VP bets bare personal characters during debate

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Four of six vice presidential candidates attended an unofficial debate organized by a TV network on Sunday (April 17). Those who showed up for the debate are: (from left to right) Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero, and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The public had a chance of knowing the vice presidential candidates on a more personal level, in a debate arranged by a television network on Sunday (April 17).

In a debate organized by ABS-CBN, the candidates were asked more personal and unconventional questions — baring their personal character aside from their respective stance on issues.

In a question by veteran journalist Tina Monzon-Palma, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s running mate, was asked about his weakness and how he would handle it.

Cayetano said he has two weaknesses — his love for his family and his temper.

According to Cayetano, he loves his wife, his parents, siblings, and in-laws, and admitted that issues connected to them could possibly affect him. But more than that, Cayetano said he’s aware that he has a temper to deal with.

But Cayetano said this weakness, as perceived by political analysts, is actually his strength.

“Another weakness na sinasabi ng mga political analysts — Kasi raw ako ay pala-away, pero hindi po ito kahinaan. Para sa akin strength po ito…It’s a strength as a public official,” Cayetano said.

[Translation: "Another weakness pointed out by political analysts is that I am shrewish—because I tend to get into arguments, but it’s not a weakness…It’s a strength as a public official.]

Cayetano said this will come in handy, especially in fighting corruption, illegal drugs, and crime. “I don’t really care about image but people can see who I am and I will always fight for them.”

He also said he is not like Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, another vice presidential candidate, who chose to be silent on issues such as ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.

But Escudero said he has his own ways of dealing with things and issues.

“Ako po ang nagpasa ng Anti-Torture Law, Enforced Disappearances Act, and Marcos Compensation Bill. Hindi ko man inaway si Senador Marcos, ginawa ko naman ang trabaho ko...Ako po ay may delicadeza.”

[Translation: I passed the Anti-torture law, Enforced Disappearances Act, and Marcos Compensation Bill. Even if I didn't get into a fight with Senator Marcos, I did my job… I handle things tactfully.]

In Sunday’s debate, two of the six vice presidential candidates did not show up — senators Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., and Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan. The network said they extended invitation to all candidates for the unofficial debate.

Also see: Debate heats up on corruption issue

Shots fired: VP candidates trade barbs during debate

To support martial law or not?

Professor Julio Teehankee asked Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, if he will support the president’s decision if the president chooses to enforce Martial Law.

Trillanes said it depends on the situation.

Kung ang basehan ng desisyon ito ay may basis o valid, ay kailangan po natin itong suportahan. Ano ba yan? Yan ba ay threats to national security,” Trillanes said. “Ngayon kung ito ay idineklara to preserve yung kanilang puder ng kapangyarihan ay hindi natin pwedeng hayaan yun.”

[Translation: "If the basis of the decision is valid, we need to support it. And what is that? Are there threats to national security? Now if it is declared to preserve their reign and power, we will not allow it."]

Role as overseas Filipino czar

For Professor Edna Co, one of the most neglected members of the Filipino society are the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).  She asked Escudero about his programs if he will be designated as the overseas Filipino czar.

Escudero said if he and his presidential running mate Sen. Grace Poe win the elections, they would create a separate department for OFWs.

Magtatalaga kami ng 100 billion para sa mga OFWs… Layunin po naming na magtatag ng pension fund sa OFWs… Nais naming maalalayan sila."

[Translation: "We will allocate 100 billion for OFWs. It's our goal to start a pension fund for OFWs. We want to support them."]

He also said they would make Philhealth “portable” for OFWs, meaning they would make it accessible to OFWs wherever they are in the world.

Responding to ISIS and radicalism

Lastly, veteran journalist Tina Monzon Palma also had the chance to ask the final question to administration bet Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo.

She was asked what advice she would give the president if there is enough evidence that terrorist group ISIS is already in Mindanao.

But instead of directly answering the question, Robredo said radicalism could be prevented by acting on the concerns of people in Mindanao.

Kailangan na itulak na talaga na magkaruon na ng batas. Dapat po ngayon na ngayon pa lang aksyunan na ito ng gobyerno,” Robredo said. ["We need to pass a law for this. The government must act on it."]

Robredo said the government must address extremism before terrorist group ISIS could bank on Mindanaoans' concerns and influence them to join.

Also read: What happened behind the scenes at the VP debate