One thing that I noticed during the 2010 elections was the apparent popularity of Presidential Debates and the rather dismal, disconcerting response of the average Filipino voter to the product of these debates.
Debates, at least in the Bizarro World that is the Philippines, don't amount to a Presidential candidate winning in the elections.
The thing is, I think one or two Presidential candidates did win the debate but in the end failed to gather votes.
Debates, I think, would win votes in a country that places a higher value on reason and logic than emotionally driven decisions.
I think, on one hand, most Filipinos have a wrong notion of what a real debate is and what a debate's function is in a democracy.
Having been conditioned by the Philippine Boob Tube, most people's idea of a debate is basically two or more people engaged in a barahan match. What happens, most of the times, is just a little more than a verbal tussle and a superficial attempt at a resolution.
In any case, a debate is in one way, a means of testing out an idea or a bunch of ideas.
One valuable thing that people can take away from a debate is the resolution and perhaps, if done with an intent of building a superior position from the combination or synthesis of two or more contrasting ideas, a consensus among all those involved in the debate could be reached.
Now, I'm of the belief that no idea is so superior that it will not have a flaw or limitation to it and it is in the admission of those flaws or limitations that one can create a space for modifying a position.
For me, I think, debates are worthless if they do not produce a basis for implementable action and in a way, compel people to act.
Now, the thing is, you can actually win a debate but lose supporters and allies. Sometimes a debate is declared for no other reason than to come up with an ostentatious display of "intellectual brilliance".