Harapan ng Bise, the Kapamilya network’s special program for the elections, aired earlier this Sunday, April 17.
It was not part of the PiliPinas Debates series coordinated by the Commission on Elections.
The four candidates who attended were Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes, and Chiz Escudero, and Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo.
Senators Bongbong Marcos and Gringo Honasan did not attend.
The program was designed like a local fiesta, complete with banners, drummers and confetti, but it still felt tepid because it seemed like the candidates were not willing to engage each other in a proper debate.
Here are five memorable moments from ABS-CBN’s Harapan ng Bise:
NO QUESTIONS ASKED. The debate had several segments, and one of them tasked the candidates to challenge each other with their own questions.
The candidates, however, failed to capitalize on this format, because they chose not to ask hard-hitting questions.
Trillanes was supposed to ask Escudero, but the decorated soldier begged off.
Escudero used his time and gave a speech about his own platforms, instead of asking Robredo.
Robredo and Cayetano’s questions were about Marcos, who was not present.
ROBREDO ASKS CAYETANO. Only Robredo seemed to challenge another candidate.
She asked Cayetano about being a critic of Marcos in the last debate even if they were both members of the Nacionalista Party.
Cayetano prefaced his answer by criticizing Marcos’s absence.
“Sayang, wala siya dito. Tinakbo na nila ang pera ng bayan, ngayon naman ang debate tinakbuhan nila, ni Bongbong Marcos.”
Cayetano also continued to pin Marcos for corruption.
“SALN [Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth] ni Bongbong, 500 million pesos.
“Hindi naman siya nagtrabaho minsang araw sa buhay niya.
“Ang Napoles, 205 million ang nilagay niya.
“Sinasabi niya, wala na raw pinag-aagawan ang gobyerno na pera.
“Pero one billion dollars ang pinag-aawayan pa, at may limang bilyon na nakatago pa.
“So, hindi mo maaalis sa akin na kailangan kong magsalita,” he said.
CAYETANO TEAMS UP WITH TRILLANES. When it was Cayetano’s turn to ask a question, he used the time to hit Marcos again.
He told Trillanes, “Hanga ako sa ‘yo sa laban sa corruption.
“Tutal napag-uusapan na natin ang Marcos, ano ang feeling mo na may nagsasabing anti-graft siya?
“Tapos, tumatakbo siya, wala raw bahid ang kanilang pamilya, pero ni isang hearing hindi siya nag-attend, at sinabi pa sa ating dalawa, pamumulitika lang raw ang hearing na yun.”
Trillanes agreed with Cayetano.
He said, “Ito ngang si Senator Bongbong, I believe kailangan natin na ibigay sa taong-bayan kung ano ba ang pinanggagalingan ni Senator Marcos.
“But sa akin, tanggalin na lang natin yung sa pagiging anak niya ng isang dictator. Tingnan na lang natin si Bongbong Marcos as a senator.
“Ano ba ang nagawa niya sa inyo? Ano ba ang nagawa niya the past six years as a senator?”
DEFENDING DUTERTE. Another memorable moment was when host Alvin Elchico asked Cayetano to defend his running mate Rodrigo Duterte on the recent rape joke controversy.
According to the senator, Duterte is an advocate for women, and his programs in Davao will prove it.
“It’s not about defense. He will make a statement. I know him.
“Maybe I’m not the best person to ask because I know he’s an advocate for women.
“Ang siyudad niya lang ang may women’s code. Ang siyudad niya lang ang bawal na may bathing suit sa may beauty contest.
“Sa kuwento na ‘yan, I don’t know why nagkaganun, but he offered himself as a hostage, pagkatapos ni-rape at pinatay.
“Siya lang ang taong lumalaban ng tunay para sa bata, matanda, babae.
“Having said that, he will explain bakit ganun,” said Cayetano.
PLATFORMS. The program also gave a chance for the candidates to present their platforms on how they will serve the Filipino people.
Escudero said he will end contractualization of labor, offer free healthcare to overseas Filipino workers when they are working abroad, free education in state universities, and maintain peace and order by stamping out poverty.
Robredo will also push for the end of contractualization to promote job security. She will also strengthen education by decentralizing the Department of Education (DepEd) and promote a one doctor per family policy even for indigent Filipinos.
Cayetano stressed that the blueprints are already available, and they can even be downloaded from the internet. He claimed that good platforms are not what is solely needed but good leadership.
Lastly, Trillanes wants to modernize the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces, nationalize public hospitals nationwide so they can have reliable standards, and to stop the DepEd’s K-to-12 program.