The verdict on last Sunday’s Presidential candidates’ debate has trickled in rather dividedly, initially. After a lapse of a few days, judgment has settled down with still unclear results. There seems to be no losers. Each debater/presidential wannabe has been declared a winner! But that of course depends on whose side you are on, on your point of view along with your irreducible and staunchly held biases and who is declaring.
Of course, there were a couple of seriously empanelled assessments of candidate oratorical performance, which assessments were themselves easily naysaid by crotchety partisans. Pretty tame and full of motherhood gas, that first debate has apparently not caused a change in wind direction.
Because the reality remains unshifting for now, the presidential election is still anybody’s ball game. It remains for any which one to win, for any which one to lose.
No discernable irreversible trends in the near horizon. With mainstream media reacting to social media and cyberspace trolls working overtime heatedly earning its fees, social media preempting the mainstream, the two playing political ping-pong, the current political commotion is still in confusion!
Nonetheless, it is not destined to remain for long. A calm before the proverbial storm, so it may seem. Do we then anticipate fastening our seat belts soon? It is going to be a fun ride. Let us enjoy.
LAUGHTER THE BEST MEDICINE
Let sobriety reign.
Two things to keep in mind. One. Laughter is the best medicine. The national ritual of presidential elections is a political zarzuela. It can be stranger than fiction, but do not get hurtfully serious. Remember, that loss can always be laughed off. Because, two, it is never the end of our world.
The Philippine archipelago (recently discovering 500 new islets, now counting 7500.) is beyond sinking! Indestructible! The dominance of populist sentiment will still carry the day and democracy will survive even strengthening the dynasts and the oligarchs. Why not? They are the funders, enablers and spoilers of the undiscerning masses.
Of course, electing the most damnably despicable character as President (take your pick) has inconvenient consequences. Back to purgatory and we become the world’s cellar-keeping laughing stock.
In which case, why not just laugh with the world. It is not the first time that we’ve shot ourselves in the foot. We have managed to always survive, albeit with object lessons unlearned. In that instance, again, we shall have come face to face with the enemy. OMG…. It is still us, stupid! Until the next zarzuela in 2022.
The Supreme Court can shake D-Day in May.
There are ten more weeks and a few days before D-Day. There is still relative quiet in all whereabouts. It may seem to be the proverbial calm but might a storm be brewing?
The Supreme Court decision on Grace Poe’s case could be the earth-shaker, whichever way. But depending on which way, that would be when shit hits the fan!
By the looks of it, for now at least, surveys and debate assessments notwithstanding, what could carry the day for the winner is the precinct-to-precinct ground game. Ground Game. The pros call it retail campaigning. That means grassroots machinery. Machinery and the moneybags that propel the flywheels.
NOTES ON THE FIRST DEBATE
More “politinotes” to share, honestly displaying my biases.
I found the debate with an overdose of rhetorical soundbites and motherhood punchlines. Overall, the joust was pretty tame. There was really nothing new to show. Maybe the next two bouts would cast more thunder and brimstone.
Miriam Defensor Santiago intoning that “illness is not a set back for running for presidency” and even invoking that the constitution does not mention it, hits me as a subliminal message that she is really sick. In fact, that remark confirms that she is still ailing and unwell. So why in heaven’s name is she a candidate? Oh, let us not forget. She also reminded the electorate of her academic credentials and preparation. For a general vote-attracting gambit, Miriam did not deliver.
Grace appeared sophomoric. An obvious newbie, working off an inadequately rehearsed ghost-written script. I am unable to divorce my lowered esteem given that what inspires to pursue the Presidency is opportunistic ambition. Or is it ambitious opportunism? I am afraid I sense an inseparable tinge of insincerity.
Jojo Binay is the veteran “pro” in the hustings. He showed as the most wizened politico on that stage. Unfortunately, he will be chased to eternity by charges of monumental graft. (A long stretch behind bars is indeed most imminent.) Binay suffers from bad telegenics. He is short, squat and in obvious denial. The living graphics of ugly poverty in an otherwise tony Makati belie “na-i-angat namin ang buhay ng bawat taga-Makati!” (We have lifted the lives of every Makati resident.) Hallucinatory, I say.
Mar Roxas appeared to have already discarded his normally effete gentlemanly mien. He seems to have taken off his gloves, gearing for a dirtying down rigorous, vigorous counterpunching after having been so lame with very critical instantaneous response. I hope it is not too late. Will a fighter be coming out soon? Mar appeared sober and prepared.
Having participated in electoral campaigns in the past, I imagine I would have shuddered at the consequences had my candidate fumbled and muttered something really disastrously stupid. In this regard, I take special note of Duterte. He is a campaign manager’s nightmare. Not content with his initial salvo cursing Pope Francis (who can ever forget “putang ina KA….umuwi KA na!---You S.O.B. You go home!). Now he declares the disgraced dictator Marcos as his hero and that he will accord Marcos a burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (the national cemetery for military heroes. And on the 30th Anniversary of the People’s Revolution, too!) And in between, there are those surviving photos of Duterte’s salivating mouth smooching with women in his campaign coterie. He relishes mistaking his libido for what he frames as ‘biology!’ Pope Francis reiterated few days ago “Thou Shalt Not Kill” in a plea for the world to abandon the death penalty. Duterte promises to kill striking labor unionists and drug addicts.
CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE MAY 9 POLLS
Is the Catholic Church inutile?
It has often been said and accepted as a truism in Philippine politics that quite unlike the Iglesia ni Cristo, (or for that matter, unlike the fabled ‘Solid North’ or the “the Sugar Bloc" of yore) there is no such thing as a Catholic vote in the Philippines.
Therefore, should either Binay or Duterte prevail come May and elected the next President of the Philippines, it will confirm that the Philippine Catholic Church is not only unable to vote into office its chosen or favored candidate(s), whether overt or covert, the Church is likewise incapable of preventing malevolence from descending and reigning upon its flock.
Will the Catholic Church then allow and tolerate morality to take an undeserved sabbatical?
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