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ROUGH CUTS | Comparing interviews with ‘Presidentiables’

Vic N. Sumalinog

THE start of the official campaign period for candidates to local positions is sometime in the last week of March 2022. However, in provinces and municipalities adjoining Davao City posters of aspirants in various local government posts are already sprouting like mushrooms. Of course the poster owners are trying their best to skirt what is or are prohibited by the election law. That is, by not including in captions in their posters the word “Vote.” But other than that everything inscribed therein is all praises for the candidate or extolling him or her to high heavens for what he or she has supposed to have done or is capable of doing for the people.

     The most pervasive of this early poster-planting is the Province of Davao del Sur and its municipalities, Davao del Norte as well as its towns and cities, and Davao de Oro.  We say most pervasive because when we had the opportunity to be there sometime the other week, almost every electric post and tree trunks on the road sides have not escaped the eyes of the early campaigners or those hired by candidates to install their posters.

     Talk of election laws? Well, Filipinos are known for their innovativeness and creativity.  Where they know they cannot and must not violate a law they always have a way of skirting it to do away with violation.

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     Our friend in the media, former GMA 7 news anchor Tek Ocampo, is now a candidate for councilor in the first district of Davao City. Meaning, he is changing career in his life.  That is, from a television anchor and disseminator of news to becoming the source of news himself.

     Of course, becoming a politician is another level of public service. Should Tek get elected he becomes a public servant by representing the people in the first district to the local law making body, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Davao City. But Tek Ocampo is not really alien in public service. He comes from a family of politicians who have made their marks in the then undivided Province of Davao del Sur. His late father was once a Vice Governor and his Uncle Primo Ocampo was a long-time governor of the province. So we believe that Tek would not have any problem fitting in on the shoes left by his elder family members.

     We would however caution Tek to be wary with the new route he is taking. Even during the campaign period he could end up falling into a well-disguised snake pit. He must be prepared to confront with inter-party intrigues because all the other council aspirants who are claiming to be under the local administration ticket have only one objective – to win in the election. Therefore, it is very likely that they will do everything to inch themselves closer to the powers that call the shot in the administration party. All Tek has to recall is the experience of his fellow Davao Occidental guy who once ran for a council seat – former City Administrator De Los Santos. He was in the official line-up but in the end he became a victim of political lobotomy.

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     It now looks like there is an ongoing comparison in the interview with Presidentiables conducted by entertainment anchor Boy Abunda and award-winning journalist Jessica Soho. Most of the netizens who are tilted to go for Abunda are saying his questions are well-crafted and place the interviewee at a disadvantaged situation if the answer is not properly thought of. Abunda’s question like this is tricky. “Why should not this candidate for President be voted?” 

     In the case of Jessica Soho’s questioning many are in agreement that the issues were well-researched but instead of flustering the interviewee for his/her answer it allows for a wider flexibility to deny or simply muddle the issue that leaves the viewer/listener to do the thinking or interpreting the aspirant’s answer.

     Moreover Soho, according to some netizens, converted the interview into some kind of a game show when she used visual aids to exact the answer she wanted.

     Of course, in Abunda’s style he seemingly failed to depart from the usual entertainment talk shows. Netizens/viewers complain of Abunda’s very long premises that allow the aspirant to have more time to think of his or her answer.

     Nevertheless, whether both anchors were showing bias to certain candidate-interviewee is something within his/her right. After all, as a voter he has his/her own preference that is beyond question by others.

     What we believe is important is that their interviews were able to give us Filipino voters the opportunity to discern who among the aspirants deserve our choice.

 

     

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