MANILA (UPDATE) - At least two vice presidential candidates said Sunday that no additional powers should be given to the country's second highest leader to disprove claims of being a "spare tire."
Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan said it was up to the winning candidate how to use their position to help the public.
Pangilinan cited as an example his running mate Vice President Leni Robredo who launched several COVID-19 response programs.
"Ako po ay naniniwala na sapat na ang Saligang Batas. Nasa Vice President na yun kung sinuman siya kung paano niya gagamitin ang position. Nakita natin yan sa kilos at sa trabaho ng ating VP Leni lalo na sa COVID response," he said during the Commission on Elections' main debate.
(I believe that the Constitution is enough. It's up to the Vice President., whoever they are, how they would use the position. We saw that in VP Leni's work, especially on COVID response.)
"Unang opisina na nakapagbigay ng PPEs (personal protective equipment). Samu't sari ang naging intervention ni VP Leni para tumulong at hanapan ng solusyon ang problema sa COVID: support sa frontliners, nand'yan 'yung shuttle service, e-konsulta at marami pang iba."
(Hers was the first office to provide PPEs. She had various interventions to solve COVID problems such as support for frontliners, shuttle service, e-konsulta and many others.)
Sotto cited his tenure as Quezon City vice mayor during which he pushed for his colleagues to head municipal councils.
"Nilakad ko sa Kongreso, sa Local Government Code na gawing presiding officer lahat ng vice mayor upang di maging spare tire... Look at the municipal councils now they're being run by vice mayors," he said.
(I pushed for it in Congress, for vice mayors to be made presiding officers so they can't just be spare tires.)
Rizalito David, meantime, pushed for a shift to parliamentary government.
"Kung gagalawin lang din naman ang Constitution, babaguhin...pumunta tayo sa mas sensitive na pamamaraan ng pamamahala sa lipunan," he said.
"Alisin natin ang presidential lumipat tayo sa parliamentary para ang eleksyon mas mura. hindi mananalo basta-bast aang mga artista at mga popular na tao."
Manny Lopez, meantime, said the Vice President should be given the power to "determine the validity of the assumption of the top position" or the presidency.
Dr. Willie Ong said he believes he could help his running mate Manila Mayor Isko Moreno should they win by taking the helm of the health department and the country's pandemic response.
"Mas maganda siguro kung mayroon siyang position para mas malaki ang naitutulong niya sa gobyerno," he said.
(It's better if he has a position because he can be of greater help to government.)
He also said he wants to focus on food security and food safety aside from the Department of Health.
""Mababa life expectancy sa Pilipinas, 70 years old lang. Sa ibang bansa, 89 years old. Ang dami nating sakit dito. Tingin ko hindi ligtas ang pagkain natin kasi developing country tayo," he said.
Labor leader Walden Bello, running mate of Ka Leody de Guzman, said he would like to head the Department of Finance.
"Hinihingi ko ho yung Department of Finance kasi alam natin na the Secretary of Finance yun ang pinakamakapangyarihan sa gabinete kasi lahat ng economic policies dumadaan sa kanya, kaugnay sa foreign creditors, foreign areas," he said.
(I would like to as for the Department of Finance because we all know the Secretary of Finance is the most powerful in the Cabinet because all economic policies pertaining to foreign creditors, foreign areas go through him.)
"(Finance Secretary) Carlos Dominguez has been the most powerful in the Cabinet and I think he has misused this power by giving so many powers on the foreigners against the Filipinos and we want to change that."
Sotto, for his part, said wanted to lead either the Dangerous Drugs Board or the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
To stamp out the illicit drug activity, the government must strengthen the demand reduction strategy, he said.
"'Hindi lang puwede yung supply reduction strategy na ginagawa ng administrasyon. Kailangan palakasin mo 'yung prevention and rehabilitation, which is part of the demand reduction strategy," he said during the Commission on Elections' PiliPinas Debates 2022.
For Rizalito David of the Democratic Party of the Philippines, he will push for the establishment of the commission for "moral renewal and cultural restoration".
"Napakarami nating suliranin. Saan nagmumula 'yan? Nagkukulang tayo sa pagmamahal sa ating kapuwa. 'Yun ang reason kung bakit tayo nagkakaproblema ng karami-rami," he said.
For the country to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, economist Manny Lopez bares a "solid, 3-pronged comprehensive economic recovery program."
He said this would include a new Omnibus Investment Code "to improve the way we do business." Also part of the program are simplified bankruptcy law and a provision for low interest loans for struggling micro, small and medium enterprises.
Pangilinan said he wanted to concentrate on helping the country's agricultural sector.
If the government will help farmers and fishermen, their produce will increase and prices will go down, he said.
Pangilinan lamented that most farmers remain poor and in debt despite working for many decades.
"Hindi ito makaturangan. Anong klaseng lipunan ang papayag na hayaan na lang na 'yung mga nagpapakain sa atin dapat retired na pero nagsasaka pa rin?" he said.
To be the country's foreign affairs secretary is Katipunan Party vice presidential candidate Carlos Serapio's pick.
Pangilinan, Ong and Carlos Serapio also said they support tandem voting while Bello and Sotto said a "check and balance" would be welcome in the executive department and David reiterated his call for a parliamentary government.
"I think that it is good to have 2 candidates maybe from opposition parties. I think it can create some sort of good dynamics in terms of the executive," Bello said.
"Di ako sang-ayon practically because check and balance. Mas maganda nga yung may check and balance," Sotto said.
Bello, meantime, took a swipe anew against Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who was absent from the debate.
"I really would like to hear from Sara Dutetre. I don't why she doesn’t appear in this debate to appear in front of the people," he said.