Debates among poll bets a double-edged sword, according to solon

Published March 11, 2019, 10:16 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Ellson Quismorio

If this House Leader is to be believed, then public debates during election season can become a double-edged sword for some candidates.

According to Antipolo 2nd district Rep. Romeo Acop, debates can be both beneficial and harmful to poll aspirants, depending on their performance in such battle of wits and eloquence.

Antipolo 2nd district Rep. Romeo Acop (FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)
Antipolo 2nd district Rep. Romeo Acop (FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)

“For the candidates, it would serve as a forum to increase the awareness about them of the voters and to showcase their capabilities and other reasons why they should be elected,” said Acop, who chairs the House Committee on Public Order and Safety.
“However, it could also show the inadequacies of the candidates,” added the lawmaker, referring to instances wherein some poll bets might “make a mess” or botch their answers during the debate.

Acop, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) official with the equivalent rank of brigadier general, was sounding off on the prevalence of “debate challenges” between senatorial candidates in the upcoming May 13 midterm elections.

But the Antipolo solon quickly pointed out that it is the voters who would benefit a great deal from the conduct of public debates since they would get a better feel of the candidates they are electing.

“On the part of the electorate, they would be able to know the candidates and determine whether they are capable and appropriate for the position,” he said.

There are a total of 62 candidates vying for the 12 Senate seats up for grabs in the polls this May.

In past weeks, members of the “Otso Diretso” opposition slate have hurled challenges of a one-on-one debate against the pro-administration Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) slate of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

None of these dares or challenges have resulted in actual public debates.