MANILA - After challenging Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and setting a date for the event, Vice President Jejomar Binay now refuses to call the November 27 face-off a debate.
Speaking to reporters at the Philippine International Culture Center, Binay said the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) still needs to thresh out the topics for discussion during the event.
"Kailangan magkasundo kung anong mangyayari doon sa pag-uusap na 'yun...kaya nga tingnan na lang natin kung anong pag-uusapan," he said.
He also refused to call the event a debate.
"Pag-uusapan namin kung ano ba 'yung parameter 'nung pag-uusapan. Ayokong tawaging debate. Parang hindi naman debate 'yun. Pag-uusap, magpapaliwanagan. For example, tama ba 'yung ginagawa ng Senado? Hanggang saan na ba nakapunta 'yung Senado?" he said.
Asked about Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano's call that he sign a waiver to open his bank accounts, he said: "Alam mo 'yung drama 'nun kung saan-saan na napunta...masyadong malayo na 'yun sa issue."
Binay was the first to challenge Trillanes to a debate after the latter accused the vice president of having unexplained wealth, including a sprawling estate in Rosario, Batangas.
According to the KBP, the debate will begin at 10 a.m. on November 27, Thursday.
Both camps have agreed to cover four topics with a seasoned broadcast journalist as moderator.
The KBP-organized debate will be by invitation only with most of the 200 to 300 guests coming from the media.
The debate, with no commercial breaks, will be open to all networks including non-KBP members.
Several allies have opposed Binay's decision to engage Trillanes in a debate including former president Joseph Estrada, United Nationalist Alliance interim president Toby Tiangco and even Binay's daughter, Nancy.
For his part, Trillanes said he is consulting debate experts in preparation for the event.
"Actually favorable ang conditions sa kanya. Siya unang magsasalita, siya rin ang huli," he said.