The televised debates of political candidates can be entertaining in that we see the personalities of those involved. More importantly, though, it gives viewers an idea of their stand in various issues.
As CNN Philippines anchors and analysts reiterate, the Vice President position is not a "spare tire"; underscoring the importance of the second most powerful position in the land. In the only official Vice Presidential debate, the issue of corruption proved the most interesting topic, one that elicited a nearly heated verbal tussle among a few of those on stage.
Through it all, here is what we picked up from the six participants in the just-concluded vice presidential edition of PiliPinas Debates 2016:
The man was on fire during the debate, which did not escape the public who quickly took to social media to say so. He minced no words and called out not only politicians and businessmen that he felt were responsible for some anomalies, he also openly challenged Sen. Bongbong Marcos on stage.
In his opening statement alone, he said, "Puro na lang Marcos, Cojuangco, at Aquino. Wala na bang iba?"
As he has already exhibited in Senate hearings, he was articulate and straightforward, seemed devoid of fear in naming names. Cayetano ragged on Marcos the most, which visibly riled the latter up. He had opinions on stolen wealth and human rights violations, which we believe echoed most Filipinos' views. In the topic of anti-dynasty law, Marcos could not help but chime in, to which Cayetano quipped, "Can I have my one minute o pati yun nanakawin mo rin?"
Insisting on ridding the country of corruption and promising results within six months in office should he and Duterte win, also saying they would resign if by Dec. 31 this year one cannot walk alone safely in the streets at night, you'd have to wonder what they are prepared to do to live up to such promises.
Mirroring Duterte's image of aggressiveness, Cayetano's stance seems to reflect what many feel about the sorry state of the country. We all want change; Duterte and Cayetano, as the latter insisted, are the ones who would do it. Then again, ask yourself, do the means justify the end?
Honasan almost always evaded answering issues directly. He seemed to give more of an overview or his general opinion on issues, leaving the audience to interpret it themselves. His answers, and his views on how to solve problems, seem idealistic.
While the topics ranged from platforms to answering accusations, Honasan felt the debate was not the proper forum for them to rebut allegations against them, which was why he opted not to engage other candidates. We've read before that Honasan hopes that the debate will not be use as a platform for mudslinging but instead for the candidates to be able to present their various platforms. To his credit, he stuck with that.
Whether or not he was saying something logical, sensible, and important, people seemed to care very little because whenever he opened his mouth to speak, they just want to punch their TV screens or radio. Some actually said so on their social media accounts. Escudero had this manner of speaking that worked to his disadvantage, which, while unfair, is something the VP aspirant should consider. One Facebook post even said Escudero sounded like he was doing a voice over of himself.
His answers seemed safe—basic, even—and he chose not to zero in on the other candidates. He may have stuck to the important issues on hand, but what does it say about him when people could only remember being annoyed when he spoke. And you'd have six years of that should he win.
From the get-go, as he began his opening speech, Marcos was met with jeers from studio audiences. They did so every time he spoke, especially in response to issues like wealth and human rights violation. The thing is, everything he answered seemed to backfire on him, especially the aforementioned topic. Clearly, being the son of former president Ferdinand Marcos is not a walk in the park.
On human rights abuses he said, "I will apologize only for myself, not for anyone else." He insisted he did not commit human rights abuse, which is a bit of a cop out since the question pertained to what his father had supposedly done during his term. As to stolen wealth, he insisted, "I cannot give what I do not have." The host brought up candidate Leni Robredo's opinion that Marcos' lack of remorse seemed troubling.
While it may be true you cannot blame the son for the sins of the father, sometimes the only thing this generation has to be thankful for is they have not gone through hardships under Martial Law. As Cayetano would say, Google history. Maybe you would know better.
Surprisingly, Robredo's steady stance and clear replies made her stand out among the rest when it came to answering the political analysts interviewed by CNN, and even some members of the public. Hardly rocking the boat, Robredo was singled out for giving concise answers, and for bringing up what she has done in the past and how her experience as a lawyer for the poor will be the foundation of her office should she win. One even said she sounded the most sincere.
Robredo maintained her composure all throughout the debate especially when trying to extract explanation from other candidates regarding certain anomalous issues.
What this seems to say is that Robredo is Roxas' asset, and he should maybe consider just letting her be the face of the campaign because, let's face it, at least she does not seem to annoy people as he does.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes
Giving what sounded like textbook answers, the only time he seemed combative was when Cayetano insisted he and Duterte could eliminate crime in six months. "Wag tayong magbolahan dito. Paano mong gagawin yun kung sa sariling niyong lugar sa Davao at sa Taguig ay hindi nalutas ang crime?"
In contrast to the last presidential debate, no one seemed agitated by things discussed and said in the debate. While there did not seem to be anything new to what they said, the question remains: How are these politicians going to solve the problems plaguing the country? It is easy to say anything in a debate, and to promise things during the campaign, but the hard part is making things happen. How they carried themselves in the debate and how sincere they appeared are the factors we would consider in choosing our VP. That said, please choose wisely!