Roxas, Poe, Duterte stood out in last presidential debate – PolSci prof

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Three presidential candidates shined the brightest in the final presidential debate on Sunday (April 24), according to University of Santo Tomas Political Science professor Edmund Tayao.

Tayao told CNN Philippines' Balitaan anchor Pinky Webb on Monday that former Interior and Local Government Sec. Manuel "Mar" Roxas II, Sen. Grace Poe, and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte won the debate for three different reasons.

He said Roxas, in his opinion, won when it came to answering the issues asked by the debate moderators and his fellow candidates. He added Poe gave the best parting statement, while Duterte won for his engagement with the crowd.

"Sa pagsagot sa tanong, nakita natin na ibang-iba 'yung nakita nating Sec. Mar. Parting statement, pinaka maganda kay Sen. Grace Poe. 'Yung mas nagcoconnect sa masa, syempre vintage Mayor Duterte," Tayao said.

[Translation: When it came to answering question, we saw a different Sec. Mar. Grace Poe's parting statement was the best. The candidate who connected with the public was, of course, vintage Mayor Duterte.]


Despite his choices, Tayao said he was still unimpressed with the presidential candidates' long-term solutions and plans.

"Pero sa long-term solution, para sa akin napakatabang. Walang attempt sa kahit sinong kandidato na magsabi na ito dapat yung reporma na gagawin, ito dapat ang strategy, ito 'yung approach natin. Masyadong naging tutok sa sa pag akit ng individual voters."

[Translation: When it came to long-term solutions, they all gave bland answers. There was no attempt from the candidates to state their reforms, strategies, approach. They were too focused on wooing voters.]

Did it help the 'undecided' decide?

Following his sentiment that the candidates in last presidential debate focused too much on wooing voters, Tayao said it still wasn't useful enough in helping the undecided voters to pick a presidential candidate.

He added that what's happening with the voters right now is, instead of choosing the best bet among the roster, the voters are resorting to the process of elimination, saying the people are picking the candidate with less negative traits.

"Namimili sino ang least na may mapupuna ka... Naging multiple choice... Parang process of elimination."

He shared he still hasn't picked his presidential bet yet, but said he'd rather pick a vice president who could perform best for the country, as the vice presidential race is a more interesting and diverse one.

"Siguro pipiliin ko na lang yung presidente na di makakatapos ng anim na taon at pipili na lang ako ng pinaka magaling na vice president. Sa VP race, sa akin, mas may mapipili ka talaga eh."

[Translation: I'd rather choose the president who could not finish the six-year term. I'd rather pick the best vice president. For me, the VP race is a more exciting one with better choices.]

Duterte's appeal

Webb and Tayao also discussed Duterte's lead in the Social Weather Survey (SWS) released on Monday. He maintained his sole lead over other presidential candidates in the survey conducted from April 18 to 20.

Related: Duterte remains presidential frontrunner – SWS survey

To add context, Webb stated that the survey period was right after the mayor's remark on rape victim Australian missionary Jacqueline Hamill circulated in the media, but in spite of this, he still maintained a nine-percent lead from Poe.

Webb mentioned Duterte's answer, "You are you, I am I" to Poe's question for him during the debate on his controversial statements and acts against women.


"Do you think ganyan siya kapopular dahil tanggap siya ng tao?" Webb asked.


"Kaya nagreresonate si Mayor Duterte kasi ang tingin ng botante ang binoboto niya hindi si Mayor Duterte, hindi ibang tao, kung hindi ang binoboto niya ay ang sarili niya," Tayao answered, quoting a journalist.

Related: Duterte is most talked-about presidential candidate on Facebook