Weighing in on the 3rd Presidential Debate

Good morning, fellow Filipinos, wherever you are. Thank you for reading my previous thoughts on the Presidential aspirants of 2016.

Now here’s my analysis of the 3rd Presidential Debate that kept us glued to our seats last night. This is a late upload because of a 16 hour brown-out here in Albay.

There are matters that are obvious and there are things that will be hidden to a mind that has already shut its eyes. But as they say, the things that are most important are invisible to the eye. So I’m dividing this analysis accordingly.


If I judge last night based on surface appearance only, then these are my conclusions:

Most impressive and Biggest Heart. 

 I think the most impressive debaters were Senator Grace Poe and Secretary Mar Roxas. It was plain to see.

Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares.  
She did her research. Her answers were straight and were backed by definite plans. She had data and she had examples. She would perfect a written and oral “Presidential Examination”. She most likely will sway the poor masses to her side. She pulled the right strings with her calm, reassuring, compassionate and motherly answers. She studies and she listens. In the end, she was the only debater who remembered to address the girl's concern.

If I am honest, then I should give this to Poe. She will get the thumbs up of the poor majority based on the appearances of the debate alone.

Mar Roxas.
He knows our economy and they have been doing the right things for the Philippine economy. Detractors cannot simply dismiss him because they don’t like him or simply because they have made up their minds against him. He was also very specific with future plans and with programs that are already in place.
Mar also has the advantage of knowing current government plans and programs as an administration candidate.

Based on the debate alone, he should get the votes of the middle to the upper income and educational brackets who are most keen about the economy and its inner workings.

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte was funny but his promises were few. His programs and notes were not as comprehensive and impressive as those of Poe-Llamanzares and Roxas.
On the surface, he was not appealing to the masses. On the surface, what he accomplished in the debate is that he's not simply the foul mouthed, gunslinger, dictator that he is pictured by detractors. I think he lessened the concerns of those who feared him the most. For his supporters, this should be a sigh of relief and reassurance.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
As pointed out by at least one analyst last night, it was sad seeing her. I was glad to see some points where she seemed to be in her element, especially when she shifted to English and when she was talking in the legal and international realm. But on the surface, for the most part, she looked labored because of her health and her Filipino/Tagalog. Borrowing from my wife’s words, she would "hang" at times but it was out of her control. You know that at her best, that wouldn’t happen. And on the surface it was like I personally would want to tell her for her sake that she has already done a lot and is still doing so much for her country. I am really sad to say this but 6 stressful years in the Presidency will literally kill her, unless her health dramatically improves further, or all government associates become miraculously immaculate.

VP Jejomar Binay.
He was full of promises that would lure the poor majority in the country. Everything will be free, without explaining the sources of the funds. He failed to answer Mar Roxas’ very specific question on the price of a bed and the Makati City hall. As I mentioned in the previous blog post, his presidency will be busy defending against corruption charges.

So what are my conclusions after “reading between the lines” of the debate?

The shortest answer would be the following, borrowed from a friend, Paul Chanco from Facebook:

Sa kanilang apat
pero si Digong ang ang PINAKA-TOTOO


If it were heart / puso alone, Poe should win.
If it were the economic programs and plans alone, Mar should win.
But if you look at the other aspects of the issues, take them into consideration with the reality of corrupt public officials and systems, Duterte should win.

Why? Let us put things in perspective.

First, we are going to select a President, a national Chief Executive whose most important skill set should be related to execution, decisiveness, ability to get things done and command adherence to laws, not only debating and argumentation.

Debating and argumentation are skills for the Legislative Branch of government. That is why the surface winners of the debate are Poe and Roxas, they were prepared for a debate. But we are not choosing legislators. We are voting for a Chief Executive who is also the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic.

Flowery words and rhetorical delivery are for lovers and oratorical contests.  That is why for those who didn’t factor this in, Duterte was not impressive in the debate. He was not a debater last night because he is not running for the Senate nor the House of Representatives. He is running for President. 

I wish he had more concrete plans like Mar or Poe but that is his point, no amount of plans will truly succeed if we don’t get rid or control drugs, crime and corruption. But if we do, even the simple plans of the past will benefit the public. That is why Duterte is not ashamed of admitting "I will just copy so and so’s plans".  This country has so many brilliant minds. All we need is an environment where these brilliant minds can flourish. That is why this man is humble contrary to the egotistic image people are painting him to be. He doesn’t have delusions or pretensions of genius or originality. His countrymen and women has that. He just needs to clear the way for his countrymen and women to bloom. I say this in flowery words because the flowers are hidden between the beds of his simple but clear direction.

Second, we know the reputation of our politicians in Congress, the local chief executives and the Cabinet officers and employees. They will wear down the likes of Grace Poe and kill their good intentions. We can be swayed and be convinced by Poe’s heart and eloquence but the people who will make the laws for her and those who will implement for her will simply close their calloused ears and drown her well-meant orders and pleas. I mentioned this aspect of puso in the previous post.

Third, I think the economy is best in the hands of Mar and the true liberals in the upper echelons of the party. I hope people would at least see this with Mar and the Daang Matuwid. If there is no Duterte in the race, I would go for this option.

Other issues. Again, as far as the economy is concerned and if we want it to just continue at its current pace then I can settle for Mar. But if we want to run faster while continuing what is already in place, my bet is with Duterte, especially after considering that national leadership is not only about the economy but whether Congress and the cabinet will follow his lead. He also has deep and realistic understanding of the communist and Muslim separatists. They also seem to trust him because he is unpretentious (which is interpreted as shamelessness/ classless by detractors).

Duterte’s point about the first two weeks or first 3 months of Presidency. He is very realistic because he knows that if people don’t follow him during the first two weeks then they won’t follow him for the next 6 years. That is practical wisdom from an executive and administrator. As Prof. Hundert in The Emperor’s Club said, “The end depends upon the Beginning”. If you have had any executive or administrative experience before then you will understand that. That is also part of the context of his joke/ statement on handing over the presidency to Bongbong Marcos should he fail in the first 3 to 6 months of his presidency.

So is what Duterte able to do impossible for Poe to accomplish? No, but it is unlikely.   Is that impossible for Mar to do? Just look at Mamasapano, the Manila hostage-taking, the Mindanao farmers and some other examples. (Although, technically these are party and Pnoy issues rather than a Mar issue).  Is that possible for Binay? In theory, yes, because he and Duterte have been chief executives. But is he clean? I’ll let you and the Courts decide.

Is Mar clean? I think so. But is his party really clean? Doubtful, especially as you go further down the ranks.

I also saw that for the benefit of the people, Duterte, Poe and Santiago may be able to work together. Duterte and Roxas may not, at least for now.

For the sake of the Philippines I hope the 4 can work together after the elections. Mar and the economy, Santiago and the Legislature, Duterte in the executive, Poe growing more muscle either in the legislature or executive branches. Give Binay his day in court to finally clear doubts and keep him in or out of public service.

So these are my thoughts and my vote is worth more than P500.00 inside an envelope. It is counted as just a single vote, equal to the vote of both the poorest and wealthiest registered voter, and that single vote is for the Filipino nation who are both here and abroad.




  1. Hi Aboy... Two thumbs up ako sa analysis mo... Now, lumilinaw na sa akin kung bakit dapat kong iboto ang unang napili ko na Hindi ko ma explain basta pumasok lang sa isip ko na sya ang kailangan ng ating bansa... Siya ang kasagutan sa inaasam at iniiiyak ng puso ng karamihang Filipino para sa totoong pagbabago... Pwede ko ba itong i-share privately lang sa mga chosen people ko? Regards Kay Neri...

  2. Maraming salamat ate Marites sa pagbasa at pag-share. Nawa tayong lahat ay maliwanagan dahil wala sa atin ang nakakakita ng 100%. We only see in part. Patuloy natin pagtulungan at ipanalangin ang pagbabago. 😊 iregards kita kay Nerissa. 😊


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