The right to escape humiliation

By Alex P. Vidal

“Self-pity comes so naturally to all of us. The most solid happiness can be shaken by the compassion of a fool.”—Andre Maurois

EVEN if we succeed in bringing the horse to water, there’s no guarantee it will drink.

Or, as the exact quote says that even if we bring the horse to water, we can’t compel it to drink.

In the case of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), which sponsored the PiliPinas Debates 2022 The Turning Point on March 19 at the Sofitel Harbor Garden Tent in Manila, it failed to bring Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to water; therefore, there was no chance to make the leading presidential candidate drink.

Of the 10 presidential debates invited, only Marcos Jr. didn’t attend because he prioritized being in a rally in Marikina City.

It wasn’t the first time Bongbong dodged a nationally televised “live” debate, so he isn’t a stranger to the debate snub.

His no-show in the debate on March 19 has elicited adverse reaction from the public, and many people, who didn’t buy his alibi, viewed it as an act of cowardice.

Marcos Jr. is aware debates, regardless of format and length, are always stacked against him; he probably feels like a rabbit being surrounded by wolves ready to scorch or swallow him whole.

In the past debates since the start of the official campaign period for the May 9 election, most candidates always wanted his meat.


Rivals loved to pick him for a chariot race and he would almost always end up flat on his back.

The nightmares must’ve traumatized and jolted Marcos Jr. especially when they speared him with searing issues about his family’s unexplained wealth, and when they peppered him about the ghost of Martial Law authored by his late father, former President Marcos Sr.

To assuage his unhappy fans who wanted to see him tackle the other candidates in the debates, Marcos Jr. might spring a major surprise in the last two presidential debates in this series scheduled on April 3 and 24.

But if Marcos Jr. will decide to altogether ignore the remaining debates, he is within his rights to do so; his decision won’t place him in a collision course with the Omnibus Election Code.

There’s no law that penalizes those who skirt the Comelec-arranged debate.

If he deems it unnecessary to clash with his rivals in a “live” televised forum for fear he would only end up mentally bruised and humiliated, or the debates would incriminate him in the many controversial issues being faced by his family that might be raised during the debate, Marcos Jr. has all the reason to escape and protect himself from embarrassment and humiliation.


BECAUSE of too much excitement over big rally crowds and surveys, followers of leading presidential candidates Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Vice President Leni Robredo think the victory of their respective bets is already in the bag.

Their strong basis? Mammoth crowds in various out-of-town sorties that seemed unstoppable and ready to give Robredo a resounding victory on May 9, and “consistent” survey results showing Marcos Jr. leading by a mile over his nearest rival.

Other contestants, who have nothing to brag about in as far as progress in their campaign is concerned, have dismissed the elements of big crowd and survey dominance as hogwash.

The big crowd was made possible because the “pink” has joined forces with the “reds” that infiltrated the rallies, many of them have argued.

The surveys could not be the basis to determine the winner because they involved only some 2,000 respondents compared to the 68 million voters, they insisted.

And besides, the real surveys will be on May 9, they added.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies.—Ed)