DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is not prepared for the presidency as indicated by his lack of a clear grasp of national issues and concrete plans on how to address the country’s problems, a political analyst said.
Ramon Casiple, founder and executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms, on Monday said Duterte’s performance during the final presidential debate sponsored by the Commission on Elections showed the mayor neither had a clear grasp of issues nor a program of action on how to address various problems confronting the country.
The political analyst cited Duterte’s statement that he would just copy the platforms and programs of Sen. Grace Poe and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
The mayor showed he had no concrete idea on how he would run the country if he won the May 9 elections, Casiple said.
Copying the platforms of other presidential aspirants is not a good indication of Duterte’s readiness to be President, he said.
“It would be easier for the mayor if he would just endorse Sen. Miriam [then], since she is the one who really knows what she is saying,” he pointed out.
Based on the mayor’s answers during the debate, Casiple said, it was obvious that he did not prepare to tackle the issues that were to be discussed.
Malacañang also on Monday criticized Duterte, saying the people expected more than mere “sound bites” from presidential candidates.
Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda denied allegations that administration bet Manuel Roxas 2nd had received “advanced information” that helped him during the third and final presidential debate held in Dagupan City, Pangasinan.
In a text message, Lacierda insisted that all candidates were briefed about the topics that would be discussed.
“The topics were given to all the candidates ahead of time to prepare,” Lacierda told reporters in a text message.
“Ang problema kay Digong at ang team nya, mahilig sa sound bites at tamad mag research [The problem with Digong and his team, they are fond of sound bites and lazy to do research],” Lacierda said, using Duterte’s nickname.
Roxas said Duterte’s answer when asked what he would do regarding the Philippines’ claim over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) was not realistic.
Duterte said he would talk to China and if China insisted on its claim, he would go to the nearest Philippine-China boundary and bring with him a Philippine flag to mark the country’s sovereignty.
“Then I would say this is ours and do what you [want]to do with me,” the mayor added.
“Sabi niya pupunta siya roon, alam ba niya na the Armed Forces of the Philippines is supposed to protect him e kung maraming mamatay? Yan ba ay responsableng kilos ng isang Pangulo, dahil lamang sa pa-drama, pa-hero [Is that a responsible action of a President who tends to lean on drama and portray himself as a hero]?” Roxas said.
Casiple said all of the presidential bets were unscathed during the debate because they appeared “tame” and played safe.
“I think that the candidates decided to play safe, and because of that, the undecided remains undecided after the debate,” he added in an interview.
When it comes to who among them have a clear grasp of issues, the political analyst said Poe and Roxas were the most prepared.
“They [Poe and Roxas] allotted time to study and prepare for the debate,” he added.
Casiple said there were no surprises because Vice President Jejomar Binay, as expected, evaded the corruption issues that continued to hound his candidacy.
But the Palace noted that during the debate, Roxas showed more knowledge of various issues than Duterte and Binay.
“So, sa mga undecided po na mga voters [So for the undecided voters], the third debate presented an opportunity to see who among the ‘presidentiables’ will be able to lead our country forward, not just sound bites, without corruption,” Lacierda said.
Despite drawing flak for his controversial joke on the rape and killing of a missionary, Duterte led his rival in the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.
The poll was conducted from April 18 to 20.
It was on April 17 when Duterte’s controversial rape remark went viral.
Duterte got 33 percent of the votes of the respondents.
He was followed by Poe, who received a 24 percent rating.
Roxas edged out Vice President Jejomar Binay, a former frontrunner.
He and Binay scored 19 percent and 14 percent, respectively, from 18 percent and 20 percent previously.
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago got 2 percent.
The survey results, however, are not conclusive because the fieldwork for the survey ended on April 20, according to political science professor Edmund Tayao.
He said the mayor has since issued more controversial statements that drew heavy criticism after the survey was held.
WITH CATHERINE S. VALENTE AND PNA