“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day To the last syllable of recorded time, And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.”
– From Macbeth by William Shakespeare
One of the most potent arguments for no elections is the recent presidential debate in Cebu City for it is a “tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing.” It sent people laughing and clapping at the antics of the four presidential candidates. It is wanting in something presidential, something earth-shaking and worthy of a headline. It is not a waste of time because it shows what kind of people we really are.
The debate on the ground
What is worthwhile is not the presidential debate but the aftermath of the debate – the debate or conversation on the ground. Even our law office was not spared by the after effects of the Cebu City debate. Our two loyal staffers who are both intelligent and very observant of national events – our law office secretary of more than thirteen years who has better knowledge of the law than most lawyers I know, Socorro “Baby” Lim, and her assistant, who is a sophomore in law, Jean Manguni, whose interesting observations could qualify her as a good lawyer someday. Their conversation is quite interesting and probably reflects the assessment of the more than average Filipino.
Baby: Jean, what do you think of the presidential debate in Cebu City?
Jean: I have not really made up my mind yet but I am likely to agree with the observation of a friend that the debate was quite revealing.
Baby: Revealing in what sense?
Jean: That the debaters showed their true colors.
Baby: What true colors are you or your friend talking about?
Jean: Well, it is a competition of two sets on stage – the criminals and the puppets.
Baby: Will you explain that. It is not clear to me what you mean?
Jean: Don’t entrap me, Ma’am Baby. I’ve heard you say that after the Cagayan de Oro City presidential debate.”
End of the conversation because my son, Happy, also a lawyer from the UP Law College and probably one of best trial lawyers of his generation as what some judges tell me, arrived and the two ladies had to go back to the salt mines.
My observations on the debate
Offhand I’d say I’m likely to agree with the observations of Jean and Baby – there is hardly any choice among the presidential candidates. The categories are well defined.
ON MAYOR RODRIGO DUTERTE: Talking about criminals, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is an admitted criminal. He admits killing people without due process. He admits to adultery by saying that he lives with somebody else as he is separated from his wife. He loves to womanize because, according to him – it is just a matter of biology with his favorite Viagra to boot. He cursed the Pope and vowed to destroy the Catholic Church. These criminal admissions are passports of Duterte to go straight to jail. In one of his interviews, he said that if he becomes President he will send Binay straight to jail. But on stage, he was lovey-dovey with Binay. Binay endorsed him and Duterte endorsed him in return. Duterte showed that he is a very traditional politician whose statements have no intellectual depth. He should have stuck to running for mayor of Davao City or ask to be appointed as the director of the New Bilibid Prisons.
ON VP JEJOMAR BINAY: His performance was dumb according to a texter who asked me whether Binay really graduated from UP. I really don’t know but if he did, people should know that UP produces the best of the best and the best of the worst. Well, those interested should find to which category does the master of denial belong? He repeated his line that his guilt has not yet been proved in court by bringing a sheaf of documents including his SALN. In an election, the candidate appears before the court of the people, not in a court of law. One should define well his defense. Even a bum lawyer knows that denial is one of the weakest defenses in a criminal case and that if a charge is leveled against you in public and you don’t defend yourself, you are deemed to have admitted the charge by your silence. The evidence against Binay of massive graft and corruption before the court of the people is overwhelming and all he could say in his defense is a flat denial. As they say, a duck is a duck is a duck. Binay is a duck. His performance on stage is an embarrassment to what UP stands for – the tradition of excellence, the aristocracy of the mind and great leadership.
ON SENATOR GRACE POE: She shows inexperience and also lack of depth. She should have run for Vice-President and she would have clobbered all the present contenders for the vice-presidency and then six years from now, she would be ready for the serious task of the presidency of this country. At the back of the mind, though, of many people, is that she could be a puppet of Chiz Escudero, Danding Cojuangco, Lucio Tan and the Americans. I really don’t know. Only time will tell. As usual though, she was prepared with her notes.
ON SECRETARY MAR ROXAS: He was the surprise of the evening for me. He showed a lot of brains which made the others appear like intellectual pygmies. He was the best debater of the evening. His answers were straight to the point and, at times, devastating. He reminds me of his father, the late Senator Gerardo “Gerry” Roxas – a man of high intelligence and character- and his grandfather, the charismatic orator, President Manuel Acuña Roxas, though Mar does not have the charisma of both but Mar, I think, is more cerebral than the two. The minus factor of Mar, to many observers, is his attachment to the daang matuwid. He was better than the two lawyers on stage on knowledge of the law or anything else. If I were a believer in elections, but I am not, and I am left to make my choice among the four on stage, minus the daang matuwid, I am afraid that my choice, hands down, to be President of this country in the 2016 elections is Secretary Mar Roxas. I think that when he becomes President, he will be nobody’s puppet – not of PNoy; not of Judy, his mother; or Korina, his wife.
MY BEST OPTION: It still remains the same – the constitutional transition government, meaning a peaceful revolution for a systemic change.. As I keep on saying: You can never be sure about the seasons.