The rains Friday unleashed a torrent of unfortunate events.
Because of the foul weather in Manila, our flight from Cagayan De Oro City was requested to circle around first rather than land at the time scheduled. That flight itself was generally alright, save for the handful of incidence of turbulence that resembled a b-a-a-a-d rollercoaster ride. After getting our bags, the continuous downpour led to the dearth of cabs in the NAIA Centennial Terminal 2. I finally managed to get a cab after an hour on the queue, then spent about another hour on the road home.
By the time I plopped in front of the television, it was already 9pm. I still managed to catch the last half-hour of the second round of the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) Leadership Forum last June 5th.
From the little I witnessed where I sat, former President Joseph Estrada has taken himself out of the running. He was just recycling replies from his failed administration and cruelly interspersing misplaced humor among these replies. Um, Mr. President, the audience was laughing AT you, not WITH you, no thanks to your frayed attempt at speaking English and equally unsuccessful effort to speak within the time allotted per forum participant. You’ve had your time in office, we’ve had enough of you.
A revelation was Metro Manila Development Authority Chairperson Bayani Fernando. I didn’t know he was *that* ineloquent. He rambled on and on about laws and how the implementation of these laws will win him the youth vote. It pains me to say this but he came across as somehow who hasn’t read yet the contents of the Reproductive Health Bill, hiding right away behind the cloak of religion without offering a personal analysis of the impetus for the filing of such a bill. His handling of the heckling from the audience could have been better; the University of the Philippines crowd wasn’t one he can bully or bulldoze into submission.
Loren Legarda came ready, notes and stats accessed at a moment’s notice. I’ve heard her give the keynote address in a forum on poverty hosted by the UP National Institutes of Health and I was glad to hear a consistent message from her: re-focusing government resources on agriculture, education, and health. She was her usual articulate, confident self, perhaps enjoying the feeling of being at home in her alma mater. For whatever it is worth, she and Sen. Chiz Escudero sounded so alike, especially when they would switch from English to Filipino. They project the same command and respect for the Filipino language that makes me listen to them and actually *hear* their message.
From where I sat, in that half hour of the ANC Leadership Forum that I caught, if I were to declare a winner, it would be Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay. He spoke clearly and concisely, getting his points across without sounding condescending or elitist. He managed to showcase his credentials via his replies, deftly weaving into the latter his experience in the UP student council, law practice, and local governance. His persistent use of Makati as a symbol of his present and future knowledge, skill and attitude as a leader is downright clever. Now, if only I can erase from my brain Binay’s trapo image and the “Binay, Be Our Next President” banners all over Makati I see in my mind’s eye…
The last half-hour’s questions were quite interesting: wooing the youth vote, the Reproductive Health Bill, prosecution of the Arroyos, litany of real estate properties. Ricky Carandang was his normal, engaging self; Cheche Lazaro felt like fish out of water. Bring Tina Palma back in the next round please.
It would be likewise interesting if the ANC can do a fact check in all the numbers, stats, accomplishments the forum participants bragged about. It would also be interesting to lay out the participants' stand on issues current and past, by way of videos and soundbites, and expose inconsistencies.
Then we’d really see who is sincere, who is just a load of spin, who should be flushed down the drain along with all the water that poured from the sky last June 5th.