It was supposed to be a "debate". But concepts like town halls are not designed for "debates" but for "discussion of issues". That explains why the presidential candidates last night had the time of their lives trying to explain their "visions" and "platforms" for the country instead of seeing them fighting it out, and dishing out dirt with one another.
I thank ABS-CBN for being true to the concept of town halls. Town halls are a great way for the people to raise issues and bring it to the consciousness of their leaders. This is democracy at work.
Anyway, what came out was expected---two (2) veteran campaigners, namely, Vice president Jejomar Binay and Liberal party presidentiable Mar Roxas came out swinging in the first parts of the "debate". Their styles suit the format of the show. Binay was able to explain his platform very clearly while Mar did his usual spiels, defending the so-called "accomplishments of this administration" and "promising to do more."
Grace Poe appeared to have studied the topics more carefully this time, while her counterpart, Miriam Defensor-Santiago seemed at her feisty best, save for that occasional memory loss. Miriam admitted that she was "on drugs", a miracle pill that is "very expensive" but is designed to fight off cancer cells. Inspite of some bouts of "memory gaps", Miriam's eloquence and her brilliant yet bigoted mind shone thru. I compared her to Senator Jovy Salonga who fought the good fight and continued to be brilliant even at the twilight of his years. She is expected to lose this fight once more, but I think she earned the right to be described as " the lady who nearly became the third lady president"
I also laud Grace Poe for now having not just the knowledge but the wisdom about the state of our people.I I now concede that this was a good opportunity for her, a sort of preparation, for her eventual ascension to the presidency six years from now. The campaign exposed her to the realities on the ground and her answers clearly reflected a deeper appreciation and understanding of Filipino reality. Her comments about the state of government hospitals connected with us, and her genuine concern with the poor was very clear in her answers.
Alas! Though she beams "hope and promise", Poe is clearly not prepared, no, not this time. She needs more time to go to the masses and understand things more on the perspective of the Filipino. I think Grace Poe is ready to become president by 2022, when all these nasty things about our life would have been resolved and by then, we need a new "visionary" to guide our people to greater and higher things.
As things stand, we need someone who has the steely will and the right ideological perspective to lead us in a revolution against the oligarchs who rule this land with impunity.
I had hoped that Duterte is the one. Rody Duterte possesses a great mind and a fuller and deeper understanding of how things are " at grassroots level." The question really is---it is evident that Duterte's appreciation of what is happening at ground level is different from what is actually happening.
For one, he has this bigoted view on the poor. When he cusses in public, Duterte says that's how the poor talk. Really now? I remember when I was poor, I never cuss. The fact is, I refused to cuss because I was raised by my mother's family to be respectful of others. Those who cuss more often, I observed, were those belonging to the middle class, who pepper their sentences with "P...ina" like prefixes and suffixes.
The poor neither are in the business of raping somebody, and lining themselves up for the deed. I remember some filthy rich snobs from Cebu doing exactly that, and of course, those demons whom he killed inside the Davao penal colony.
Yes, when you are poor, you live a very dangerous life, but that does not mean that you have lost all humanity, civility and "urbanidad"? Among my friends, I consider to be dearest to me are those who live in the slums, whose friendships I hold very dear because they are true to their word and would die for you.
Like a necromancer, Duterte invoked the proper mantras and had successfully raised the Spirit that once galvanized the nation in 1986. Whereas the counter-elitist slogan was "peaceful revolt", this time I think, Duterte has raised from the dead, a malingering Spirit, a version of the Inang Bayan, with a scathe at her hand.
The question really is---is Duterte up to the task? Is Duterte leading us to the right direction?
Right now, my answer is NO.
For one thing, a president is only as good as his men, the people behind him. When I researched about him, Duterte has surrounded himself with former Arroyo henchmen, Ramos Boys, former generals with some accused of graft and corruption, and former government officials with various cases of impropriety and corruption.
These men have one thing in common--they want to regain their former statuses to shield them from the people's justice. Just read Rappler and you'll find that most, if not all, members of Duterte's campaign team are Arroyo's men, Ramos' bright boys and several others who want nothing more than get positions of power to perpetuate their own personal interests, not the interests of the masses.
Duterte is also being supported by several businessmen involved in numerous illicit activities. Yes, Duterte will probably annihilate the "vice lords", but I figured, the reason for him doing so is for his own group to dominate the landscape and further syndicalize the already syndicated government bureaucracy.
Duterte has invoked the Spirit of the Philippine Revolution, but in doing so, he is now facing the most lethal societal force ever in our nation's history. The question is---is he up to the job and does he have the right moral values to lead this revolution to its penultimate end--that is the creation of a true and just and humane society in lieu of a slowly rotting superstructure?
Likewise, Duterte has many aspiring Rasputins behind him, all lusting for their share of the power pie and all plotting for the destruction of their enemies, both inside and outside Duterte's circle. If Duterte wins, these guys would turn against each other, and we would have a government that is so fucked up, we would probably curse ourselves why we elected Duterte in the first place.
What am I saying here?
Duterte needs guidance. He must be made to realize that this is not anymore a mayoral fight. He has elected to play the game of the Big Boys, and these Big Boys are not your usual Davao thugs, oh no. These Big Boys are armed. These Big Boys and corrupt Girls have the wherewithal. If Duterte can kill, so are these people. These people cum parasites have played the game for over 30 years and have made it their professions to pull the strings of this syndicate of a government.
Promising to get rid of them within six months? You wish. You can't even rid yourself of men of dubious characters within your own circle and you had the temerity of promising to get the country clean within that period?
Duterte needs to lead a meaningful and substantive revolution. He needs to rally the productive forces as well as the true revolutionary forces and launch a true revolution that would result to a better Philippine society, built under the terms of the People, and absent the oligarchy.
If Duterte is sincere, yes, that six month period is doable provided that he spares no one, not even his closest advisers. If he would just use revolutionary rhetoric just to spare his friends and condemn his enemies, then Duterte serves only his personal interests, not of the country's. He definitely is like the one who endorses him who thinks he is the anointed Son of God.
For this, my judgment about Duterte is still guarded. For the sake of this country, we need a leader who is experienced and capable and independent of oligarchic influence.
Someone who is a humanist, who loves his fellow human being and who knows the law and is prepared not just to follow the Constitution but possesses a strong character to fight off those oligarchs who continue to oppress our people.
Let's look beyond Duterte and see if there is someone like this.
For now, I have one in mind--Leni Robredo, but she is running for the vice presidency. Between a clone and a falsely accused man, I would choose the falsely accused, Binay, to lead us to a revolution.