I arrived home from work in time to catch what was left of the ANC Leadership Forum aired live at ANC (ABS-CBN News Channel). The ANC Leadership Forum, held at the Loyola campus of the Ateneo de Manila University, was hosted by Tina Monzon-Palma and Ricky Carandang.
The presidentiables who attended the forum are Senator Chiz Escudero, Senator Richard Gordon, Governor Ed Panlilio, Senator Mar Roxas and Secretary Gilbert Teodoro.
I took these notes, obviously incomplete and probably containing some inaccuracies, which is my fault alone:
Question - Will you form a coalition with Manny Pacquiao's political party?Gordon: Yes.Panlilio: Yes, if people with him adopt principles of good governance.Roxas: He should remain a symbol of unity, an idol of the youth.Teodoro: Yes, he is very much welcome ... he has good drawing power.Escudero: Yes, 'wag n'ya lang isama yung pinuntahan n'ya kanina sa Malacañang ...Question - What was the last book you read or the last movie you've seen?Panlilio : Book: Leadership Secrets of St. PaulRoxas : Book: 1776 about the American RevolutionTeodoro : Book: Power and Prosperity, about rewards and incentives; Movie: John Adams, about the second President of the United StatesEscudero: Book: Dinner with a Perfect Stranger; Movie: Kasal, Kasali, KasaloGordon : Book: Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama; Movie: We are MarshalsQuestion: Will you support an investigation of the Arroyo family for corruption allegations?Roxas : Yes. NBN-ZTE, fertilizer scam ... etc.Teodoro : Walang makakapara n'yan. Ngunit kung ito'y haka-haka ... political harassment, tutulungan ko ang aking Pangulo. Secretary Teodoro is runaway winner of the Most Loyal to GMA Award.Escudero : Yes. Dapat panagutin s'ya sa mga pagkakamali at paglabag sa batas na ginawa n'ya.Gordon : Kung magpa-file ng kaso, dapat i-file. Hindi dapat haka-haka, hindi kuro-kuro.Panlilio : We must be a nation of laws ... dapat lang magkaroon ng prosecution dito. Let the law and justice take its course. Hindi lang sa gobyerno ... kahit sa private sector at mga simbahan ... may corruption.Question : What are the positive contributions of the Arroyo administration?Teodoro : Maraming positive, 7.3 pct GDP growth ... etc.Escudero : Isa lang para sa 'kin. Dahil sa ilang paglabag sa batas ... at hirap na dinaranas ng ating mga kababayan ... Ginalit n'ya ang maraming Pilipino ... para makilahok sa susunod na halalan. This is the most creative answer of the night. Expect bright answers like this from Senator Chiz no matter what position he eventually runs for in 2010.Gordon : Transaction sa lahat ng mga Congressman. Kapag naging Presidente, wala na dapat kaibigan ... truth palagi hindi lies. But she has work ethic ... Kulang sa suheto sa mga nakapaligid.Panlilio : When I first read this question, hindi ako makatulog. Nag-provide siya ng transition nung mabakante ang presidency. Sa environment, pinirmahan n'ya agad yung zero waste management law nung 2001 and last year yung R.A. on renewable energy... kung ii-implement n'ya ito is a different matter altogether. What is often lacking is the political will to implement these programs.Roxas : Ang isang mabuting nagawa ni Pangulong Arroyo ... inappoint n'ya kong DTI Secretary. Sinuportahan n'ya ko nung nilabanan ko ang pharmaceutical cartel ... sinimulan ko yung IT BPO call center space ... gumawa kami ng strategic plan ... nilabanan ko yung cement cartel. This was the best self-promo campaign of the night.Question : Who do you admire the most, living or dead?Escudero : Walang iisa ... piliin yung magagandang qualities sa lahat ng taoGordon : My father ... an American who became Filipino and raised his children as Filipinos. This was the most emotional moment of the night as Senator Gordon fought back tears while reminiscing about his late father.Panlilio : Andres Bonifacio, Tarik Soliman, Jose Abad Santos. He related how then Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos, seeing his son crying, told him: "Don't cry. Not everyone is given the opportunity to die for his country." (Abad Santos was executed by the Japanese in 1942 for his refusal to render the oath of allegiance to the Japanese Empire.) I rate this the most patriotic answer of the forum especially given the way Among Ed delivered it. Any Filipino who makes positive mention of Andres Bonifacio and reflects proudly on Jose Abad Santos' now-forgotten sacrifice in the same sentence must have within him beating a patriot's heart. I looked up Tarik Soliman and it turns out he's a Capampangan who fought in the Battle of Bangkusay.Roxas : among the living, Cory Aquino; among the dead, his father, Gerry RoxasTeodoro : Rizal, Bonifacio, Marine soldier ...
After this, the would-be candidates gave their one minute closing messages.
My position remains the same, issues are more important than personalities. It's too early to pick a presidential bet just yet. Let's ask them, from where they are, from whatever public position they occupy, to SPEAK OUT and WORK NOW on the issues that can improve our lives and secure a better future for the Philippines.
Take the case of Senator Mar Roxas, for example. I have two posts concerning him regarding tuition fee increases and has actually emailed him on one of them at email@example.com, without receiving any reply so far. These posts are:
Let's Encourage Senator Mar Roxas to Make a Clear, Principled Stand on the Issue of Tuition Fee Increases (Lalaban Tayo!)
Let's Urge Sen. Mar Roxas to Act Quickly On Two (2) Tuition Fee-Related Resolutions Filed by Sen. Manny Villar (Ngayon Na, Now Na!)
Now, Senator Mar Roxas has done many things for this country especially in the ongoing investigation of the Legacy scam and I have given him credit whenever he deserves it, for example, in this post: The Senate Resolution that Won Back Custody Over Jun Lozada, SRN-1049 (Adopted Resolution No. 172), Filed by Senator Mar Roxas.
But he should really work on the issue of tuition fee and state his position clearly if he is to maintain his credibility. Napaka-importante po nito para hindi niya pansinin. This issue belongs to what should be his "core advocacies" because he is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture. Siya po dapat ang unang pumapadyak sa isyung ito. Hindi ko po siya kukulitin dito kung wala siyang pwede o DAPAT na gawin. You can email Senator Mar Roxas at firstname.lastname@example.org and this is the Official Mar Roxas website.
The same principle goes for all of these aspiring presidentiables, not just Mar Roxas.
I'll appreciate it a lot if you can give me guidance or share with me your thoughts on this matter.
For more on the issues over personality paradigm, here's my post dated March 30, 2009, 2010 Presidential Campaign Issues.