So convicted-mutineer-turned-Philippine-‘senator’ Antonio Trillanes IV has reportedly accepted a challenge from Vice President Jejomar Binay to a debate. Interesting and exciting times ahead! Trillanes will, of course, presume to grill the VP on the vast properties he allegedly owns. Binay will likely be denying. Hovering on top of all that will be Trillanes’s erstwhile “good” friendship with Tony Tiu now purported to be the “dummy” holder of Binay’s supposedly ill-gotten assets.
Note that Get Real Post author Ilda fielded the Solomonesque solution to the Binay-Trillanes circus in her previous article, Why Filipino voters will still choose Jejomar Binay to be the next President of the Philippines…
The more intelligent way to try and defeat Binay would be to engage him in a debate on how he intends to solve the most pressing problems facing the nation today.
But then and but of course…
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In a funny twist on the plot, it was actually Binay who challenged ‘senator’ Trillanes to this debate so to be fair to the Vice President, he now actually comes across as one who is pretty self-assured of his competence.
Unfortunately, Binay and his political rivals are probably avoiding a public debate because it could expose their incompetence to the voters.
I’m not quite sure what Binay’s strategy will be in this face-off with Trillanes, but one thing I’d be curious to know is what Trillanes envisions to be the outcome of this Senate “probe”. After all, Senate probes, we are told, are always conducted in the aid of legislation. So perhaps one of Binay’s first questions to the ‘senator’ could be around what exactly his legislative agenda is that is relevant to this ‘probe’.
On Trillanes’s part, he will probably have to open with a salvo around why he did not do his homework before going on record about his “good friendship” with alleged Binay “dummy” Tony Tiu. Indeed, he supposedly had explained this noteworthy aspect of the circus many times before. Still, that video of him singing praises to the wealthy taipan has pretty much implanted itself into the psyches of many Filipinos — a kind of political Inception consistent with the premise of that 2010 Leonardo di Caprio movie. Once doubt creeps in, it is difficult to remove.
Another thing to consider is that Binay stands “accused” of mere corruption. Corruption is such a banal offense that routinely goes unpunished in Philippine society. Indeed, so pervasive is corruption in Philippine society, that its practice transcends social class and practically all demographic verticals in the Philippines. The fact that Philippine Congress is now widely regarded as the country’s biggest criminal syndicate thanks to the institutionalised pork barrel thievery Filipino voters routinely tolerate is a testament to the wholesale disensitisation to corruption that characterises Philippine society as a whole. In that respect, Binay holds the advantage. His alleged crime is less-grave in the eyes of the average Filipino voter.
Trillanes, on the other hand, is a convicted mutineer. In the various armed rebellion excursions he’s led and participated in over the first decade of the 21st Century, Trillanes had deliberately put thousands of Filipino civilians’ lives at risk. That he was given a presidential pardon on the basis of the hollow rationale of Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III makes his motives in this circus rather suspect. Trillanes obviously owes certain people big time. And he has been pretty consistent with the zeal he applies to paying up.
The more important question to ask, nonetheless, remains quite simple. What exactly will be achieved?. Other than offer a good show, debate will not actually resolve anything other than subject both bozos to public scrutiny and the judgement of public opinion. Other than that, neither will likely be held to account for their respective transgressions against the Filipino people. Hopefully, at the very least, the better statesman will emerge from this little stunt.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.