose Montemayor Jr.
- Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao
- Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Gerona Robredo
Only Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. was absent from the Presidential debate. His podium stood alone among his fellow Presidential hopefuls.
March 19’s debate did not allow for cheat sheets but instead plain paper on which aspirants could write notes. Also, only a few people were in attendance besides the aspirants.
The top highlights of the March 19 Comelec PiliPinas Presidential Debates
Marcos and Duterte: Still no-shows
Out of five podiums, only four were filled. The Marcos-Duterte pair were absent during the debate over the weekend but were instead present at a Marikina City campaign rally. The running mates tend towards being no-shows for debates. Bongbong Marcos had previously stated that he would rather communicate with the people instead of attending debates. In addition, Sara Duterte had said that attending Vice Presidential debates “is not part of her campaign strategy.”
However, on March 18, the day before the Presidential Debates, the Philippine Debate Union released an official statement signed by its members and alumni. The statement “express[ed] dismay and concern” over the tandem’s absence.
As of this writing, the two have missed out on three debates. Marcos did not attend the February 26 CNN Presidential debates and refused to participate in an interview hosted by Jessica Soho. Additionally, the Union called their behavior “alarming,” saying it deprives the Filipino people of learning about their policies if they are elected into office.
Marcos family’s P203B tax
Leody De Guzman, Isko Moreno, Ping Lacson, and Leni Robredo all touched upon the frankly exorbitant unpaid estate tax of the Marcos family. Originally valued at P23 billion in 1997, the Marcoses’ unpaid estate tax may be at P203 billion, including interest and penalties.
All four agreed that the debt must be collected. After all, much can be done with that large an amount, considering the current state of the economy.
Versus fake news
Both Pacquiao and Robredo were of one opinion concerning fake news. Both knew that it is detrimental to progress and that spreaders of disinformation should receive punishment. Pacquiao says that the government should control the spread of fake news on social media networks.
Robredo gave a more concrete plan: finding the source of disinformation and holding sites accountable. According to studies from two separate companies, she also mentioned that she’s the main target of fake news. As such, it benefits Bongbong Marcos, who is the top contender. According to the 2022 Pulse Asia Survey rankings, 60% of voters look to him as their next President.
Leody De Guzman looking out for the little guy
De Guzman brought a different yet significant perspective than his fellow Presidential aspirants to the debates. As a labor leader, he stressed that the government should provide for the basic needs of the Philippines.
In addition, Leody De Guzman wants 30% extra pay for laborers, alongside the four-day work week policy. This was seconded by Robredo, Lacson, and Mangondato. Also, he looked to increase the number of TESDA centers across the country.
His talking points were interesting, considering that Lacson and Robredo’s policies are similar. One commenter stated Lacson and Robredo’s policies “seem to be coming from the same place.”
As part of his final remarks, De Guzman slammed “elitist politics,” saying that the Philippines needs candidates that are not from the country’s elite.
Dr. Montemayor’s controversial hot takes
In a surprising admission for a doctor, Doctor Montemayor claimed that the Coronavirus vaccine exposed people to infection. It is odd that a doctor would not know of and express that a vaccine helps the vaccinated mount a response to protect from diseases.
Also, Doctor Jose Montemayor stated that he did not support the vaccine for Covid, despite being pro-vax himself. Dr. Montemayor even called the vaccine “experimental.” In addition, although vaccination wasn’t mandatory, he stated that mandatory vaccination is harassment to workers and must be removed.
In addition, Montemayor wrongly claimed that the Inter-Agency Task Force is full of lawyers. Moreno corrected him, saying that the task force also comprises medical personnel, such as front liners and specialists.
One down, two to go.
There are two more Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates between now and election day in the coming weeks. The next event is slated for the first week of April. – WhatALife! / Alex