ABS-CBN's ‘Harapan’ online forum draws thousands of chatters

by Ma. Rosanna Mina, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Dec 03 2009 06:14 PM | Updated as of Dec 06 2009 07:56 PM

MANILA – While 7 presidential candidates were engaging in the “Harapan: The ABS-CBN/ANC Presidential Forum” on television Wednesday night, thousands of chatters were debating in a simultaneous live chat on abs-cbnNEWS.com.

The “Harapan” chat drew 7,202 chatters as of 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. There were 1,722 comments, 645 of which were published. A total of 702 Twitter comments and 174 Facebook and Multiply comments were received. (www.abs-cbnnews.com/ancliveevents)

Abs-cbnNEWS.com invited Olongapo City councilor JC delos Reyes, Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, Bro. Eddie Villanueva, Sen. Richard “Dick” Gordon, environmentalist Nicanor Perlas, former President Joseph Estrada, former Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and Sen. Manny Villar to nominate representatives to the live chat.

Aquino was represented by “Team Noynoy,” Villanueva was represented by “GO FOR BRO” and “EXISTED,” Perlas was represented by “Dave” and “Perlas for President,” Estrada was represented by “Lloyd Ian Zaragoza,” and Teodoro was represented by “GREENteamforGIBOTEODORO.”

Villar, who did not show up at the forum due to an “important business meeting,” did not have an online representative like delos Reyes and Gordon.

The chatters were able to engage in dialogues with the presidential bets' online representatives as well as with other chatters. Even the online representatives challenged one another on certain issues.

The live chat also hosted 2 polls. The first asked the chatters, “What qualities do you look for in a leader?”

Having a good track record or credentials mattered the most to the chatters as it got 43% of the votes. Having no vested interests or political baggage earned 28% while the choice “does not compromise principles” got 23%. Being kind, approachable and pro-poor gained 5% while the ability to forge consensus/build coalitions only got 1%.

The 2nd poll, meantime, asked the chatters who they think was the most credible presidential candidate in the forum.

Aquino led the poll results with 357 votes (43%), followed by Teodoro with 315 votes (38%). Gordon (66 votes) and Villanueva (70 votes) both got 8% while Estrada trailed with 19 votes (2%). Perlas (4 votes) and delos Reyes (3 votes), on the other hand, got 0%.

Teodoro inched closer to Aquino, according to the mid-event poll results, as the former defense secretary had 137 votes (37%) while the senator had 141 votes (38%).

Hacienda Luisita, Ninoy

When Aquino gave his opening statement, some chatters were quick to react to the fact that he was reading his speech while the other candidates seemed to have no paper in hand.

RentOtz on Twitter said: “bakit may kodiko si noynoy?? Prepared ba sya?” Estrada’s representative echoed: “bakit parang si noynoy may binabasa?”

Paz Atienza, for her part, commented: “What is the big deal about Noynoy referring to a codigo? Let's look at the issues rather than all these trivialities!”

Meanwhile, Aquino’s representative, Team Noynoy, dodged questions on issues on Hacienda Luisita as well as the unresolved case on the death of the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr.

Kat Kat said: “To Noynoy: Pano mo ipapatupad ang hustisya sa panahon mo? Papaano mo makukumbinsi ang taong bayan e ang Hacienda Luisita Massacre at Mendiola Massacre pa nga lamang ay wala pa ding hustisyang nakamit ang mga biktima. May nagawa ka po ba para magkahustisya iyun?”

Kabataan party-lu added, “So it is just and fair to let the people of hacienda luisita live with 9.50 pesos per week of salary?”

“Hacienda Luisita Inc. has already issued a statement clarifying issues raised in the recent paid advertisement. According to the said statement, the farmer-beneficiary received 9.50 pesos for that particular week AFTER all deductions for his advances for loans,” replied Team Noynoy.

Meanwhile, other chatters touched on the Ninoy issue. “Once elected president, how will you give justice to the victims of heinous crimes when you and your family can't pin down the real master mind behind Ninoy's death,” said andoni valencia.

Villanueva’s representative also asked, “How can u uphold justice if you can't find justice for your own father?”

Team Noynoy answered, “The fact that the death of Sen. Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino has not been given justice will not deter Sen. Noynoy from seeking and fighting for justice for others. Personal considerations should be set aside in making wise decisions for the country.”

‘Sincere son’

Meanwhile, other chatters praised Aquino, who said that he was running for president not because of personal interests.

Twitter user edsregine wrote: “Ang galing ng final words ni Sen. Aquino!! He's sincere enough for the right words to come flowing out of his mouth. Kudos!”

Markitotz on Twitter added: “I think NoyNoy wants to be remembered as the Obama of the Philippines.”

Summit777, however, retaliated. “Noynoy would never be an Obama. Obama is well known for his accomplishments, eh si Noynoy?”

Team Noynoy highlighted Aquino’s recent accomplishments, including the filing of Senate Resolution 1491, which condemned the Maguindanao Massacre and called for a Senate probe into the matter.

Other questions dealt with his running mate, Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, and his being the son of Ninoy and former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino. Both questions were unanswered.

Arrianne Meg asked: “If you are still given a chance to think more than 4 times, will you still give Mar Roxas a chance to become the standard bearer of LP? why and why not? (please let this question be asked to sen noy just for us na mga supporters ng ibang LP candidates.)”

A Guest wrote, “At senator Noynoy, kung sakaling hindi ka naging anak ni Cory at Noynoy, sa tingin mo ba karapat-dapat ka paring maging pangulo ng bansa?”

QuantityAaron, on the other hand, gave Aquino a suggestion: “Team Noynoy Kung mananalo si Noynoy ba't di mo iupo si Perlas bilang DENR Secretary?”

‘Sharpest among all’

Aquino’s cousin, Teodoro, also gained a number of positive comments in the live chat. Teodoro has been lagging in various election surveys.

“I’m becoming more and more of a gibo fan,” tweeted jaimelizada. “Gibo is either a really good trapo or is simply really good. I'm tilting to the latter. We'll see.”

Iluvkrisaquino also tweeted, “Nakaka-impress si Gibo.” Others admired his eloquence, saying he was the “sharpest among all.”

“I don't like Gibo, but his answers is what a student of political science would answer - he has my vote,” Justinaquino said of the bar topnotcher.

Kumikomae agreed with djmotwister on Twitter: “Gibo was sharpest among all.”

Coolket, meantime, was skeptical. “Baka naman hanggang salita lang si Gibo niyan???”

JessaFernandez added: “I think Gibo is really smart. However, what they say will always vary to what they are gonna do and what they have done in the past. This forum is not enough to give a glimpse of the upcoming reality.”

As for Teodoro’s plan for his first 100 days should he be elected as President, emmanueldispo said it was “unrealistic.”

Mayo Tuano remarked, “Si Gibo Teodoro, parang impossible ang kanyang platform, pero pwede ba malaman ang kanyang timetable if when nya magagawa ito? if di nya magawa, pwede ba sya bumaba sa pwesto?”

Gibo’s setback: PGMA

However, many of his believers said there is a drawback to Teodoro’s chances of winning in 2010.

“Since you are under the Lakas Party and with alliance to president Arroyo, do you think being under her party is a hindrance for you to get more votes? Many people believe in your capabilities and qualifications, president arroyo is just your set-back in garnering those votes,” according to a Guest.

Another Guest commented: “Of all the Presidentiables, Gibo is the most qualified and best suited for the job. His only liability, if you can call it as one, is his association with the not so popular GMA. But take this away and consider each candidate base on their qualifications, experiences and integrity, Gibo is the winner.”

Wen even wrote in all caps: “How can he say he is against corruption when he is representing the very embodiment of corruption?”

A comment from C. Preston read: “Despite claims that GMA’s decision to run for congress will not affect your campaign, there must be something at the back of your mind that tells you that it WILL affect you. Has it not crossed your mind to run independent, free from all GMA related-misdoings? How will you deal with her and the thousands of corruption cases if you win?”

The reply of GREENteamforGIBOTEODORO stated: “That is why there is an ELECTORATE to decide if PGMA is still worthy to stay in public office… Now if they see PGMA not fit to be representative of the district in Pampanga, then put the power in the electorate to self-actualize and self-determine. Let us not belittle the power of our electorate and her constituents to decide what is good for their district.”

Teodoro’s representative added: “Let us allow our institutions to work. An executive involved in a judiciary process will send wrong signals to our democracy. We must allow independent bodies like Sandiganbayan to try if cases are filed against GMA. The President to be should not lay a hand in processes out of the executive. What he can do is form up institutions so that social justice will prevail.”

George malapitan, meantime, challenged the Malacañang hopeful. “Knowing now that pgma will run for congress is there really a master plan behind this because you are a strong advocate for charter change and a shift in a parliamentary form or government. how can you ensure that this election will be clean and that the result will be truly accepted by the people and no such garci incident will hound you during your term of office?”

Several chatters, meantime, noticed that Teodoro was "stammering” when he answered a question regarding his loyalty to Arroyo.

“I agree with gibo's spiel re loyalty - reminds me of elbert hubbard's Loyatly Pledge,” said sharkey_pj who said Teodoro as well as Gordon were impressive.

Perlas for President also attacked some members of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD ruling party. “How can systemic change be done if those in your party are violating changes that should be done. Only someone that practices new politics and is not part of the current system can better change it. Madaling sabihin at masarap pakinggan pero kaya ba considering where you stand? Just a thought.”

GREENteamforGIBOTEODORO answered: “I don't think SIR perception should be the lone basis for saying that people are corrupt and are spoilage to the current system. Now, you must understand that by having STRONG INSTITUTIONS and a WORKABLE system, you can influence, motivate and shape the behavior even of those that you say are crooked.”

“You firm this up to allow INSTITUTIONS to punish those who deter change. The outflux of party members only indicate ONE thing... that the NEW LAKAS LEADERSHIP is firm in its stand to CLEAN UP our INSTITUTIONS.”

Defense matters

With regards to the Maguindanao massacre, KatarHol5 wrote: “Anong sinasabi ni Gibo re massacre? Bakit di mo ginawa ang sinsabi mo? He was DND for 2 years, for golly's sake.”

Perlas for Presdent stressed: “Gibo is the DND chief and he by practical means have full knowledge of the existence of private armies in Mindanao lalo na sa mga Ampatuan. It's impossible that the DND chief does not know.”

“Regarding the Mindanao issue, we must employ a hand-in-hand strategy between PEACE AGREEMENTS and DETERRING LAWLESS ELEMENTS. Kailangan ho natin ay maglagay ng sapat na sundalo para mabantayan ang mga lugar na muling nakuha ng ating military,” said GREENteamforGIBOTEODORO.

“We have to ensure that there is enough force structure to deter lawless elements. Peace agreements because nobody wins in war, and we have to ensure local leaders who understand the situation better are seated in the panel for peace talks,” the Teodoro representative added.

He also mentioned what Teodoro did as defense chief: “Despite the waryness of the executive to spend more considering constraints (kakulangan sa budget), naipush nya na bigyan ng mas maayos na buhay ang mga sundalong nagtratrabaho para sa kapayapaan ng bansa. GIBO pushed for this despite the low budget and the priority of the Executive towards other sectors. Hindi nalalaman ito dahil hindi naman MEDIA person si Sec.”

Potential president

Aquino, Teodoro and Gordon are the only legitimate candidates, according to kokskoks.

Diopatra123 stated, “so far gordon leading on my list. aquino have yet to prove himself.”

For emmanueldispo, “dick gordon is a no-d*ckhead! a potential president. sadly, he has no enough machinery to win him the presidency!”

Joy chimed in: “Kung track record din lang ang pag uusapan, taob silang lahat kay Gordon!!” Mel fernando even made known his preference for the Gordon-Bayani Fernando tandem because they are “men in action.”

Diezkaydee, meantime, agreed Gordon’s prioritization of education while gloryann agreed that the Philippines “must be a sincerely-changed country.”

Breyeschow, on the other hand, said: “‘THERE WILL BE PEACE IN MINDANAO!’ just because you say it doesn't mean it's going to happen Gordon.”

Wanderwoman19, for his or her part, reacted to what Gordon said when he was relating what happened when he flunked 2nd year high school. “‘My father said, if you can't be a good scholar, be a good leader’ --- is it me or does that not make any sense??”

‘The only hope’

Eme Dianne Natividad said that Teodoro, Fernando and Villar are “good candidates.. but we need a leader of full-package! And i think he is none other than Bro. Eduardo Villanueva.”

Others cited Villanueva’s sincerity, truthfulness and righteousness. Jojojojo said: “kami para kay bro eddie.. sya ang karatapdapat.. sya lang ang may takot sa dios.. un lahat yan puro trapo.”

We need to bring back morality and righteousness to our beloved nation, specially we need to put back GOD to the center of our government and i believe Bro. Eddie is the only qualified to do this things,” said a Guest.

“Bangon Pilipinas!! I believe that Bro. Eddie is the only Hope. (Kristiyanong Kabataan para sa Bayan),” added KKB Lhex.

“I am for righteousness. I am for Bro. Eddie,” declared Pie Sesante.

Myepinoy, for his or her part, posted the question, “Masasabi mo bang IMMORAL ang gumastos ng bilyones for political ads.”

When asked by lester2k1 about Villanueva’s position on the concept of Separation of Church and State, his representative, EXISTED, replied: “Separation of Church and State in the Constitution means that the State should not establish a state religion (Unlike in Muslim Countries where Islam is the state religion) and that religious freedom should be upheld.”

EXISTED added: “It does not say that Religious Leaders are forbidden to run for public office.”

Meanwhile, the representatives of Villanueva and Perlas talked about the legitimacy of war.

“God is definitely for peace.. But God is not a dictator... That is why we have free will... for stubborn, selfish, whimsical terrorists, we should declare WAR,” EXISTED told Perlas for President.

Perlas’ representative answered: “There is war because there is a problem before going to war the root cause should be resolved and identified. War is not the solution to end a problem.”

Meantime, others believe that Villanueva can help bring about peace in Mindanao.

“Nur Misuari stated that Bro. Eddie is the only credible candidate who can realize their hopes for peace in Mindanao.. sa tingin ko, simula na ito ng bagong pag-asa para sa bagong Pilipinas.. Naniniwala ako kay Bro Eddie! our support is with you,” said Love.

‘Still a charmer’

The runaway charmer in the ABS-CBN/ANC “Harapan” forum was Estrada, who tickled everyone’s funny bone.

“Shags. Naloka ako kay Erap. I think I'm going to have a heart attack. He's so hilarious! (lmao) (rofl),” shared JenShinrai.

Tanjiholick said: It's weird how Erap's using his charm... And it's working.” Mlq3 wrote, “Erap is still a charmer!”

Gloryann added: “There is no answer from Erap in today's forum that didn't made me smile... :-) Oh Erap, Erap... :-)”

Noypi_bai commented: “Si Erap may hangover pa sa comedy film nya. Paki-reboot nga po!"

“OMG to Erap. It's either he doesn't understand the format or he wasn't listening. He's the comic relief that #ancforum needs,” said Bantay2010.

People4life, however, was not amused. “Erap bakit ka ganyan? panu mo masosolve global crisis kung salita mo parang nasa comedy sitcom?”

“Erap is definitely witty and quite entertaining. Erap is fun in politics, but not necessarily as president,” noted jaimelizada.

Xerophytes even asked on Twitter, “Is Erap the new Eddie Gil? lol.”

Estrada’s representative, Lloyd Ian Zaragoza, replied: “Excuse me lang ha....mukhang si Dick Gordon ang bagong Eddie Gil!”

To run or not to run

Kidding aside, other chatters were concerned about the legitimacy of his candidacy.

“Si Erap talaga, Comedy pa rin :) I respect his intention but i think he should rather support noynoy's candidacy and people will respect him more,” wrote KiMisty.

ConcernedStudent1996 noted, “When imprisoned you said that you wouldn't run for president? After being pardoned, you suddenly changed your mind and now want to run. Does that mean that your views on jueteng and illegal gambling would also change?”

BUgS=) commented, “Pres. Erap before u were released from jail, i remembered you signed a contract with Pres. GMA that along with the presidential pardon given to you, you shall not run for any position in any government office especially [the] presidency since you are pushing that you were not impeached rather you resigned... so how do you explain your actions now?”

KKB babydiannelovesyou remarked, “Erap is convicted with Plunder right? What's the sense on what his saying?”

Paz atienza lamented, “For Erap- Respect for one's family is important. If a presidentiable has too many wives that he needs to support, how can we trust him? If he cannot be loyal to his legal wife, how can he be loyal to the Filipino people?”

“ERAP is still the most qualified and experienced candidate with over 30 years in public service,” declared Lloyd Ian Zaragoza, adding that Estrada has political will.

As for the issue of Arroyo running for congresswomen in 2010, sharkey_pj said: “Erap has a valid point , regardless - GMA running for congress (downgrade) is an insult to the presidency.”

Gretzrulz added: “go erap. galing mo tlaga,galing sa puso mo ang lahat ng sinasabi mo..nanalo ka dati ng wlang daya.ngayon mananalo ka uli.”

Meanwhile, Lloyd Ian Zaragoza said that Estrada has a clear grasp of the country’s problems. “The problems we are facing now are the same problems we faced one decade ago. Wala naman masyado bago. Under Erap the Philippines was the first country to get out of the Asian Financial Crisis. Farm Output was at its highest.”

Estrada’s representative also mentioned that the former president approved the Clean Air Act.

“It was under the Erap Administration that PEACE was achieved in Mindanao. Had his term not been cut short, Mindanao would now be the food basket of the Philippines,” he added.

Adorapaula praised Estrada: “At least si Erap marunong sumagot sa tanong. May maganda at maliwanag na plataporma. Di pasikot-sikot ang sagot.”

‘Misfits in 2010’

“Sorry to say, but Nicanor Perlas and JC delos Reyes are misfits in the 2010 Presidential race,” commented Bantay2010.

Sinisterspark added, “Give it up na, Perlas and JC. You're not convincing anyone.”

Perlas for President responded: Nakakalungkot naman na tawagin silang misfits considering that they offer a new view of how our problems will be solved.”

He also replied to a comment by a user who could not understand what Perlas was saying in the forum. “Sayang at nalalabuan ka sa mga sinasabi ni Nick Perlas but it may be malabo sapagkat bago ang mga ito sa ating pandinig. malalim ang pananaw at prinsipyo ni Perlas.”

He then highlighted Perlas’ experience in agriculture, governance (that is why he is awarded the Manuel L. Quezon Award for governance) and microfinance, among others. His greatest achievement is the Philippine Agenda 21 which is the blueprint for a sustainable Philippines, added Perlas for President.

Bantay2010, who earlier called Perlas a misfit, commended the environmentalist. “Finally, Nic Perlas made some sense in his immediate, long-term and structural responses to Maguindanao massacre.”

Myepinoy had the same reaction. “Kudos to Nicky Perlas. He is the only presidentiable with a clear grasp of Mindanao problem. His solution is the most practical.”

Delos Reyes, meantime, was praised by plsburydoughboy as he “just went above and beyond what was expected in debate.”

However, delos Reyes was slammed for what he plans to do during his first 100 days if elected as President.

“Ok retreat, JC? Totally scrapping you off now,” said bigenya.

Coolket added: “Ano ba yan JC? ibig sabihin wala ka pang sapat na kakayahan upang maamuno. Hindi naman masamang magdasal, pero sa 100 days??!!”

Delos Reyes, meantime, surprised some chatters when he revealed that he is related to Gordon.

“I'm mildly shocked by JC's admission he's Gordon's nephew,” plsburydoughboy reacted.

Jefftagle wrote, “JC basically promoted his uncle.”

More to come

“Abs-cbnNEWS.com promises to continue to explore more ways to engage its online and mobile audiences in lively dialogues on issues, events and personalities that matter to them,” said Gemma Bagayaua-Mendoza, Deputy Editor for Research & Systems for abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak.

Abs-cbnNEWS.com is set to stage its first web exclusive issues forum, with the first topic on how 2010 candidates can improve the energy sector. Other election-related forums are in the works.

Some chatters even requested for more televised discussions of 2010 candidates. Summit777 wrote: “More harapan forums please. T'was enjoyable :) Please include Villar next time!”

Some of the questions for Villar include “Para kay Senator Manny Villar, ma-aasure mo ba kami, na hindi mo babawiin sa kaban ng bayan ang milyun-milyong pondong ginamit mo para sa campaign election?”

Pinay posted a question for Villar: “Minsan pong sinsabi nyo na kung wala lang ding (1 bilyon) pera eh wag na pangaraping tumakbo, ibig sabihin po ba nito pera lang ang sukatan para maging karapatdapat na pangulo? paki-explain naman po ano po talaga ibig niyong sabihin sa statement nyong iyon?”

“No straight answers from the candidates on many issues. Most of the time they're on the safe side just not to compromise votes,” stated donhustinodonhustino.

Angel also had a special request: “a vice presidential forum next time please =)”

The “Harapan” forum, hosted by anchor Ted Failon, was shown live on ANC and via livestream on abs-cbnNEWS.com Wednesday evening. The forum’s replay will be aired on ABS-CBN’s Sunday's Best, December 6, at 10:45 p.m.

The forum, which was held at the University of Santo Tomas (UST), was co-sponsored by the Commission on Elections and Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).

Prior to the “Harapan” forum, the “ABS-CBN/ANC Manila Forum with Hillary Clinton” was also held at UST on November 13.

A live chat on abs-cbnNEWS.com took place while the Hillary forum was going on. It drew 2,219 viewers, 442 comments, 601 Tweets and 45 reposts from Facebook or Multiply.

Chatters have also sent their questions to abs-cbnNEWS.com for the "Juan on 1" segment of TV Patrol World. "Juan on 1," also hosted by Failon, airs live one-on-one interviews with political aspirants. – by Ma. Rosanna Mina, abs-cbnNEWS.com