THE 2010 presidential race may finally be shifting to high ground as candidates expound on their platforms instead of throwing mud at each other, Malacañang said Saturday.

Deputy presidential spokesman Ricardo Saludo said the recent forums featuring presidential bets have given the public clearer ideas of each candidate.

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“It appears the public is finally paying attention to platforms and programs of the candidates,” he said on government-run dzRB radio.

In past weeks, the candidates have attended several presidential forums organized by various groups, including one by the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of the Philippines in Makati City.

Media outfits have similarly organized their own forums, giving candidates a chance to air their platforms and stands on issues through television, radio, and cyberspace.

Saludo said it is time that the public pay more attention to these forums so they can gauge the capability of each candidate.

“It is time we get rid of mudslinging and pay more attention to the candidates’ platforms and positions. Those are the best gauges of their capability,” he said.

Saludo also said the Palace is glad that former Defense Secretary and administration standard bearer Gilberto Teodoro Jr. is at least getting high ratings in the surveys.

Even in forums organized by groups critical of Malacañang, he said Teodoro topped the mock elections.

Saludo cited in particular the forums organized by the University of the Philippines and the Makati Business Club – which are critical of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“We need more of these forums to give the public an idea of the programs offered by each candidate,” he added. (JMR/Sunnex)