- Binay, Roxas, Santiago, and Poe expressed readiness to face each other on presidential debates
- Unexpected occurrences prevented the four candidates from directly facing off during the PCCI event
- COMELEC has set presidential debates next year in different parts of the country
The four top presidential aspirants for the 2016 polls, Jejomar Binay, Mar Roxas, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, and Grace Poe, all agreed to battle it out in presidential debates after the supposed face-off during the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI)’s Philippine Business Conference and Expo unexpectedly turned into a forum with business leaders instead.
PCCI Honorary Chairman Donald Dee revealed that Binay asked for a last minute change in the format of the event in order to uphold fairness.
Given that Binay had the chance to be at the forum the day before, he reportedly requested that the other three presidential hopefuls be provided more time to discuss their platforms by speaking one at a time as opposed to having a formal debate. Dee said that they granted the request because the other candidates agreed to it as well.
Even with Poe’s late arrival, the forum proceeded with several members of the business industry asking an array of questions that sought to dig deep on each of the presidential bets’ plans for the country.
Dee admitted that he and his colleagues are still undecided as to who to eventually vote for, saying, “They have the same advocacies and they have the same commitment which is opening the market, infrastructure, income tax review, FOI. These are the same. Question now is intensity and capability, that’s what we have to evaluate.”
The top four choices for the presidency may still have the opportunity to address each another through upcoming debates spearheaded by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). All to be held next year, the first debate will be on February 21st in Mindanao, then on March 20th in Visayas, and lastly, on April 24th in Luzon.
COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista challenged the candidates; saying that snubbing these events only equates to cowardice.