In the midst of the sorrow over the terrorist attacks last week in Beirut, Paris, and Baghdad, and the continued harassment of the lumad community, Alma Moreno’s viral interview seemed like a comic relief—if she had been acting in a movie.
But no, she spoke as a senatorial candidate of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance. And there lies the awkwardness.
Moreno appeared on ANC’s “Headstart” last Wednesday (Nov. 11) and dodged questions from a frustrated Karen Davila, who looked and sounded at that moment like a fed-up professor whose student clearly did not study for the oral exam.
Moreno’s “Haaa…?” “Teka muna [wait a moment],” and “Kailangan ba’ng sagutin iyan? [Does that need to be answered]?” showed how out of her depth she is for the role she wants to play.
When quizzed about her qualifications, she answered that, among them, she was “First Lady” of Parañaque City for nine years, having been married to a former mayor. Asked about her advocacies, she answered “Women.” What about women, Davila asked patiently, and tried to help Moreno out by asking her guide questions. “Magna Carta for women,” Moreno finally replied. “But that law already exists,” said a weary-looking Davila.
The clincher was Davila’s question about Moreno’s stand on the reproductive health law. Moreno was hedging; not wanting to appear for or against, not wanting to offend the Church and conservatives on one hand, and the rest of the populace on the other, she let out a forced “Oo naman.” What exactly about it, asked Davila. “Pills!” said Moreno brightly. Her other contraceptive advice? “Kailangang laging bukas ang ilaw [the lights should always be on]!”
Oh, she was joking—but this was not a comedy show, she was a train wreck without a script, and her ad-libs were shallow and without substance. The 23 minutes of the interview were painful to watch, and cringe-worthy. It was ‘do you want fries with that’ on a stick.
Davila tried to mask her exasperation with an interviewee who was not only unprepared but also did not possess even stock knowledge about the most common issues, much less issues that she purports to support.
Moreno herself knew that her lack of knowledge would tell against her, saying that she opposed “discrimination” against women, giving as an example, “‘‘Pag sinabihan ka na bobo ka… minamaliit ka…tulad sa akin! Discrimination iyon! [When you are told you’re stupid… when you’re put down…like me! That’s discrimination!]”
The negative reaction, however, was not against Moreno as a woman, nor as an individual, nor even as a city councilor. It was against Moreno as a candidate for one of the highest offices of the land, after she showed her glaring lack of qualifications and even the most fundamental knowledge of what matters most in the country today.
It is not discriminating against her to point this out, because it is part of the job of a senator—everyone in public office, in fact, including city councilors—to be aware of issues and have a good grasp of facts, in order to properly perform their duties and discharge their responsibilities.
Karen Davila did the public a service by airing that interview. It showed the need to be more discerning about candidates, to insist they have a platform, and to demand that they have the intellectual capacity to comprehend and retain facts, laws, opinions, possible scenarios, courses of action, and the other myriad kinds of information about issues necessary to make decisions that will affect more than 100 million Filipinos.
We need more than well-meaning people; we need people who know what they are talking about and what they are doing.
We deserve all that, and more.
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Senshi Labs, a game development company run by Bea MV Lapa, PhD, is seeking votes on Steam for Mathoria: It All Adds Up, a math role-playing game for ages 10 and below.
It began as a capstone project of students from the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, who wanted to make learning math fun for elementary-school children. The game has three difficulty levels to choose from, and players learn and develop new math skills as they progress.
The team needs votes at Steam Greenlight (http://tinyurl.com/qynulpr) in order for the game to be released and distributed to a wider audience who can benefit from Mathoria’s educational aspect.
Facebook: Jenny Ortuoste, Twitter: @jennyortuoste, Instagram: @jensdecember, Blog: http://jennyo.net