Bacolod Mayor Evelio “Bing” Leonardia agreed 100 percent to attend the January 15 Debate of Mayoralty Candidates organized by the U.P. Law Alumni Association-Negros Occidental Chapter at the University of St. La Salle, Bacolod City.
But the camp of Leonardia, in a January 10 letter to lawyer Ramon Antonio Pandan, is pushing for a face-to-face or a one-on-one discussion of issues with his rival. Otherwise, the word “debate” organizers are using, becomes a misnomer.
In a verbal notice it sent earlier, however, organizers said they may not be able to grant the request of Leonardia’s camp. They said a Zoom Room will be assigned for the mayoralty candidates. Their so-called debate will be streamed live on FB.
But the camp of Mayor Bing objected to the idea, pointing out the rival might be aided by a teleprompter. He might bring a coach and some documents or employ a team that will prompt him how to give his responses. It defeats the purpose of a debate. If the proceedings are done behind closed doors, it can be a venue for cheating, the camp of Leonardia said.
“We will certainly attend the debate. But we want the rules to be fair and square,” the camp of the incumbent mayor further emphasized.
FAIR PLAY & OBJECTIVITY
We do not question the impartiality in the crafting of debate rules. We also don’t want to pay attention to observations made by some quarters either that there appears to be bias here in favor of the rival.
In earlier event information sent out to the public, Leonardia’s birthplace was listed as “Negros Occidental”. The incumbent mayor, in truth and in fact, is obviously a “tumandok” (native) of Bacolod City. In the same material also published earlier, only “one” advocacy was included for Mayor Bing and six for his rival.
Corrections were immediately effected after the camp of Leonardia and his supporters called their attention to these flaws.
The format of the debate is a Town Hall Meeting. As defined by CNN, citing the Clinton-Trump face-off, the audience is selected by Gallup polling organization. But the moderator/s choose who will ask questions.*