Most probably he will dodge the presidential debates. His performance in the Veep debates in 2016 was disastrous. Alan Cayetano went to town where BBeM was blown to smithereens. BBeM’s handlers failed to prep him up beforehand. His tacticians in his presidential quest will probably advise him to skip the debates in favor of sorties say in Isla Puting Bato or equivalent blighted parts.
FPJ ignored the debates. This gambit by his campaign jockeys was exploited by GMA by placing on stand by ‘intelligent’ voters in Pangasinan, Cebu and Maguindanao. These 1M padded votes were the alleged disappointed fans who expected their hero to slug it out with Gloria in the podiums of ABS-CBN and GMA7. The hosts of the debates made snide remarks that gave Garcillano the inertia to operate in Mindanao. Remember that the surveys in the GMA-FPJ slugfest were a hairline difference.
On the other hand, BBeM can afford to miss the war of words. While BBeM has some gift of gab as allowed by Rody in describing his daughter’s running mate as a “weak leader”, FPJ minions thought that their bet’s reticent reputation would get them through. They were right but FPJ’s absence was used as ammo for cheating. While still DSWD chief, the late Jinky Soliman quipped, “to cheat is patriotic.”
BBeM right now rides on the crest of 50%+ in his surveys. There is no hairline difference that can flip the results. BBeM can contemptuously ignore the invitations. His handlers will attack the neutrality of the debate hosts. GMA7 is the most suspect of fielding incriminating questions. Why? Because the Gozons and the Duavits are deathly afraid of the BIG COME BACK. The Gozons (or the late Enrique Belo) are just FM’s lawyers who drafted Trust Agreements in favor of the ex-dictator and his heirs. These lawyers, getting wind that their client was transported to Hawaii, rejoiced and trashed the trust (no pun meant).
Rolando Gapud testified against Lucio Tan that the Marcoses have majority shares in Tan’s holding company. This was corroborated by BBeM no less. Unfortunately Tan’s lawyer, Titong Mendoza, prevailed upon the Sandiganbayan and ignored the testimonies of Gapud and BBeM. Right now the trustees of FM are shaking in their boots [https://lawphil.net/judjuris/juri1996/sep1996/gr_105938_1996.html].
Think about PLDT, SMC, Philip-Fortune, PNB, CIIF, Meralco, GMA7, among other companies grabbed by the conjugal dictatorship in their rampage in their mining industry, i.e., “this is mine; that is mine”.
Ahead of the articulated 25% from VP Leni, BBeM handlers are confident to lose 10-15 points and yet emerge plurally victorious. “Boss, ‘wag na tayo makipaglokohan sa mga tanung ni Mike Enriquez at Jessica Sojo, may instructions yan kay Gozon na dikdikin tayo. ‘Pag nasa Malaca?ang na tayo, lintik lang ang walang ganti!”