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Who won in 3rd debate?

01:19 AM May 03, 2016

AT LAST! The third and final segment of the 2016 presidentiables’ “square-off” ended without the nastiness expected to color it. In the first and second debates (held in Cagayan de Oro and Cebu City, respectively), fiery accusations flew wild. But in Dagupan City, the five emerged “unscathed,” even victorious! “Duterte spared thrashing” (Front Page, 4/25/16) flashed the Inquirer’s issue the day after.

All media outfits involved in the three-segment 2016 PiliPinas debates prepared and followed different formats for the debates, thus raising progressively the “level of discourse.” We have come of age!

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In the Dagupan City debate, three features were notable: the “Town Hall” and “Fast Talk” segments, and the roving TV cameras!

“Town Hall” sufficiently touched on issues that have been hounding ordinary citizens demanding honest answers: the maritime dispute with China; metro traffic; sustainable livelihood and contractualization; and the plight of OFWs.

“Fast Talk” put Vice President Jejomar Binay at the receiving end when Karen Davila asked: “Ipai-impeach mo ba si Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales sakaling maging pangulo ka (Would you have Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales impeached if you became president)? Yes or no?” Binay replied: “No, kasi gusto kong makilala akong a healing and unifying president” (No, because I want to be known as a healing and unifying President). Notably, only the Inquirer reported this exchange.

Binay’s wisely-crafted response must have stunned the Ombudsman! But in July 2015, the Binays filed a P200-million damage suit against certain personalities that included the Ombudsman. A motion to dismiss could be the first opportunity for a “reconciliation.” But will the Ombudsman conform to it?

ABS-CBN occasionally panned the cameras to give TV viewers a close-enough look at the crowd. Which gave us the opportunity to catch former Makati mayor Junjun Binay in a pensive mood and Paolo Roxas with misty eyes, perhaps aware of the travails of his father Mar Roxas. Rude it was for Rodrigo “Du30” to ridicule Roxas for his “lackluster,” fourth-place ranking, unaware it seemed that Roxas was in third place. The underdog status of Roxas could fuel his resolve and prompt him to dig into his inner strength deep enough for him to win the presidency!

May 9 is the “last round” of this contest. And this time the Commission on Elections takes center stage to guarantee clean, honest and free elections. Will the voter turnout in the 2016 elections reach the level or top that of 2013’s when 74.99 percent of 50.9 million registered voters cast their ballots? But with today’s weather, will the majority of those aged 40 to 85 and over (which constitute 45 percent of the voting population) endure the scorching heat or elect to return home? That could drop the voter turnout to a record low level. Should the Comelec then extend the voting hours to 9 p.m.? With 55 million Filipinos raring and all primed up to vote, why not?

—MANUEL Q. BONDAD, Makati City

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TAGS: candidate, debate, Elections, last debate, letter, opinion, presidential debate
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