Not that I think that the Filipino masses really care about a proper debate and would actually make a VERY early decision on who to vote for as President in 2016 based on how such a debate would pan out.
First, I think most Filipinos actually don’t know what a real formal debate is and it didn’t help that for years a popular Philippine “debate” TV show gave people the wrong notion of what a debate really is. And, NOPE, sorry to say this but I doubt you can call flooding and hijacking threads of Facebook posts a debate either. Thing is, what most people would call a debate is really just people arguing and it would be great if they stuck to disciplined reasoning as well as rules of civility, but most people don’t. AND NOOOOO, for crying out loud, a debate isn’t about people taking turns talking fast on television either. Not even the self-proclaimed ‘geniuses’ and ‘soldiers’ who once shouted “Tulta munille!” have been seen to engage in a real and proper debate online.
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Second, I think more Filipinos tend to vote for the candidate that they like and remember, more than anything else. And the reason why they like one candidate or another isn’t based on facts about that person or his/her politics, but more likely a misconception of who that person is and what their politics are. For a bunch of people who blame the President of their country for a whole slew of things, I think they tend to make decisions on who to vote for in the very same way that they decide on which brand of soap to use — they just look at the picture and read the product’s packaging claims.
In my view, the Binay-Trillanes debate is largely misunderstood. It’s not a debate in the formal sense or any sort of contest that will result in someone winning and someone losing. At least to me, what may be closer to the truth is that what we have been seeing over the past few days is actually just the hustle of main players laying down the groundwork for the monumental DEAL MAKING that’ll happen with the coming of the 2016 Presidential Election Piñata.
At this point, I’ll wager that some sort of deal has already been struck and the on going circus at the senate will draw its curtain. I have no idea what the details of that deal is, but it will certainly involve all the players coming away from the whole thing with their fortunes largely intact.
Ever wonder why any of the public contests between politicians never result in any kind of closure? (And while we are at it, let’s also ask, why did Philippine Independence have to be legislated by the US?)
If we looked at the whole thing as a round of deal making, all the corruption allegations hurled against Binay at the senate may just be a round of brinksmanship — this is the practice of pushing dangerous events to the brink of disaster in order to achieve the most advantageous outcome.
The question is, for whose advantage?
In figuring this out, you have to consider King Noynoy Aquino may be open to suit because of the Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP and of course, there’s also Hacienda Luisita to think about. Having what we can merely assume as incipient corruption cases hanging over Binay’s head could be an effective tool to dissuade him from acting in anyway against King Noynoy’s interests.
As for the supposed other contender for President in 2016, Secretary of Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas, the only advantage brinksmanship would hold for him is if things go so bad for Binay that he decides not to run. But as it is, things don’t seem bad enough and conversations with a couple of political players seem to indicate that they’re still supporting Binay — at least for now.
And as for credibility?
There’s a rather apt quotation that bears posting here, and that is… “If you don’t know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which road you take.”
The bulk of Filipino voters can’t see a future beyond their next meal or next pay check (if they’re lucky enough to have a job), how can we expect them to have any idea of what direction the country should take in the next six years?
Binay’s credibility would matter ONLY if the voting population actually had an idea of WHAT DIRECTION the next President should take.