Pagsubok ng mga Kandidato (Photo: GMA NewsTV)
ATTY. MARWIL N. LLASOS APPEARS IN “PAGSUBOK NG MGA KANDIDATO” OF GMA NEWS TV
Aired on February 23, 2013
Studio 7, GMA Network Center
EDSA cor. Timog Avenue, Quezon City
Hosts and panelists of Pagsubok ng mga Kandidato (Photo: GMA NewsTV)
Since I became a candidate for Senator of the Republic of the Philippines, I became a celebrity overnight – well, sort of. I experienced interminable TV guestings and appearances. I received invitation left and right because I wanted our people to know that I am running for Senator and I want them to know about my advocacy. I welcome every possible opportunity to appear on TV because that would boost my awareness rating and at the same time allow the people to scrutinize me and my stand on various issues. Speaking my mind on various issues is my contribution to political education in our country, especially in this year’s elections.
One major invitation is from GMA News TV. The production assistants assigned by GMA news organization contacted the Secretary General of our party asking for my availability for the taping of “Pagsubok ng Mga Kandidato,” a public service program of GMA network for the May 13, 2013 midterm elections.
The second batch of candidates in Pagsubok ng mga Kandidato (Photo: GMA NewsTV)
The taping for Pagsubok was on January 25, 2013. I arrived at GMA Annex Building earlier than the call time at 10:00 in the morning. I was accompanied by Mr. Norman Cabrera, the Secretary General of Ang Kapatiran Party. As I stepped down from the car, TV cameras took some footage of me. Ms. Sugar Salvador, my assigned production assistant welcomed me at the lobby. I entered GMA Annex Building with TV cameras in tow. As we were walking towards the holding area for the Senatorial candidates, I whispered to my PA, “This experience is new to me. I am not used to the glare of the media,” to which she replied, “Masanay ka na, Sir. Ito na ang mundo mo.” I smiled wryly.
I admired the cordiality and hospitality of GMA staff. As soon as I reached the holding area, they offered me breakfast. I said I would just have coffee. As I was having coffee, Ms. Karol Anne Ilagan as well as other researchers from the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) approached me and asked permission to interview me. She said that she’d ask me five questions about campaign expenses. I obliged. The PCIJ researchers were visibly pleased with my rapid-fire answers. They wished me luck after the interview.
Photo op: The second batch of candidates pose for posterity
As soon as I finished my coffee, my production assistant told me that I was due for interview for Jessica Soho’s SONA. Before the interview, my PA ushered me to the dressing room for some make up. Thereafter, we went to the studio for the interview. The production crew was ready and as soon as I was seated, the klieg lights were on and the cameras rolled. I was asked fifteen questions which I gamely answered. The interviewer said, “Sorry, Sir. Naubusan na kami ng tanong.” I was just having a warm up.
From the SONA taping, I was brought to another studio for the photo shoot. The lady photographer requested me for several poses. I joked, “Ganito pala maging model,” to which she reparteed, “Bakit, mahirap ba, Sir?” She then showed me the pictures she took and I was very much pleased with my results. I thanked the photographer and left for another pictorial.
Mutli-awarded broadcast journalist Jessica Soho hosts Pagsubok ng mga Kandidato
We went to the rooftop of GMA Annex Building. While there, Gen. Ramon Montaño’s pictorial was still on-going. My PA asked me to stay for a while in the shady area of the rooftop. While I was waiting for my turn, Bam Aquino arrived, introduced himself to me and shook my hand. We had a short conversation, mostly about the Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Program. I was SSEAYP delegate in 1994 while Bam Aquino became Commissioner and Chairman of the National Youth Commission (the agency in charge of SSEAYP in the Philippines), later on.
I was called for my turn. I was asked to walk several yards on the rooftop while the cameras took some footage of me walking. Then I was asked to strike a “never mess up with me” pose while the cameras swirled around me. After the rooftop pictorial, I was ushered back to the holding area – this time for lunch. Fellow Kapatiran senatorial candidate Lito David joined me for lunch where we discussed several issues and our party’s stand on said issues. We were joined on our table by Bal Falcone of the Democratic Party of the Philippines and Prof. Samson Alcantara of the Social Justice Society.
Part of the live audience on Studio 7 of GMA Network Center
The other senatorial candidates arrived one by one – Gov. Tingting Cojuangco with her girly-girly skirt accompanied by burly close-in aids; stiff and unsmiling MTRCB Chair Grace Poe Llamanzares who was always surrounded by her staff; and Bro. Eddie Villanueva who greeted everyone, including me, with “more blessings.”
The others followed – Cong. JV Ejercito a consummate politician who approached and greeted everyone (I told him I was his mother’s speaker in the Marian cenacles held at their house in San Juan); Cong. Cynthia Villar who was apprehensive she might not catch her flight for Davao if the taping would last long; and of course Sen. Koko Pimentel who obviously made a research about all the senatorial candidates.
The set of Pagsubok ng mga Kandidato
Sen. Koko Pimentel approached me and asked, “What is an apologist,” to which I answered, “An apologist is one who defends the faith.” He followed up with, “What about a Mariologist?” I answered, “One who specializes in the theology of Mary.” And then I teased him, “Uy ha, well-researched ka,” to which he replied, “Actually, yung staff ko.” We found out that we were paired against each other for the first “Pagsubok.”
When Lito David told Koko Pimentel that Migs Zubiri said that he (Migs) was also cheated in the 2007 election, Koko showed mock dismay and said, “Ha? Sinabi niya ‘yun?” He followed it up by saying, “Kung sinabi niyang dinaya ko siya, bukas na bukas din idedemanda ko siya ng libel at alam kong mananalo ako sa kaso kasi si Atty. Llasos ang kukunin kong abogado!” We all laughed our hearts out.
Jessica Soho starts the Pagsubok ng mga Kandidato
At around 1:30 in the afternoon, the senatorial candidates were requested to proceed to Studio 7 for taping. We were told to take our assigned seats which were arranged alphabetically. After the director gave us a brief briefing on the flow of the Pagsubok, it was show time! Veteran broadcast journalist hosted the show, with Kara David as co-host, and Prof. Winnie Mosod, PCIJ’s Malou Mangahas and Howie Severino as panelists.
I admit that I was not nervous at all. I was confident all throughout the taping. I think the reason for that is I have attended the Pagsusuri convocations in UP Diliman and UPLB in which I did well. That gave me the much needed confidence and the “bring it on” attitude.
UP Lawyers: Atty. Marwil Llasos faces off with with Sen. Koko Pimentel
For my first Pagsubok, I faced off with Sen. Koko Pimentel. The question was about the lowering of the age of criminal responsibility. I knew as a children’s rights advocate that the minimum age for criminal responsibility is 15 years old, if the crime is committed with discernment. On the spot, I decided not to discuss what is already in the law but instead focused on whether children must be lumped in prison together with hardened criminals. I phrased the problem that way from the situationer and the rather vague question posed by the child in the VTR. Below is the Youtube video of my first Pagsubok:
Watch on Youtube: AKP Candidate for Senator Marwil N. Llasos faces off with Sen. Koko Pimentel
From my vantage point, I could see Bam Aquino nodding his head in agreement.
The second Pagsubok was the panel interview. Parenthically, I’d prefer to be asked questions on politics or economics rather than on divisive moral issues. But since Ang Kapatiran Party is known for its stance on the moral and social doctrines of the Church, I expected the questions to come from those areas. True enough, Mr. Howie Severino asked me if I agree with the proposition that pro-RH professors should not teach in Catholic schools.
Co-Host Kara David in front of the panelists
I was put on the spot because it is difficult for the question to be answered in thirty seconds. The issue actually necessitates balancing of interests – the academic freedom of the individual faculty member and the academic freedom of the institution. Since the question was about Catholic schools, I attacked it from the perspective of institutional academic freedom. Below is the Youtube video of my first Pagsubok:
Watch Atty. Marwil N. Llasos' second "Pagsubok" on Youtube
The follow-up question of Mr. Howie Severino was on my take on same-sex unions. I know that this issue is a sensitive one and I risk offending a sizeable sector of the voting population (some of which are my voters), but I stood my ground and stuck to the party stand and defended the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.
I consumed the time allotted for me to answer. I wanted to discuss the natural law but I didn’t have the time to do that. Time limits are indeed very cruel.
Kara David starts the second round of the Pagsubok
After the taping of the Pagsubok ng mga Kandidato, I shook hands with the other candidates and the live audience. Bam Aquino approached me and said, “Congratulations. Yours were the most impressive answers.” I went to Howie Severino to thank him for the questions and he told me in reply, “Thank you for your very good answers.” There were members of the live audience who came to me and said, “Ang galing-galing mo,” and requested for pictures taken with them. On the corridor, I bumped into Bro. Eddie Villanueva who patted me on the shoulder and said, “Very good, very good. Keep it up. Keep it up.” I told Bro. Eddie, “Thank you, Bro. Eddie. Pray for me.” Bro. Eddie replied, “Please pray for me, too.”
Howie Severino asks Atty. Marwil Llasos for his second Pagsubok
Atty. Marwil N. Llasos of Ang Kapatiran Party stands for the second round as fellow Senatorial candidates Christian Seneres and Lito David look on
(Photos courtesy of Mr. Christian Seneres)
For a review of my answer in my first “pagsubok” (face-off with Sen. Koko Pimentel, please see: