By Alex P. Vidal
“We don’t need to share the same opinions as others, but we need to be respectful.”—Taylor Swift
IT’S not only Bongbong Marcos Jr. who has showed an apparent attitude of disrespect for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) by ignoring the scheduled debates sponsored by the poll body in April.
Bongbong’s rivals appeared to have followed suit.
Like the former senator and son of the late strongman Ferdinand Sr., other presidential candidates also “boycotted” the Comelec panel interview on May 1.
Of course, they offered different excuses to justify their absence, but we all know they probably wanted to send this curt message: when Bongbong wasn’t around in the past debates, nothing bad happened to his survey numbers, so why do we have to belabor ourselves?
For lack of a punitive measure, the Comelec couldn’t compel any candidate to attend the debates, panel interview, and whatever remaining public forum before May 9.
Everything was on voluntary basis in as far as activities hosted by the Comelec related to the presidential election was concerned.
No coercion. No threat of disqualification. No penalty. Not even a reprimand.
Comelec is the most powerful government office during the election, but it has no teeth to compel candidates to join their election-related activities.
If Bongbong, who claimed he had prior schedules ahead of the debates and panel interview, didn’t display a haughty attitude towards the Comelec debates form the beginning, Vice President Leni Robredo, Mayor Isko Moreno, and Senator Ping Lacson wouldn’t have ignored the remaining programs arranged by the Comelec prior to Election Day.
In their thinking, if Bongbong could “get away with the snub” what and who will prevent us from doing the same?
Thus it became a case of “follow the leader” when they, too, dodged the panel interview, which was supposed to be the last leg of the scheduled Comelec debates before the cancelation of the other scheduled debate last month.
All the hullabaloo boiled down to one thing: they have no respect for the Comelec.
IT’S not only Iloilo City Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon who has chosen a different candidate for president other than the one being campaigned for by Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Trenas and Senator Franklin Drilon.
There are others in the slate, those running for city councilor—reelectionists and newcomers—who have picked other presidential candidates and would silently vote for their respective bets.
For instance, a reelectionist city councilor who had expressed admiration for Pacquiao both as a boxer and as a politician, until today still considers the former world boxing champion as his “idol.”
“I can’t openly say it because we are committed to support (Vice President) Leni Robredo, but my vote goes to Pacquiao,” the reelectionist city councilor told a former colleague in the industry that made him famous before he entered politics.
A neophyte candidate, a mestizo Chinese, who got lucky to be included in the slate of Trenas also confided to a former classmate, a balikbayan, that he will vote for Senator Ping Lacson.
“He (the neophyte candidate) admires Lacson even when the senator was still a PNP chief. The Chinese community likes Lacson because he helped rescue many victims of kidnapping-for-ransom in Manila and managed to return the ransom intact,” the balikbayan former classmate informed this writer.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)