Vice President Jejomar Binay appears to be the biggest loser in the second round of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) debate, analysts claim Monday.

This, after Binay, who had been misinformed by sponsor network TV 5 about being allowed to bring notes to the debate, caused a one-hour delay in the televised program.

Julio Teehankee of De La Salle University College of Liberal Arts (DLSU CLA) said Binay emerged as this round's major loser after the delay controversy “shattered his narrative that he is the most experienced among all of them.”

Teehankee, who likened the exchange to a “political reality TV" said the debate also “shattered [Binay's] narrative that he is the most experienced among all of them.”

READ: Fireworks in 2nd presidential debate

During the debate proper, Binay failed to deflect accusations thrown at him by rivals, said Edna Co of the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP NCPAG).

Co observed that Binay once again argued on the legality of these allegations, banking on the fact that no material cases have been filed against him.

“In the end, by people’s perception, the way that he defended himself, or not quite effectively defended himself, is that people still hang on to the idea that there is a reason for suspicion,” she said, adding that the whole spirit of debate is handling the issues and rising above it—hence the losing mark.

Both analysts agree that this will adversely affect Binay's survey ratings.


Teehankee noted that among the four candidates, Poe was the only one who was an actual debater. Although she lost her cool when she was hit with the issue of citizenship, Teehankee urged people to “cut her some slack” as she had been enduring this allegation for quite some time now.

Co meanwhile described Poe as a “modern Filipino Gabriela,” both with her decorum and debate performance.

“She showed how vigorously she was arguing, she’s showing the character of a strong, modern Filipina, putting up the issues, and confronting three male competitors,” she said on Mornings @ ANC.

Her inexperience, Teenhangkee and Co said, could well be interpreted as a weakness and strength. On one hand, she is a candidate, who like Duterte, is an outsider—not from the administration, not from the opposition—and she has been doing well in the surveys because of this. On the other hand, her answer to Duterte’s question on the coast guards also reflected her lack of political understanding and bureaucracy.

“That reveals a weakness on her part in terms of her broad policy understanding, especially foreign policy and national security. My first response would have been I will convene, I will call for the National Security Council and ask for an immediate briefing on the matter. And then the second would be to contact our key allies, and third would even be to invoke the mutual defense treaty,” Teehankee said.

READ: Binay, Poe trade barbs over corruption, citizenship issues

For Co, meanwhile, Roxas was the sole the winner this round, considering the degree of allegations thrown at him and the defense was able to carry. She noted that he was not only defending his credentials but also the shortcomings of the current administration.

“In last night’s debate, Secretary Mar succeeded in putting the blocks together—which means he was able to see and make the public understand there were failures of the administration but there are successes; there are criticisms against the administration, but he also tried to be the good knight, the good person of the administration by being an insider so he was able to [cite] figures and the facts. And I think he sounded very convincing,” she said.

Teehankee noted that Roxas' usual weakness was his failure to connect emotionally. He however lauded Roxas' ability to “concretize his vision of decency, rule of law, a rule-based society, a society where there’s equality in terms of government, of government service.”


Duterte’s significant improvement in this debate, according to the professors, was his effort to soften his image.

Teehankee likened him to a choir boy who was both well-behaved and naughty, and was “pilyo” and “alaskador.” He fired many controversial issues to the other candidates, but his efforts to be charming were more evident in the outtakes where he was seen mixing well with the other candidates, but Teehankee pointed out that his mention of violence could always turn off the independent voters he’s been trying to lure.

“Because his core supporters are essentially attracted to him because of this tough guy, anti-crime macho image, but is not getting any traction beyond Mindanao, beyond his core demographics, he need to attract the independent voter, those who are not convinced that he will be a good president. But I don’t think, despite the fact that he was behaved last night, the very fact that he mentioned killing again—‘you cannot be president unless you are willing to die or to kill’—again brings out the red flags in the mind of the independent voters," Teehankee said.