Engaging in debates: the ultimate expression of a candidate's sincerity

Popular presidential candidate Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is a real class act. Through his Media mouthpieces (in whatever official or unofficial way they step up to that role) he is now bieng presented to the public as the one who is now supposedly on top of the Presidential Debate situation. One of them in a recent article takes a two-pronged approach to spinning the “great debate” brouhaha in Noynoy’s favour:

Prong 1: Noynoy is “waiting” for a response to his “challenge”

The Noted One in his usual verbose form in that article I cited above basically highlights two facts on the matter: (1) Aquino issued a challenge for a one-on-one debate to leading rival Manny Villar, and (2) Villar has so far accepted but made no further moves forward. Strip out all the apologies for either side that the Noted One makes and it boils down to just those two. But then he inserts this little interesting sting:

Aquino has expressed exasperation with the foot-dragging of Villar, who, after all, has a marked disinclination to engage in interpolation in the Senate, unlike Aquino’s dogged reputation (dating back to his days in the House) for being the “last man standing.”

Think again, folks. There is one little detail left out in all that, and that is that Noynoy Aquino had earlier made a subsequent pronouncement to that “challenge” to Villar. He had announced that he would no longer be joining presidential debates. This was picked up by Journal Online reporter Joel de la Torre in a 12th March 2010 report. In that report, de la Torre noted that…

Aquino said debates are no longer in the LP’s list of activities. He said aside from being a waste of time, debates do not attract listeners or viewers

In that report, Noynoy was quoted as saying this about debates: “I’ll be very honest with you, sino ba ang nakikinig doon?” (second half in Tagalog translated thus: “who listens to those debates anyway?”).

First of all AntiPinoy.com blogger BongV picked up on this need for Aquino to qualify his statements with a reminder that he is being “very honest” now. Well now you are Mr. Aquino, so you say. But were you so in the past?

Second, I’ll tell you who listens to debates, Noynoy: smart people do. Perhaps that little fact does not matter to you on account of your followers and the sort of people you are able to convert to your camp being anything but. Your sort of crowd follow their gut and your emo politics. Worse, they fight your battles for you following your cowardly tactics.

Indeed, one such cowardly tactic is to continuously downplay aspects of the essence of democracy — the ones that scare Noynoy and his followers the most; the ones that invoke and require our thinking faculties. This brings us to the second of the Noted One’s prongs:

Prong 2: Debates are a waste of time

The Noted One echoes Aquino’s sentiments perfectly, except that he applies the sort of verbose pomposity we have come to expect of Establishment Bloggers to muddle what is essentially the reality of the questionable value of debates to (a) the leading candidate (Aquino) who has everything to lose if he fails to shine, and (b) the closest challenger (Villar) who in recent weeks had successfully narrowed the leader’s lead and therfore sees no further point in engaging.

But see, that’s the mind of a gamer of numbers at work. Politicians are the players in an election and therefore they can be excused for their focus on the numbers. Their objective is to win the game. Thus they are motivated by simple metrics and simple return-on-investment criteria. For Villar and Aquino, their main question when regarding the debates is “What’s in it for my chances of winning this election?” And to that point, The Noted One, lays out the landscape in his usual brilliant form.

I might remind our community of bloggers, though, (at least those of us who see ourselves as guardians of the interests of the people — our readers — who look to us for valuable insight) that we are NOT among the players in these elections. We are the arbiters, commentators, and the informers. We are in a position that affords us the luxury to remain loyal to the whole point of election campaigns. Actually there are two:

(1) Elections are about choosing, our next leader; and,

(2) Campaigns pit the options against one another.

The above two points are from our perspective — the people who will be subject to the ultimate outcome of these elections. And the outcome comprise the person who will be leading us over the next six years (Point 1) and, more importantly, how qualified this leader is and how sound his ideas are (Point 2).

Engaging in debates is the highest expression of a candidate’s sincerity around his goal to reveal The Truth about his ability to lead the Republic of the Philippines as its President.

So here’s the thing, Mr Noted Blogger: to be an apologist for the leading presidentiables’ lack of inclination to participate in debates is the lowest expression of one’s sincerity in upholding one’s role as a thought leader in our society.

nyek nyek


About benign0

benign0 is the Web master of GetRealPhilippines.com
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12 Responses to Engaging in debates: the ultimate expression of a candidate's sincerity

  1. I wonder how the “noted one” is able to say that Aquino has a “dogged reputation (dating back to his days in the House) for being the “last man standing””?

    And by asking “who listen to debates anyway”, isn’t Noynoy really saying that debates are a waste of time as Pinoy voters are stupid anyway?

    I remember in 2004, while FPJ avoids debates at all cost, Arroyo wouldn’t participate unless FPJ is there. I now feel Aquino and Villar are using the same tactics, proving that we would have more of the what we have now when either of them wins the Presidency.

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  3. cliff says:

    Noynoy is a walking contradiction.. sya ang pinakawalang alam sa totoong sitwasyon ng Pilipinas, pareho sila ni Mar Roxas, di daw sila magnanakaw pero. Si Noynoy NINAKAW ANG LEGACY NG PARENTS NYA, si Mar naman NINAKAW ANG CHEAPERS MEDICINE ACT, inangkin nya un at ginamit pa sa mga commercials, un pala sya ang dahilan kung bakit konti lang ang sakopm ng cheaper’s medicine act.. These two are such a waste of time.

  4. FreeSince09 says:



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  6. gritch says:

    Noynoy is hoping to do an Erap, who avoided debates when he ran the first time but won by a landslide anyway. Thing is, he’s supposed to be “better” than Erap.

    But I’m wondering why Noynoy’s refusal to debate hasn’t been widely reported on by mainstream media (at least not to my knowledge)? I mean, Inquirer for instance wrote about the Yellow camp screening reporters’ “sensitive” questions in some sortie (see http://politics.inquirer.net/view.php?article=20100320-259776), pero itong pag-ayaw sa debate, sa Journal Online ko pa lang nakita. Nowhere in print or broadcast (meron ba?). I mean, it’s serious news that deserves more attention! Hindi kaya tsismis lang? I’m hoping it’s not, it’d give me one more reason not to vote for Ignoy. Pero ayoko namang maniwala kung tsismis lang…

  7. UP n grad says:

    This is not rumor. Noynoy says he will disregard the latest Supreme court ruling
    about Constitution allowing GMA to make another supreme court appointment.

    This CJ-nomination/Supreme Court decision is really a stinker, but I’ll go on record to say I am glad
    GMA brought the issue up. The reason I say this is that it caused the revelation that Noynoy will on
    a case-by-case basis disregard the decision of the majority of Pilipinas Supreme Court. Today,
    it is CJ-nomination. Down the road he’ll face VFA legalities; Mindanao issues; land reform issues; highway-contracts or electricity power-grid issues; broadband infrastructure contracts, airport construction contracts. How often and what are the instances when Noynoy will disregard Pilipinas Supreme Court decisions?

    Maybe Pilipinas May2010 voters are thinking about this or maybe they are not. To me, this is serious, to you maybe not. For me, I sincerely believe that the writers of the 1987 Pilipinas Constitution do not want a Malacanang resident to be able to unilaterally decide on the contents and interpretation of Pilipinas Constitution. They would not want it for Marcos, no one would want it for GMA, I do not see why the country would want the next president to be able to unilaterally decide on Constitution interpretation or to disregard recent decisions of Pilipinas Supreme Court.

    That would be a fun campaign slogan — “Noy iNoy. He will disregard decisions of the Supreme court
    on a case-by-case basis!” Maybe if elected president, Noynoy will disregardthe Supreme Court
    temporary restraining order that is holding back the agrarian reform of Hacienda Luisita.

  8. Fauxx says:

    “We shall not hide from debate, suppress the mechanisms for the redress of grievances, or thwart the participation of the public in the formulation of policy.” — NoyNoy-Roxas Credo

    Therefore, you are wrong…

    • ChinoF says:

      Unfortunately, Noynoy-Mar are not living up to this credo. They’re not participating in debates at all. I wonder, is it because they’re afraid Noynoy will lose his cool again (at the moderator, and not at his opponent!) or will Mar use the famous p*****-i** quote? Is it too harsh to call them liars? 😉

      • J.B. says:

        They’re both poor debaters. I presumed that’s one of the biggest reasons why Noynoy went to a convent somewhere not for decision whether to run or not but whether he had the confidence the cruel world of campaign where he lacked brilliance as far as his record shows.

    • benign0 says:

      Noynoy published and went on-record about a lot of “credos” in the last 6-8 months, none of which amount to anything more than a list of platitudes that make us no wiser about how he plans to govern the Philippines.

  9. Rex Ian Sayson says:

    Hi everyone,

    Just wanted to share a reflection I’ve been going through some time now about “wasted votes”. Is there really such a thing?

    Which vote is a wasted vote? The one used to give the best candidate a fighting chance, or the one used to let a supposed front-runner’s backers control the outcome with unscientific surveys? Having generated the largest business portfolio for my previous company using market research, it really bothers me that the methodologies behind the various election surveys seem so loose that the results are practically useless except for whatever agendas those who paid for the surveys may have.

    For example, if Noynoy A is really the front-runner, how come most people I speak with are supporting Gordon?

    Obviously since I’m not a Villar-ionaire I can’t do a proper survey myself at this point, but it’s very worrying – look at the financial crisis caused by believing too much in credit ratings paid for by the companies being rated themselves – how much misery has been caused by this ill-placed compianza? Should we peg our faith in getting the leaders we deserve on unscientific surveys, or should we peg our faith on finding the best fit candidate for our country’s needs?

    What would you like our country to have achieved 6 years from now? How do we measure the achievements we would like our people to have accomplished in 6 years, 12 years, 24 years, and what kind of proven accomplishments let us know which candidates are the best choice?

    I am sure different voters will have different criteria, and different results, but I hope you’d help spread the word to let the best candidate win, and not necessarily the ones pre-selected by paid-for survey companies. Personally, I’m impressed with this platform and the values, qualifications and experience behind it http://bit.ly/cABGn9

    Just to share, where I’m from, I can go jogging at night, there’s a functioning public library, LTO transactions take 15 minutes, public school students have international-standard classrooms, and it doesn’t even need to collect the same taxes as Makati. Do we want to just survive in our country, or really live?

    I believe our people will make the right choice if we just remind ourselves to stay focused on what this election is about – our future, our dreams, and our loved ones.

    May the best candidate win.

    What do you think? Please spread the word to everyone you care about also

    Cheers 🙂

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