One thing is for sure… the supposed first Presidential debate that happened on Sunday in Cagayan de Oro turned out to be more of a campaign party rather than an academic challenging of platforms. I was disappointed that only a handful of questions were actually raised to challenge the platforms of their co-Presidentiables. It makes me think that either the Presidentiables were not aware that they had to challenge the platforms or they were too afraid to challenge their co-candidates.
Let me give you my thoughts on how the Presidentiables fared during the debate, (in alphabetical order):
1. Jejomar BInay
Seriously, he was a self-centered a*shole who was trying to use the debate to try to make him look meek and respectable. He even opened his position by saying that the present administration is trying to raise all the corruption issues with him to discredit him. Seriously?!? He should be answering that on the Senate inquiries where he REFUSES to show up. That should help clarify the questions.
I like one question that was raised by Senator Santiago – where did his land all come from? Binay CONFIDENTLY answered that it was a combination of him acquiring it from his parents and that some were bought during the time that he was still in private practice. Now remember that in his political ads, his mother died because they cannot afford the hospital bills. But then again, he blatantly mentioned “namana ko sa mga magulang ko”. So Mr. Vice President… what is YOUR real story?
After that argument, I just completely shut off everytime he spoke. It was not worth it.
2. Miriam Defensor-Santiago
She came in prepared and I think that among the candidates, she was one who tried to question the platform of her co-candidates. She was eloquent and really spoke from the point of view of an experienced politician. You knew that she had a lot to say that at times she was struggling to express what she wanted to say. At one point, I even tweeted that “Nanggigigil si Miriam Santiago”.
I like the way she phrased that a lot of our politician promise everything but the bigger question is where to get the funds for these promises. She did drive that point that we have to understand that to be able to deliver the services, we should have a plan on where to get the funds for it. She spoke on a truth that is based on reality that was derived from her experience.
When asked about her health, she gamely said that her guardian angel did not take her yet and that she wants to serve to improve the country in the coming years. You just know that Miriam is one fighter who has a broad understanding of what needs to be done.
3. Rodrigo Duterte
Candid as he was, he came into the debate as him. He was probably the most confident and the most relaxed among the candidates and spoke his heart out, no matter what the question was thrown at him. Whether the question was about the heart or a national issue, he managed to answer the question the Duterte way. You just know that he is answering the questions on a personal mindset.
I like the fact that he recognizes a great idea and even came to the point of asking Mar Roxas if he could apply the principle that he presented in handling poverty should Duterte become President. With the way Duterte answered the questions, you just know that he was following the same principle that he used in Davao to which we can credit the development of the city to him. What was going for Duterte was simple… he answered the question personally, was honest and truthful in his answers, and he knew what he was talking about.
4. Grace Poe
Grace Poe came in REALLY prepared. She knew what to say and knew how to answer the questions. She was calm and composed. She knew what we wanted to hear.
But the problem was that it was just too perfect.
You just knew that Grace Poe was a neophyte in the game. She was unable to connect the theory to that of reality. I guess that was missing in her answers, the concrete plans on how she was going to go about the grand aspirations for her administration. She lacked the how that other candidates were able to inject in their answers. Her answers were too generic and calculated; apart from the fact that she does not have the in depth understanding of issues in Mindanao.
In her own words, she mentioned that she was a teacher and that we should not take that against her. I am not taking that against her but she needs to understand that she is running for a position of leading a country, not for the role of head teacher. With that, we need someone with a solid experience.
5. Mar Roxas
And then there was Mar who came into the debate, armed with a lot of mud that he was damn ready to sling on his opponents. In fact in his opening address, he started slinging mud on everyone else with his “parinig” when obviously none of his opponents did during their opening address. Come to think of it, he should have had picked that up as he was always the last to speak. But no… he just had to do it!
And still not yet satisfied, or should I say that he has not realized it yet, gave another “parinig” swing towards Binay. Seriously? And you expect us to stop and listen to you? At that point, it just went downhill for him and I just zoned out on him. He could have stated his points without the mud. I just stopped listening to him as I found an idi*t wanting to become President.
Now I do not want my President to be like that as I already had enough of PNoy doing that. It shows lack of accountability.
The first Presidential debate showed the characters of each candidate side by side. The words and the actions gave us our first impressions. It was good that we saw all of them together on one stage. We can already see the candidates with their platforms.
I must say that Duterte and Santiago came out strong on this one. They knew what they wanted and they spoke what they wanted; understanding the weaknesses that go with their platforms. They did not come out trying to sound like they have the answers but rather came out focusing on solving what they deem they need to solve first. They are probably way ahead of everyone else.
Poe, on the other hand, needs to get more traction on the realities of what she thinks she can deliver. If she can focus on the HOW more than the WHAT then that would help her in future debates.
I must say that VP Binay showed grace and platform on this one although he badly needs to work on the consistencies. He has got a lot of issues to work on and his stories need to align altogether.
As for Mar Roxas, he just started out crude with the mudslinging. He probably thought that he was joining an entertainment show kind of debate like the one that they do on the local version of Big Brother; and he realized that it was not, a bit too late. Darn it, whoever is handling your campaign is not doing it well.
And similar with Binay, Mar Roxas was also at the edge of going for the votes by saying “what I can do” more than challenging his opponent’s stand point. It was all about him rather than giving us an in depth understanding of whether he comprehends the national issues being addressed. He was trying to look like Superman who has all the answers to solve the country’s woes and we know that it is not the case.
Unfortunately for Mar Roxas, I have just eliminated you from the race.