It was taped earlier than its airing date last Sunday, December 6, 2009 so I somehow caught a glimpse of how the debate went about. According to the news, after the debate, members of the audience at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) where the debate was held were surveyed as to who they will vote for in the coming elections. The top choice turned out to be Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro, with Sen. Richard Gordon coming second.

Personally, I was not surprised with the results. In fact, I felt vindicated in thoughts. Even after loving Kris Aquino all my adult life, admiring her in various ways (even buying her magazines and a CD of hers and Baby James’) and even after growing up knowing my Mom admired so much Ninoy and Cory, I have the strongest reluctance on liking Noynoy.

I do not categorically state that Noynoy is not intelligent. I doubt that a product of Ninoy and Cory can be stupid. However, there are times that I feel he is just dumbfounded at things thrown at him. Not once did I hear an interview of him that made me instantly admire him. It is very much different with how I feel when I hear Kris talk. Maybe he doesn’t have the charisma or maybe he is not just really a very impressive person.

When I accidentally watched the Isang Tanong Presidential Debate in GMA-7, I already had inklings of what kind of candidate Noynoy is. But all was sealed when I watched Harapan. To say the least, I was not impressed with his answers as much as I was not impressed with other candidates.

There were questions which he could have strikingly answered but he failed. He had a problem with responsiveness. He even has a problem with drawing enough attention just by being himself, not being linked to his parents, to Kris, or to his supposed girlfriend. Nowhere in that debate made me think that he will be a notable President of the Philippines.

As to Gibo, aside from the fact that he is closely identified with the current president, I think he has no other problems. His intelligence cannot be questioned. However, his notoriety for being the administration candidate may work for and against his advantage, but who knows? He answered the questions propounded to him pretty well. His being a lawyer worked greatly to his advantage (the same as it did to Gordon). Both of them were able to face the questions head on and they were able to address the issues clearly.

I liked what Gibo said that it is hypocrisy to say that you do not pay, coz you do. In essence, what he meant was that it is how you pay that matters. He differentiated encompassing interest versus narrow interest. And to me, there was no distaste to his answers. Party affiliations aside, Gibo would have this race like how Pacquiao won over Hatton.

When Gordon ran for the Senate, I voted for him as my top senator. I wanted to vote for him alone, as I felt that he deserved that senatorial seat than anyone else. I recall saying that even if he runs for the presidency, I would vote for him, hands down. I always admired his leadership skills. I liked how he converted Intramuros to a tourist spot with the Wow Philippines project. I did not even know then that he was a lawyer. As I recently researched on him, I was surprised to know that he worked with famous firm, ACCRA. I still admire him now and I like his answers during debates. But I cannot categorically give him the presidential vote now, as easily I gave him my senatorial vote.

I recently activated my voting rights. Having failed to vote in the last two elections, I was deactivated from the list. So I transferred to Mandaluyong now and I will vote there. Although the local elections here are pretty much over from the day candidates filed their certificates, the coming national elections will be indeed interesting.

As to who I will vote, I haven’t really made a concrete decision yet. I know that whoever I choose may not directly affect my life or my daughter’s. I just know that even if you have the best president God has meant to be, if you are a bum and have a bad outlook in life, you will still go nowhere. I believe we should carry our own stables and help whoever is elected by becoming the best citizen we can be. Example? Do not throw garbages on the streets. Do not waste electricity or water. Study and work. It is as easy as that.

But still, I hope that the next president will serve the encompassing interests of the majority of the Filipinos, if not all. I hope that the next president will not be subservient to the narrow interests of some. I fervently pray that the next president will be better than the present one. And that all of us will help the next president do better by becoming the best people for the country. For me, that is more important than showing up on the streets with signs, burning images and flags, and hurling invectives at others. For me, the debates and the elections itself are just prelude to what we should do as individuals, regardless if we are rooting for Noynoy, Gibo, or worse, Erap.