Regular commentator on AntiPinoy.com and FilipinoVoices.com, Mr Joe America, makes a very astute observation that I am sure echoes the sentiments of many who frown upon the flack being lobbed at the kilig-ng-Starbucks Masa candidate Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III:
I sense some good minds here at AP are doing the old waffle-about soft-shoe, choosing not to choose a preferred candidate. It’s the old “avoid the platform” trick; if you don’t have a platform that provides tangible specifics, no one can attack your positions. If you don’t choose a candidate, you are forever free to take potshots at those who do . . . You can forever lord it over others, with no real risk . . . you can forever tear down without having to expend the energy to build . . .
There is precious little building going on at AP, and one hell of a lot of tearing down . . .
Safe . . . empowered . . .
Rather like Noynoy in some respects . . .
Joe America highlights a point that I assume comes across as quite important to the Starbucks Masa — Which candidate does the “anti-Noynoy” blogger endorse?.
I’ll clear up the above point first so we can move on to more interesting things:
Whoever I, benign0, endorses is none of anyone’s business. I make my critical views on Noynoy public, but what I choose to keep private is my prerogative. Just because a person chooses to slam one candidate does not necessarily oblige that person to reveal his choice publicly. That, I might remind everyone, is why The Ballot is secret. So to debunk your false analogy, Mr America, one cannot compare the obligations of a voter to the obligations of a presidential candidate. A voter’s agenda is, by default, private. A politician’s agenda, on the other hand, is public — or at least it is private initially but is fair target for intelligent enquiry (the kind that is able to tease out substance, or highlight a lack of it). But let’s say, for argument’s sake, that I am to respond to the criticism that I (can’t speak for the rest of AntiPinoy.com) am guilty of “the old ‘avoid the platform’ trick”. I will beg to differ. My (and in most cases our) platform here, in the sense of what we contribute to the National Debate, is to put forth a clearly-articulated set of standards as to what I believe a platform of a quality befitting one who aspires to lead the Filipino people ought to look like. As such you can find our “platform” as far as my (and for the most part our) participation in the national debate during the election mania of these times goes, right here.
For those who are under some kind moronic illusion that Noynoy Aquino already has produced a platform, consider how such a big deal is being made about Noynoy’s speech before the Makati Business Club, et al last Thursday, 21st January 2010. It’s been re-posted, forwarded, and twitted like mad for the last couple of days. Recently it is “the full video” that is now making the rounds.
Filipinos are like a bunch of wretched pigeons flocking around breadcrumbs thrown at them by bemused bums whiling the day away on a park bench. Indeed, any information about what Noynoy is all about (beyond his being a pale shadow of his parents) is so scarce that the esteemed pundits of Pinoy bloggery will latch on to a speech to trumpet the existence of some substance behind the campaign of Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. Some have even called this speech a “platform”!
It is just a speech. Yet it is being bandied around like The Holy Bible or even, que horror!, a campaign platform!
Goes to show that there is still a need for Pinoys to get up to scratch as far as standards are concerned. And as this mania around Noynoy’s “speech” demonstrates, the standards Filipinos apply to evaluating the substance of their presidential candidate remains true to form.
Let us not forget what a real platform looks like. You can find the gold standard of a true platform right here. And as a matter of fact, there aren’t any real ones out there that fit that standard.
A speech, much less, is not a platform.
Anyone who makes you believe it is so simply highlights the truth about why Pinoys deserve their politicians.
* * *
Hopefully I’ve made myself clear on that one yet again. So let’s get on to the more debatable aspect of this article, shall we?
Mr Joe America, Noynoy Aquino stands out as the target of choice because:
(1) He is an easy target.
His style, approach, and demeanour simply screams “sock it to me”. He lacks a platform, is running on the path paved by the pedigree of his folks, and cowers behind his handlers in the face of direct challenges to defend his position (that is, if he has any of consequence) in a public forum consisting possibly of hostile journalists and bloggers.
(2) He is a safe target.
Because he lacks any clear stand on anything and has yet to articulate a strong position on any issue of consequence, You can keep shooting and not expect any kind of return fire — that is, unless you count the laughably vacuous responses from his handlers and fan-bloggers as the kind of return fire that makes those good minds you observe dashing for cover.
(3) He is popular.
Indeed he is. Post anything with the key words “Noynoy”, “Aquino”, “Abnoy”, “Luisita”, or any other term that describes any cultural artefact even remotely associated with this bozo and you will get the hits, you will get the re-posts, you will get the re-tweets, and you will get the applause (at least from those intelligent enough to get the sort of high-brow humour that usually laces these articles). Noynoy Aquino’s popularity attracts fans and groupies. Why should he not attract detractors and critics as well? You can’t take one without the other, much the same way as one cannot run on his illustrious parents’ pedigree without at least addressing the baggage that comes with it (the heritage of feudal atrocity that stains most oligarchic clans’ white linen).
Put all of the above three together, Joe, and you get a good return-on-investment for the trouble it takes to knock out a decent blog post or feature article. By hitting Noynoy Aquino you not only get to slag the Erap Estrada of the 21st Century, you also, with the same stone, get to touch upon everything about Philippine-style democracy that is wrong. And that, sir, is what makes the effort to “tear down” in this instance so worthwhile.
There are other issues that are worthwhile writing about. But how often do we have elections, anyway? And with a few months more to go, well, it’s time to empty the clip.