A Catch-22 situation for Marcos Jr. | Inquirer Opinion
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A Catch-22 situation for Marcos Jr.

That presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos failed for the second time to join a presidential candidates forum, this time sponsored by the KBP, is concerning. Twice now, the Filipino people have been prevented from seeing all candidates together, fielding questions by the most respected journalists and measuring them as they respond under pressure.

Moreover, the answers to why he didn’t appear all tend to cast doubts on his character, and/or his qualifications to be president. Let’s examine them.

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He said that he had a schedule conflict. Well, if there was a conflict, his decision showed, this early in the game, that he has the wrong priorities. What could be more important than facing a nationwide audience (the show was telecast and broadcast all over the Philippines) so they could compare the candidates by their responses and their reactions, who would make the best president? Who would be cool under pressure? Who would be able to think on their feet? Who could already be possibly cheating (by referring to notes when they were supposed to be spontaneous)? Who can answer questions fielded from all over the country?

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BTW, this event was planned two months ago by the KBP. They must have tried, at the earliest time, to set the date, so that scheduled conflicts would not arise. So using that excuse shows also that his tendency to prevaricate is still very much alive.

BTW, Leni Robredo apparently gave precedence to this candidates forum. But she also wanted to revisit the Supertyphoon “Odette”-affected areas, so she arranged to go online from an office near the airport. She soon realized that she couldn’t have her cake and eat it too, so to speak, so she apologized immediately and admitted that she had learned a valuable lesson. Her desire to help the Odette victims was at the least commendable.

Now for the other possible reasons. Maybe Marcos Jr. was advised by his media consultants that he was far ahead in the opinion polls and the best strategy was “no talk, no mistake.” So he accepts interviews only by those he considers friendly, or willing to tell him the questions in advance, or willing to pre-record, so mistakes can be corrected. That way his image, carefully shaped the past few years, will not be destroyed. Any unrehearsed interview, or extemporaneous views would be counterproductive.

This reasoning shows that he would have no qualms about fooling the Filipino people, until he is elected. And therefore would have no qualms about the Filipino people any other time.

The third reason he did not show up is that he cannot or will not spare the time to study whatever plan of government his advisers have come up with, which means that if he shows up, his doting Filipino followers will realize that their emperor has no clothes.

It’s a Catch-22 situation for Marcos. If he shows up with the other candidates, he will be shown up. If he decides to dodge, he will be shown up anyway.

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Now let’s talk about the forum itself, Reader. Here are my impressions top-of-the head, not full analysis:

The questions were good, both from the center and the regions. But the women journalists were underrepresented.

The format was also good, but why can’t we have the candidates questioning each other, as in a debate? I sincerely hope that the Comelec comes up with a real presidential debate. This pussyfooting around is getting on my nerves.

The biggest surprise of the forum was Leody de Guzman. I especially liked his wealth tax idea, and his ideas about agriculture (his parents were farmers), fisheries, laborers, and employment, and his ability to distinguish between good business (capitalists) and bad business. But thumbs down on his idea of the same minimum wage in NCR as all the other regions. Manny Paquiao’s main theme was that he would finance his plans with non-tax revenues. No one asked him to give examples of this type of revenue.

Isko Moreno talked about replicating his methods and successes in Manila all throughout the Philippines. Somebody should look at those “successes.” And his last statement complimented Paquiao, De Guzman, and Lacson, and ignored Robredo. Bad mistake. And lastly, Lacson’s “leadership by example” is still very much in doubt.

What about Robredo? Despite the technical problems, it was clear that she was the only candidate who had both the correct ideas and the correct experience. I haven’t changed my mind on who should be president.

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TAGS: Bongbong Marcos, election, Get Real, kbp, winnie monsod

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