There has been so much preoccupation among the media about the candidates for the presidency and President Aquino’s endorsement. In fact, the people are being bombarded by inordinate amounts of news or rather speculations being packaged as news about who is running and who would most likely get the endorsement of President Aquino. It’s as if the media conglomerates have a stake on who would run and win the presidency.
A popular daily broadsheet even had as its banner headline that Sen. Grace Poe would be running for president in the 2016 elections. In a less prominently placed article, it reported that Sen. Poe is still undecided. So it appears that the daily merely quoted a politician when it claimed that Sen. Poe is definitely running for the presidency and yet placed the statement from Sen. Poe herself not at the headline but in another article. So what does one make of that?
Also, articles about the meetings between President Aquino and Sen. Poe are bombarding followers of what is being categorized as news. If one reads through the article, the conclusion is always that President Aquino has still to make up his mind and that no definitive agreement has been reached. Then there are articles about one senator or government official hinting that President Aquino might endorse Sen. Poe and another saying that the endorsement would definitely go Local Government Sec. Mar Roxas’s way.
Well, the article about Sen. Serge Osmeña’s assertion that the endorsement of a president does not and did not anyway affect how the people would vote should already stop all these speculations, packaged as news, about who President Aquino would endorse. Sen. Osmeña compared the ratings of Fidel V. Ramos before and after he was endorsed by the late president Cory Aquino and arrived at the conclusion that the former, even if he won the presidency – which was hotly contested by now Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago who even filed an electoral protest – still got the same votes that were indicated in his ratings before the endorsement. More glaring examples are the endorsement of President Ramos on then House Speaker Jose de Venecia, and the endorsement of Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on former defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro.
One thing Sen. Osmeña failed to explain is the why. He merely attributed it to the general behavior of Filipino voters, citing also the tendency for split votes for the presidency and the vice presidency. Well, actually the reason is more likely that the people’s conditions have always worsened after each presidential term. During the Cory Aquino administration, government infrastructures and services had deteriorated, power outages occurred with regularity and prices spiked, even the price of the poor man’s fish galunggong – which she used as example during her campaign against Marcos – went up to a point that the poor could no longer afford it. Near the end of the Ramos administration, the Southeast Asian financial crisis struck in 1997, which burst the bubble of economic progress that Ramos projected; and the staggering unemployment and underemployment rates and the crisis of governance affected the Filipino people during the Arroyo administration.
So instead of reporting all these speculations and devoting too much space on every Tom, Dick and Harry who would declare his or her intention to run for president, why can’t the media report more about the issues confronting the Filipino people such as poverty and hunger, unemployment and underemployment, landlessness, the mismanagement of the MRT/LRT and the traffic, floods, impunity, environmental degradation, among others, and what the government has been and has not been doing about it and the other probable solutions being ignored by it. These are the real issues of public interest. These are the realities that media should be reporting.