Velez: On GMA 7’s senatorial debate

THE GMA senatorial debate last Saturday achieved creativity by jampacking nearly half (21) of the 40-plus 2019 senatorial candidates into a 90-minute televised forum. But did it help make the audience, voters, and the public decide their magic 12?

Having 21 candidates talk in a 90 minute forum, each getting about 3 minutes each to answer questions from a panel of GMA’s leading journalists and from fellow candidates, I wonder did this forum help boost their winnability?

The first round of questions focused more on the issues hounding each candidate. Imee Marcos got questioned on ill-gotten wealth, General Bato

dela Rosa on police accountability on drug-related killings, Neri Colmenares on whether the Left is biased by focusing on violations by the military and not by the NPA, Jiggy Manicad defending his previous stand that the there is no government attack on press freedom.

What was missing in this debate are the basic questions, what are these candidates’ platform, and what are their credentials and qualifications that they deserved our vote?

This was a bit of wasted chance, given that the lesser known independent candidates had this opportunity to be exposed to the public.

Perhaps television, with its limitation of time and focus on pace, is not the good medium for discourse on candidates and why governance. I watched the replay and had a hard time to digest what the candidates said because

of the limited time and the fast pace of the show.

But we must make do for now.

An article from Esquire Philippines noted that this forum worked for the “woke” generation, referring to millennials and young adults, who find their consciousness raised even through social media.

It can be seen in the results on Twitter where the top five candidates trending after the debate were, from 1st to 5th: Imee Marcos, Colmenares, Chel Diokno, Manicad, and Samira Gutoc.

Imee got the most tweets but not for the right reasons. The highlight of the debate was when she got burned facing-off Diokno on their stand on political dynasties. The calm Diokno just rubbed it on her, and the public, how her father perpetrated a dynasty to steal the wealth of this country.

Colmenares, Diokno, Gutoc appeared to have gathered strong support even beforehand from the “woke” netizens. But how much can this be transformed

into a movement that can bring them to the Senate, given that the dominant

theme of traditional and dynasty politics still rule in the Senate campaign? To paraphrase a song, the decision will not be televised.


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