#PiliPinasDebates2016: Choosing the Right Leader


Few months before the most awaited National Elections on May 2016, the first National Debate was held and hosted by GMA7 in partnership with Philippine Daily Inquirer

The official hashtag of the event #PiliPinasDebates2016 trended worldwide on Twitter and amassed a huge volume of reaction from netizens in Social Media all over the world.

It was the first time that I saw all the presidentiables together in an event so kudos to GMA7 for being able to host such once in a lifetime event, even though there was not enough air-time and it felt like the candidates wasn’t able to express themselves as much as what the Filipino people are expecting of them.

The five presidential aspirants, namely DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, Senators Grace Poe and Miriam Defensor Santiago, Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and Vice President Jejomar Binay, stood up the stage and braved their way through the series of questions from rounds one to three.

The debate tackled current issues that the country is undergoing – crime, political dynasties, illegal drugs and one main problem of the country today, corruption.

Senator Grace Poe answered the questions gracefully with all her idealistic approach and strategies. She is aware that of all the candidates, she is the most inexperienced when it comes to governance, only on her half-term as senator and former MTRCB chair, but nonetheless, she believed that the country needed a new leader that saw the issues that were not resolved over the years. She believes that it’s time for some new eyes in the government that knows what the solutions are and acts fast. Her being new to politics triggered doubts from some whether it is the right time for her to run the country.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago answered fiercely, just what everyone was expecting from her. Senator Santiago is known for being one of the toughest Philippine senators in the history. Her level of professionalism, knowledge of the Philippine constitution and experience on good governance stood out during the debate. Her health became an issue that was taken against her to which she countered recently saying that she is already free of cancer. We all know that Senator Santiago has the highest influence when it comes to the youth and social media but sadly, only a little percentage of the youth are qualified to vote.

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte answered comically, combining both wit and humor at the same time. Although known as a “womanizer” and used to kill criminals during his term as Davao’s mayor, he answered the questions being thrown at him with all honesty and didn’t find his doings wrong. He promised to solve the problem of the country including drugs, criminals and corruption within the first three to six months of being in service. Although I can feel Mayor Duterte’s sincerity for running the country, I am just really not a fan of killing, even though they are criminals. I just think that it’s not the solution for the country.

Secretary Mar Roxas answered his questions comparatively, always pertaining to what the current administration has already done and what he will be doing for further improvements. Known as the Liberal Party’s standard bearer, Secretary Roxas had years of service as former secretary of DOTC, DILG and Philippine Senator. He believes that his experience is enough and is more than ready to take on greater challenges ahead. Although, having to compare the recent administration to what he’ll be doing made him lost his individuality and look as if he’s just going to be the shadow of the previous administration.

Vice President Jejomar Binay answered conceitedly, trying to point out what he has done on the City of Makati, regarding it as the richest city in Metro Manila. Vice President Binay served as the mayor of the City for decades and is currently facing corruption cases. Vice President Binay, whose daughter Nancy Binay is a senator, son Junjun Binay was the recently ousted Makati Mayor, and Abigail Binay, Makati Representative, doesn’t believe on the Anti-dynasty bill recently filed in the Senate, saying that everyone should be given the opportunity to help the country as long as it fairly wins the elections.

If you were given the opportunity to make things right for your country, who would you choose? Would you choose someone new but has the heart to help, someone who believes that strict discipline should be implemented although it may result to killings, someone who embodies brains but could affect her health and therefore won’t be able to run the country properly, someone who seems to be the puppet of the previous administration, or someone whose able to make it to the list of ten most corrupt government officials in the world and the only Vice President to be joining the list?

We all have one vote, one chance to make things right, let’s not vote out of popularity or out of what the candidates are sugar-coating, let’s vote for someone who could actually make the difference. Choose a leader that you won’t regret voting six years from now.

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