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5 candidates gear up for dagupan debate

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DAGUPAN CITY­—There will be no cheering, no jeering and heckling during the final presidential debate Sunday, when warring candidates would be facing-off after weeks of hurling brickbats at one another.

On the eve of the final presidential debate, all candidates took a break from sorties and restrained themselves from further engaging in an intense word war

Not a word of name-calling came from all camps on Saturday as they prepared for the final face-off in the Comelec-sponsored debate here Sunday.

Presidential candidates 2016

All five presidential candidates ­—Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan, Senator Grace Poe of the Partido Galing at Puso, Vice President Jejomar Binay of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance, Manuel Roxas II of the ruling Liberal Party and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago of the People’s Reform Party—confirmed attendance.

Binay was the first to arrive in the province last Friday and did campaign sorties while the advance parties of the other camps started arriving Saturday, rendering most hotels and resorts fully-booked.

Organizers of the PiliPinas Debate 2016 promised no physical harm would befall the candidates and their supporters as marshals would be deployed to prevent such eventuality.

“After weeks of intense name-calling, this is the first time the presidential candidates would be facing one another. I don’t think the final debate will get physical because they are all expected to be civil at one another despite the brickbats,” Senator Nancy Binay said.

She said the organizers assured all camps the debate would center on “platform-based exchange” after the debate was designed after a Townhall format.

Binay spent his day off by visiting the Our Lady of Manaoag and appeared calm and confident after hearing the mass. He also inspected the debate hall at the University of Pangasinan.

Even Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who has been absent from the campaign trail for almost a month due to cancer treatment, said she would be attending the debate.

“I’m perfectly normal,” Santiago said,  she would attend today’s presidential debate in Pangasinan.

“As you can see and hear my voice and from the way I speak that perfectly okay,” she said.

Santiago has earlier said after her speech in a commencement exercise at the Bulacan State University in Malolos, that she would definitely attend the last Comelec debate.

Santiago, who skipped the second presidential debate in Cebu last March, said she would return and plans to raise the debate to a higher level to stop the mudslinging among fellow candidates.

She said she wants the debate to focus on local and foreign issues concerning the nation to determine the competency of the presidential bets.

Santiago was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer in 2014 and claimed she has conquered it when she announced her candidacy last year.

But last month, she announced that she will take a short break from the campaign to undergo a clinical trial for an anticancer treatment.

She also thanked her supporters in the Facebook for their continued prayer for her fast recovery from cancer.

“To all my supporters on Facebook, I thank you as early as now for your concern and sacrifices. I didn’t get the chance to know each of you because we had been busy, but I want you to know and I also want our countrymen to know that my health has returned because I now have medication that doesn’t even have a name yet except for a code, that alters the personality of the cancer patient, bringing it back to the person’s normal personality,” Santiago said.


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