“I love argument, I love debate. I don’t expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me, that’s not their job.”
— Margaret Thatcher
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — Unknown to many people, Mel Carreon, the object of ridicule and laughter from characters who didn’t take his candidacy in the past elections seriously, is a good speaker.
“Therefore he is a good debater,” insisted the late Bob Bacaling, Carreon’s erstwhile campaign manager.
Bacaling said Carreon can lecture not only about car insurance, health and mortgage life insurance and homeowner’s insurance, but also about stocks, bonds and cash equivalent investments that are vital for the nation’s economic growth and survival.
“Mel is no pushover in debates,” Bacaling stressed. “He can discuss topics about history and religion; and he believes he has the formula that can help solve poverty in the country and lower the rate in unemployment. All he needs is a big break and a chance to serve the public as an elected official.”
Carreon failed prove to all and sundry he could orate like Demosthenes and argue like Cicero because he was always not included in formal debates in the past elections among candidates for mayor and congressman in Iloilo City.
He was always dismissed as a “nuisance” candidate because no serious political party has carried or accredited him; he always ran as independent.
Now that he has filed his candidacy for mayor, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should give him the benefit of the doubt and let him participate in media debates.
It is not enough that after filing their certificates of candidacy (COC) for the May 2019 Philippine general elections, candidates will rely everything heavily to their respective political parties as far as winning is concerned.
They need to cultivate their own gardens and must first prove their worth in the debate.
Candidates can’t be saved by their political parties or party mates if they go to the debate unprepared and are not updated on the latest local, national, and international issues.
Debate can be a game changer.
It is one effective barometer in selecting quality public officials and unmasking the charlatans.
Candidates who lack preparations or avoid the debate are usually interested only to win and collect their salary, pelf and privileges once they are in power, not to prove to their constituents that they are mentally fit and prepared for the job as public servants.
Debates during the election campaign should be encouraged because they will show if the candidates, at least, possess the basic intellectual apparatus that can help them chart the future of their constituents and help alleviate their economic well-being.
Debate, as a force for social change, develops skills and knowledge that will help the debater become an elite and will also help him to develop a civic and political identity.
They will develop a sense of ownership of the world and a sense of empowerment, as they will know specific global and domestic issues, and the ways in which the government can solve our generation’s problems.