Watching the “presidential forum” organised by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipias (KBP) this morning makes one really understand why hooking administration presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos into this and other media circuses is such a big deal for their organisers and Opposition “thought leaders”. Left to grandstand among themselves and compete for Second Place in this year’s elections, the Opposition nuisance candidates only make it more evident to all why none of them should be president.
After just two such shows skipped by Marcos, a pattern is already emerging. Much of the time of these shows is spent on non-debatable no-brainer “issues” — stuff that any politician will likely not differ in position significantly to the other. These are “issues” like poverty, job creation, and basic services. When you get a whole bunch of undifferentiated bozos in a room pandering to the “plight” of “the poor”, it gets boring really fast. Do Filipinos really want to listen to a bunch of clowns “promising” to put “the poor” first in their list of priorities? Very likely not. This is why shows like Pinoy Big Brother, not charity and public service documentaries, are the big hits on TV.
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More importantly, there are some emerging signs that “helping the poor” no longer works as campaign fodder. Beyond the fact that there are just too many presidential hopefuls promising to “help the poor” if they are elected president, it seems more like the electorate have set their sights on loftier goals like building a better and greater country. The fact that President Rodrigo Duterte’s splurge on infrastructure, the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ on-going buildup of firepower and fighting capability, and a tolerance for casualties in what is looking to be a successful war on drugs and criminality seem to be behind his solid trust and approval ratings indicating that Filipino voters have higher aspirations nowadays.
Simply put, none of these Opposition candidates are exhibiting any semblance of a vision of a Great Philippines in any of their messaging. For these sad Opposition candidates, it’s all about what the Philippines should not be “again”, preventing someone from becoming president, and reminding their constituents of how the old ways are better. Most of them profess to be progressive liberals but are generally imprisoned by their religious fundamentalism. These are not leaders of the Philippines of tomorrow and certainly not the sorts fit to guide their country over the next six years.
Would Marcos’s presence in today’s KBP circus have made it a better show? Definitely. These elections are, after all, a race between Marcos and all the rest. A show featuring only one side of the contest quite simply falls flat. It’s like watching a basketball game where only one team showed up and its team members forced to play against one another just so the show went on.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.