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Presidential Debate may not push through

After exclaiming with much gusto and bravado that she'll face her rivals in a debate anytime, anywhere, GMA now wont join the debate if FPJ is not there.

From INQ7.net
President demands
one-on-one with Poe
Posted: 0:23 AM (Manila Time) | Feb. 27, 2004
By Juliet Labog-Javellana and Martin P. Marfil
Inquirer News Service

Only Poe

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo now wants to debate only with actor Fernando Poe Jr.

"I will only go to the (presidential) debate if it's one-on-(one) only if Fernando Poe is in that debate,'' Ms Macapagal said Thursday at a press conference in Marawi City where she and the slate of the K-4 coalition were campaigning.

Asked what would happen if Poe did not attend the debate, she said: "It is not worth it.''

Ms Macapagal, who is seeking a full six-year term, earlier expressed readiness to join a debate on the condition that all six presidential contenders were present.

The President was reacting Thursday to reports that Poe was inclined to skip a televised debate among presidential candidates being organized by the Commission on Elections and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting.

The Comelec earlier approved the presidential debate to be sponsored by the Philippine Daily Inquirer and GMA Network. The debate, titled "Engkuentro 2004: Ang Debate sa Pagkapangulo," is scheduled for next month. The PPCRV-Comelec debate is scheduled for April 13 and will be aired on another TV channel.

Without Ms Macapagal, presidential candidate Panfilo Lacson said he was likely to drop out of the scheduled debates.

"A debate without the person causing all of the country's woes like GMA (Ms Macapagal) will be useless," Lacson told reporters in Lemery, Batangas, during his campaign in the province. "So, I am not going to join a debate without her. I have a lot of questions to ask," he said.

Presidential candidate Raul Roco, for his part, slammed Ms Macapagal for threatening to back out from the presidential debate should Poe refuse to show up.

"In a democracy, it is important that there is a debate so that there is clarity. It is important that ideas are heard so that we know where the people will go," Roco said. "It is important to show what you can do based on your records."

Turning to Poe, the standard-bearer of the Alyansa ng Pag-asa said: "I hope Fernando Poe, the king (of movies), will show himself a king, and not somebody who will lose a kingdom because he was afraid to be a man in a debate."

Not giving up

Marissa Flores, vice president for news and public affairs of GMA 7, said the network and the Inquirer were not giving up.

"We gave our invitations on Feb. 17 and we have been preparing mechanics which we are planning to present to the campaign managers and representatives of the presidential candidates," Flores said.

As of Thursday, presidential spokesperson Ignacio Bunye, Jaime Galvez-Tan, Ronnie Zamora, Luigi Tabuena and Val Trinidad said they would attend the meeting on March 3 at the GMA Network executive lounge on EDSA corner Timog in Quezon City.

Bunye will represent Ms Macapagal and Galvez-Tan, Roco. Zamora will represent Lacson; Tabuena, Bro. Eddie Villanueva; and Trinidad, Eddie Gil. Sen. Tito Sotto III, personal campaign manager of Poe, was also invited to the meeting.

Flores said the debate would be conducted before an audience composed of various sectors such as workers, women and the urban poor, including residents of Payatas in Quezon City. "We plan to allow people to raise questions to the candidates," she said.

Moral suasion

Bunye urged the Comelec to exercise its moral suasion to convince Poe to appear and explain his platform of government on nationwide TV.

"Should the Comelec fail to convince Mr. Poe, President Gloria, much to our regret, will have to beg off from any debate,'' Bunye said in a statement.

Bunye explained: "While President Gloria wants the widest latitude for informing the people about issues affecting their lives, a debate without one of the principal contenders will not serve its purpose of giving the electorate an informed choice.''

As if on cue, Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos said the poll body would use its "moral suasion'' to persuade Poe to participate in the televised presidential debates that it had approved.

"We can call on him so that people can analyze his platform of government and be able to somehow compare it with the others while sitting in the same forum,'' Abalos said.

Comelec Commissioner Resurreccion Borra said the poll body would "politely'' and "persuasively'' touch base with all the presidential candidates.

"(We will) explain to them the justification for this presidential debate, not only as provided by law, but for their own good as candidates vying for the highest position in the land. So we appeal to reason,'' Borra said.


Poe's spokesperson Francis Escudero said the actor might just turn up at any of the debates. "Posible yan, posibilidad iyon (It's possible. That is a possibility).

"It's better if he says what he feels now, and if that changes, he'll just turn up there and participate," he said at the launching of the Young and United Professionals for Economic Empowerment (Yupee), a group supporting Poe and his running mate Loren Legarda. He said this was better, rather than say yes and fail to show up later.

In a statement, Escudero said Ms Macapagal should not use the actor's tack to politely decline any invitation to a debate as an excuse to withdraw from the presidential debates.

"FPJ should not be used as an scapegoat for her withdrawal," he said.

Escudero said Ms Macapagal's withdrawal unmasked the administration's real motive in calling for the debates, "which was to provide a venue to attack FPJ and not the ventilation of a particular candidate's issues."


Abalos said Poe should participate in the debates as this would greatly help the people in their choice come May 10.

"I'll either write or call him so that he would reconsider his decision as these debates are sanctioned by the Comelec,'' the Comelec chair said.

Abalos said the Comelec could not force anyone to join the debates.

"It would have been much better for our voting populace to be able to see all of them all together in one forum so that people would be able to analyze, and compare one with the other and, at the same time, to be able to know what their platforms or government policies would be,'' he said.

Borra said Comelec could not impose any sanction on candidates who chose not to appear before the debates.

"We leave the sanctions to the voters because they are the ones running for public office ... no less than the presidency,'' he said. With reports from Norman Bordadora, Michael Lim Ubac and Luige del Puerto

Looks to me like GMA is not looking to debate her opponents but to make FPJ look like an idiot (which politically he is) on national TV. Now if FPJ isn't there, she'll be under intense pressure from Ping and Roco and be on the defensive. At least if she can pick on FPJ, she can deflect the barbs aimed at her to the hapless FPJ


  • FPJ is playing mysterious type again and that pisses me of. why could he decide for himself to join or not. pati pa ba naman sa pagsali sa debate tatanungin pa nya mga alepores nya? is that a mentality of a strong president? he cant even make his own decisions
  • No debate. Good.
  • Stupid move from FPJ, his pal Erap joined the debates, he didn't do well but at least nobody can call him a coward.

    Gma didn't join the debates in 98, maybe she's just looking for a new excuse not to join this year' debate.

    As far as i'm concerned both FPJ and GMA will be kulelat in the debates.

    But GMA stands to lose more. People already know FPJ is an idiot and most don't care anyway. GMA is trying to pass herself off as the intellectual,educated, competent, experienced choice of businessmen and the upper classes. If she stinks in the debates, she'll lose whatever is left of her paper thin credibility.

    She will do anything to stay out of a debate, especially with Roco and Ping training their guns on her.
  • i know it from the start...
    anyway cong ESCUDERO confirmed, it FPJ will serve
    coffee during the debate.
  • Very remarkable is the reason given by Enrile as to why FPJ did not want to engage in the debate.

    From http://www.malaya.com.ph/feb27/news3.htm

    "Former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile said it would only "entertain" the so-called civil society. 'May agenda sila, they want to embarrass the guy.'"

    Sure. But they couldn't do this unless FPJ had something to be embarrassed about, right? :D
  • Of course we have an "agenda", we want to be convinced why we should vote for FPJ despite our misgivings about him. Bakit, hinihintay ba nila Enrile yung mga tatanungin sa debate para makagawa sila ng script? Bah sa mga pelikula nya isang daang tauhan ni Lizardo ang di nya inatrasan tapos ngayong usapan nawawalan si FPJ ng ballz? :lol: So much for the macho image of FPJ :D
  • sabi ni da king, puro lang sila dakdak, sha tunay na actions daw.

    Si Lacson at si Roco na lang kaya ang mag debate total kalewete naman silang pareho. Baka mag iba ang ihip ng hangin sa kadadaldal nila. :D
  • Originally posted by lech0n X
    sabi ni da king, puro lang sila dakdak, sha tunay na actions daw.

    Si Lacson at si Roco na lang kaya ang mag debate total kalewete naman silang pareho. Baka mag iba ang ihip ng hangin sa kadadaldal nila. :D

    Ganito sana ang ipo-post ko e sinulat mo na

    kaya agree na lang ako!
  • lech0n X & cool_ambo: Di lang takot si Roco nai-articulate ang lahat ng gusto nyang mangyari for the country. Well, that because he has a vision and he knows how to go about it. And I would like to remind you, Roco walks his talk. May sinabi na ba sya na salungat sa mga ginagawa nya? Roco is very different from the other presidential contenders who are liars, hypocrites and traitors to the nation.

    The Filipino people deserve to know the views and platforms of all candidates seeking the highest office of the land. Sa demokrasya, hindi pwedeng mag-mature ang isang bayan kung hindi nagsasalita ang lider. Kung hindi maririnig ang kanyang kaisipan, kung hindi maririnig ang tibok ng puso niya, hindi malalaman ng mamamayan kung saan patungo ang Pilipinas. It is important that there is debate so that there is clarity. It is important that ideas are heard so that we know where the people will go.

    RAUL ROCO, for enlightened and principled leadership!
  • Nakakafrustrate naman to, FPJ ayaw? anu ba yan kelangan na nateng marinig ung side na para malaman na naten ung platforms niya at tignin ko naman maganda na kung diyan niya ipahayag yan e. It really pisses you off as a voter, tsk tsk tsk. Now GMA pulling out dahil wala si FPJ? isa pang kalokohan yan, e siguro naman kung wala si FPJ pwede pa naman siguro e. Hindi naman payabangan yan e, you have to voice out your policies, opinions, and etc for us to decide na sino makakabuti sa bayan.

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