Reality TV: Aquino’s meeting with senators on BBL


Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos has proposed a most interesting twist in the continuing debate on the Bangsamoro project of President Aquino and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

In reply to Aquino’s statement that he wants to meet with senators to discuss the BBL, Bongbong has  suggested that the meeting should be televised in full view of the public like the hearings on the Mamasapano massacre and the serial crucifixion of vice president Jejomar Binay.

Bongbong wants a televised meeting in the interest of transparency – to avoid the mishap that befell Congressmen Rufus Rodriguez and his House ad hoc committee, which met twice with Aquino and caved to his demands. The Senate meeting will also be different from the secret meeting of Aquino with Senators Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada in Malacañang at the height of the Corona impeachment trial, which resulted in PNoy getting his desired balato (tip from winnings).

IN whatever way the media portrays it — as journalism, as political theater, as entertainment, or as reality TV – a televised Aquino meeting with senators will
crystalize the huge stakes in the BBL debate – for our people, for our country, and for Mindanao.

As chairman  of the senate committee on local government that is deliberating on the final form of the BBL, Senator Marcos has shown that he has some of the gravitas of his father in him. Now with this proposal, he shows that he may also have the flair of his inimitable mother.

Will Aquino agree?     
If president Aquino agrees to a televised meeting and the event comes to pass, it could surpass the normal viewership of public affairs programming in the country. It could expose the silliness of GMA-TV and ABS-CBN both claiming to have ratings supremacy in their battle over ratings (by conducting their own self-serving market surveys), since they will be broadcasting the same banana.

This thing may or may not happen. Aquino could get scared of wading into a live broadcast, wherein he has to think on his feet and answer questions from the senators.

Advisers may choose to dissuade him because he is so vulnerable on so many aspects of the BBL.

Reality-based television differs from documentary television in that the focus brings out conflict and differences, rather than simply informing viewers.

The fact is, the nation has never seen this president in a serious public discussion of issues. It would be a first if he agrees.

Aquino’s power to persuade          
More than anyone, it is President Aquino who should eagerly welcome this proposal.

The BBL is now on life-support. Only one in four Filipinos support it. Support in the Senate is flagging. In the House, the leadership cannot marshal a quorum for the plenary debates.

Aquino should consider the televised  meeting as a good opportunity for him to make the case for the passage by Congress of the BBL – a necessary argument which he has never made in any forum. This will also be a chance for his much-maligned speechwriters to show that they can write a speech, and operate a teleprompter properly.

Richard Neustadt, author and Harvard professor, theorized that “presidential power is the power to persuade.”

It is Aquino’s power of persuasion that will be under test here. What is needed is the power of reasoning and sound thinking. The power of bribery, pork barrel and intimidation does not count here. This is what senators Serge Osmeña and Bongbong Marcos want to exclude from the Senate deliberation on the BBL. Senators must be able to exercise their independent judgment on the issue.

In the give-and-take with the senators, Aquino is sure to have senator allies who will have his back. Senate President Frank Drilon will  strive to do for PNoy what he did for Butch Abad in the Senate’s whitewash of his DAP sins.

The danger is balkanization
The senate should lap up the opportunity to openly discuss with the President on live TV.
Institutionally, it’s good for this tarnished institution to meet the personage behind its shame (In 2012, Aquino bribed senators to impeach a sitting chief justice). It does not hurt if the chamber now demonstrates some spine and patriotism.

Senator Marcos seeks a televised senate meeting with President Aquino  so there are no suspicions of bribery, in whatever form.

Individually, for senators who genuinely oppose the creation of a Moro substate, it’s an opportunity for them to ask Aquino upfront why he and his negotiators talked peace only with the MILF and excluded other stakeholders in Mindanao.

The overarching reason for a televised meeting between Aquino and the senators is that it concerns  perhaps the most important issue of our public life today. The creation of a state within the Philippine Republic, and the balkanization (fragmentation) of  national territory.

You get an idea of how serious this business is if you google the term “balkanization.” Wars have been fought over it.

 More than an idiot box
The television networks should similarly welcome the chance to broadcast the meeting live in a non-partisan manner.

Through this, the networks can atone for all those moronic hearings of the blue ribbon subcommittee starring Senators Trillanes, Cayetano and Pimentel, by turning their attention to an issue of great importance and meaning.

Even as just a departure from recent practice, the broadcast of the Aquino-senators meeting  is already a public service, and an act of  mercy to viewers, who feel idiotized by shallow programming.

Of course, in-depth tough-minded TV is difficult and risky.  But if organized properly, the president’s meeting with the senators can prove to be riveting  television. And it could point the way for stopping the balkanization of the Philippines.

Aquino could forget himself
Many are skeptical whether Aquino will consent to such a public meeting with our senators.  He is only comfortable in scripted situations, where he can talk in polysyllabic Filipino without being understood.

Some people sympathetic to the President believe there is a danger in this format that President Aquino will forget himself during the meeting.

As he did in front of Pope Francis in Malacañang when he lambasted the Catholic Church hierarchy in the country.

As when he launched into an uncontrolled tirade against the Supreme Court when it declared the DAP as illegal and unconstitutional.

As when he launches into tirades against his critics at the oddest occasions.

This time around, under questioning by senators of the Republic, Aquino could inadvertently offer bribes to our senators in public or threaten them.

Or he might he ask them to vote for the BBL as balato to him.

We never really know, with this guy sitting on our public throne.


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  1. siguro, mas effective kung ang tatanungin sa debate ay ang mga advisers at speech writers. Tutal sila naman ang sumusulat ng binabasa ni kwan sa teleprompter. Nakakahiya pati kasing makita sa tv na ang summary ng arguments ni kwan ay ito: “Basta! Basta iyan ang gusto ko!”

  2. He will not agree to live televised meeting with the senators about BBL kung sa Mamasapano nga ayaw I bigay ang record ng txt messages at cell phone! No to BBL!

  3. I Remember... on

    Marcos has just proven again that he is the smartest Senator today!

    Hope he goes in the election for Presidency and win… then he can clean up the mess and put all crooks to jail. At one point, corruption is ENOUGH.

  4. Pnoy is not comfortable in this planned setting. Unless Vice Ganda moderates.
    If this dare would come true, then it could surpass viewership over Mayweather- Pacquiao fight at least locally. This is what transparency is all about. Unscripted Q&A portion of the presidency. Nobody could give answer if he/she is not asked.
    Valet or Coloma shall not forget to publish the specific schedule. Must be on prime time to optimize number of viewers.

  5. mikhail hieronymus on

    Senator Marcos is smart enough to challenge Pnoy that the meeting with the senators be televised because Marcos knows for sure that pnoy will offer something to the senators that they can not refuse. It is common knowledge that it happened before and this time, it will happen again if nobody is watching the cookie jar.

    Remember Justice Corona. It was a master move by pnoy.

  6. talagang hindi niya pa nababasa ang BBL or talagang TANGA siya dahil hindi nya naintidihanan ang saligang batas mayroon ang Pilipinas. for this reason dapat lang talagang to crucify him for treasons sa bayang Pilipinas kasama na mga Hudas na congressman na pumirma at hindi binasa ang laman ng BBL, lalong lalo na ang mga negotiador nitong BBL sa MILF…
    for sure, hindi tatanggapin ang alok ni BBM na idebate itong BBL open live at TV..
    tanong naman, pupunta naman ba ang TV network kung sakaling mag karoon ng debate si Abnoy at BBM?
    Kasama na rin sa sindikato itong mga TV networks na ito, dahil sa BRIBERY nitong moron na presidente..

  7. jose b. taganahan on

    Just cut the crap, no meeting with this idot and treasonous President! The people will be grateful to the Senate if it will not act on the proposed BBL and wait instead for the next administration to negotiate with all Muslim rebel factions with due consideration for the indigenous people and the Sultanate of Sulu which will be affected by the proposed Bangsamoro.

    Personally, I am against the BBL and instead I am in favor of strengthening the Constitutionally mandated Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)

  8. lerma jacinto on

    Like PNoy’s changing statements (evidence of not telling the truth) in the Mamasapano incident, I’m sure that he will commit more flip-flops and rumbling statements when he meets and discuss BBL w/ the Senators. And if this meeting will be televised, (w/c I’m sure, he and his advisers will not allow to happen), all the more, the Filipiino people will see the incompetence and inadequacy of the President.
    But, this televised meeting about the BBL that Sen.Marcos had suggested is most welcome.

  9. That’s asking for the moon. LOL if that’s gonna push thru. Can’t wait for 2016. Pls. don’t vote for all the LP candidates and Binay and his allies.

  10. slick maneuver by marcos! noynoy has already backed off (from the planned meeting with senators) through the pronouncement of drilon that passage of the BBL is delayed until october. marcos clearly laying the foundation for a possible crack at the presidency. and he is diligently preparing the building blocks and political stocks to get the presidency, maybe in 2016 or in 2022.

  11. genesisbughaw on


    can illusionists and realists mixed?

    Or the Idiot and reasonable person can agree to each other?

    Or can the lunatics and saner people find a common ground?

    Balkanization is in the core of bbl and the more saner filipinos share their concerns the better.

    BS Aquino …Hail to Narcissist In Chief!

    Hindi naman po ako mind reader pero sigurado po ako na hindi tatangapin yan proposal ni Sen. Bong Bong Marcos ni Narcissist In Chief.

    God Bless Philippines!

  12. Yes it would be good TV viewing to watch Aquino in an unscripted setting. Naturally Drillon will try to hold to the script but Marcos and Santiago will not follow that or allow it to be followed.

  13. victor m. hernandez on

    Televised discussion or debate on BBL among senators and the President is ok for treansparency and how the senators and the President will convince the people which point of view on the BBL is the better option for the nation. At the end of the day,however,when TV is not around, alliances and other forms of persuasion, bribery included, will impact when the voting on BBL come.

  14. jason bourne on

    It wont happen. Yes its good wishful thinking, what if BS of A does this or that. I have seen him in person during the small debates prior to the 2010 election. He is a good Filipino orator mumbling motherhood statements though devoid of passion. He is a walking dead.

  15. Money talks, Aquino doesn’t.

    No-one has respect for some-one who runs from debates and hides in times of crisis.

    Pnoy Aquino cannot read some-one else speech on a teleprompter without being soporific.
    The multi-tasking of thinking and talking at the same time is a step too far for the anti-intellectual Aquino, who is only at home with gameboys and karaoke. No class.

  16. Venerando Desales on

    Pnoy wants the Filipino people to follow him in signing the terms of surrender of the Republic of the Philippines to the MILF and Malaysia! Imagine Gen. Mac. Arthur surrendering to the Japanese in World War II instead of Japan surrendering to the U.S.! Or Gen. Eisenhower surrendering to Hitler? It is worst in us in BBL, DDay battle has not yet begun, yet we are already surrendering and all of our intelligence datum freely given to the MILF! Is it not giving aid and comfort to the enemy? It is good that a treason case has already been filed, magkaliwanagan na!

  17. ben_tumbling on

    Si sen marcos is ” a chip off the old block” while si bsa3 does not even deserve to be called a shadow of ninoy!

  18. jesus nazario on

    Sen Bongbong must also offer THE other of the two horns of the (damn if you do, damn if you don’t) dilemma he has put Ngoy in by proposing an option that will equally be difficult to just ignore without any negative effect. Then let’s see how Ngoy chooses between Scylla and Charybdis, the whirlpool or the hard rocks, the devil or the deep blue sea, etc. Mano-a-mano between Anak-ng Tatay vs Anak ng Tatay. Abangan !

  19. Thinking on his feet! That’s a tall order and ridiculous scenario for one who cannot do without a teleprompter even when speaking about a relatively minor topic as the k to 12 plan and even before elementary kids for audience. How could one expect this moron to tackle mano-a-mano a very serious matter as the BBL before senators many of whom have brains more superior than this idiot. Let’s see if pnoy will take the bait since the challenge comes from Bongbong and make a fool of himself on live tv.

    • P.Akialamiro on

      He’ll probably ‘ace’ it with Vice Ganda, with Ai-ai or, with ‘Boy’ Abunda!

  20. The chance of agreeing to this proposal is nil. He will undoubtedly refuse. Make your own conclusions!!!!!

  21. P.Akialamiro on

    It is a “too-ambitious-Idea” to expect BS Aquino to attend the senate hearing on the BBL. It would be tantamont to ‘undressing’ him and baring to the whole world everything, or nothing. depending on how you look at it.

    The move of Sen. Marcos is admirable; a real transparency, especially in the case of BBL which affects the very territorial integrity, sovereignty and unity of the country.

    The BBL is an “empowerment” law. It sould be deliberated closely and meticulously and never capriciously.

    The way it is being rushed gives rise to some suspicions that there’s some hidden agenda behind its passage. At this stage, how come there are claims by other Muslim groups that they were never part of the negotiations, meaning they were never consulted at all?

    Once the BBL and Bangsamoro are approved, who can prevent the group from seeking help, political, economic or otherwise, from other Muslim countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and the Middle East? By the same token, who can provent these countries from recognizing Bangsamoro as a “De Jure” state, meaning a soveriegnty in itself, separate and different from the Republic of the Philippines?

    The process might be prolonged and tedious, but better safe than be sorry! Get it, Mr. Noy-P?

  22. I am sure many Filipinos think in the way Mr. Makabenta thinks. The Abnoy will not accept the challenge of Sen. Marcos, because he is one who can never think intelligently. He is even afraid to accept the challenge of UP students to speak before them. He knows he cannot tackle anything outside of a prepared speech flashed in a teleprompter.

    I can never forget a television interview with him when he was asked about whether or not he approves of capital punishment and under what circumstance would he recommend it. He replied that he approves of capital punishment for a “recidivist”. And he amplified that a recidivist is one who steals the carabao of his neighbor repeatedly! Wow! The reply really choked me. I could never forget it up to now.

    It’s a known fact that this Abnoy we have in Malacanang, according to one commenter in this space is really “ulol” and “ungas-ungas”. This is a known fact in the Phils and in the other foreign countries. The dignitaries of the countries he visits oogle at him to see for themselves at close range a mentally dysfunctional illegitimate president. Of course, they are much too kind not to sneer at him upfront. But I can believe they talk about his oddities after he’s gone.

    I join the many who think the Abnoy will never take the challenge of Sen. Marcos.

  23. Roldan Guerrero on

    A STUPID individual has his own laws and rules to follow. These laws are not written and most are contrary to legal laws. When PIGNOY started to defy the Supreme Court Rulings and insisted on his own, that was the time I learned we are ruled by a STUPID President. Of course the STUPID knows himself more than anybody else and he will not submit to Senator Marcos` suggestion. He knows he is a LEGAL RETARDATE and is ignorant about the principles of legal undertakings. I presume he does not understand the BBL but his 2nd favorite game : BRIBERY which is next to VIDEO GAMES, he is confident of forcing the BBL into enactment.

  24. Alejo Rosete on

    When Jesus was about to be released by the Pilate because it was wrong to sentence him to death.

    The people shouted:
    Crucify Him
    Crucify Him
    Crucify Him

    Will the people gather at EDSA and shout:
    Televise it
    Televise it
    Televise it


    If these things don’t happen


  25. Sorry, a televised meeting with the Senators will not happen. PNoy thru Coloma will look for all forms of excuses. PNoy knows na hindi niya kaya na makita kasi, my suspicion is, he really does not know what and how to explain the illegal provisions in the BBL.

    • vintage boy sisi yung ayaw makipag debate. if you recall during the 2010 presidential elections, he never engaged in televised debates organized by the media with his opponents. takot kasi mabubuko na walang laman ang bao????

  26. Rogelio C. Lim on

    Duda ko hindi pa niya nababasa ang BBL, kaya hindi niya alam na ito ay punong puno ng paglabag sa saligang batas.