CEBU CITY—Political rivals Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and Vice President Jejomar Binay traded barbs on stage on who was the cause of the one-hour delay in the second presidential debates at the University of the Philippines Cebu on Sunday.
Roxas issued a statement on stage after the Binay camp accused him of causing the delay of the presidential debates sponsored by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and TV-5.
The United Nationalist Alliance communications director Joey Salgado said Roxas wanted to change the agreement that Binay would be allowed to bring documents that would disprove the allegations of corruption against him.
“Let me speak here. We are here as guests. Sinabihan niyo kami na ito ang patakaran. Ito ay nagmula sa Comelec mismo sa Cagayan De Oro, one month ago. Apat na meetings ang naganap sa pagitan ng lahat ng representatives ng mga kandidato,” Roxas said.
(You laid out the rules before us. It came from the Comelec in Cagayan De Oro, one month ago. Four meetings were held among the representatives of all the candidates.)
“At no time was it said na magbabago ang rules (that the rules would be changed). No notes ang pag-uusap (It was agreed upon that there would be no notes). I think the Comelec will confirm that. These are being held [under] the auspices of the Comelec. Are we a rules-based society or not?” Roxas said.
Carrying his notes, Binay was trying to speak on the microphone when Roxas told him off: “I have the mic sir, excuse me.”
“Sundin lang natin ang patakaran ng Comelec sa debate na ito (Let us follow the rules of the Comelec in the debate). That’s my two cents’ worth,” Roxas said.
For his part, Binay spoke on stage and said he had been practicing with his notes days before the debate.
He said it was wrong to say the debate should only allow the rules under the Comelec’s auspices because the debate was a joint venture with TV-5.
TV-5 head of public affairs Luchi Cruz-Valdes had apologized and said she was the one who confirmed to Binay’s camp that the vice president may bring notes.
“Yung (these) auspices na ito, it’s as if this is constructed only by Comelec. This is a joint venture. Hindi lang ang Comelec ang magmamando dito (The Comelec is not only one with authority here),” Binay said.
“Sila po naghanda na walang notes. Eh ako, naniwala naman kami na pwede… May dala akong dokumento na gusto ko ipakita…” Binay said.
(They prepared without any notes. Meanwhile, our camp believd that notes were allowed. I have documents I wanted to show [to the public].)
TV-5 unceremoniously cut the livestream of the ongoing trade of barbs being aired in the media center. RAM