Senators prefer face-to-face debate among presidential bets

Published October 28, 2021, 10:51 AM

by Mario Casayuran

Senators prefer face-to-face debate among presidential candidates in the forthcoming May 2022 national elections.

‘’It can be done with the appropriate safety protocols on COVID-19 being observed. That is why my preference is a face-to-face debate,’’ Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon said of a plan of the Commission on Election to hold an online debate among presidential bets.

Drilon, a former Senate president and former Justice secretary, said the ‘’possibility of coaching (by the candidates’ staff) will diminish the credibility of the debates as a test of the candidates’ competence to lead the country for the next six years.’’

He is politically aligned with presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III of the Pacquiao wing of the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP)-Laban party, also prefers a face-to-face debate.

Pimentel, also a former Senate President, said the debate covered by TV, radio and social media lessens physical distance.

This would ‘’provide distance between debaters and the others. That should do it,’’ he added.

Partido Reporma chairman and standard bearer Senator Panfilo M. Lacson accepted the Comelec plan, saying ‘’at least hybrid, not virtual.’’

‘’As we experience in our Senate hearings and even sessions, there are many limitations, not to mention technical problems pag (when) virtual or online ang debate,’’ he said.

‘’For one, iba pa rin yung physically engaged ang mga kandidato lalo na sa isang debate na inaabangan ng mga Pilipino para makilatis nila ng husto kung sino ba ang iboboto nila upang mamuno sa bansa, kasama na ang demeanor o kilos ng bawat presidential candidate (People await debates where the debaters are physically engaged and later decide whom to vote to lead the country after observing their demeanor and behavior),’’ Lacson said.