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How a Nazi Ghost Came to Haunt the Philippine Presidential Debate

Philippine presidential candidates appearing in a televised debate. Vice President Jejomar Binay (extreme left) accused administration candidate Mar Roxas (extreme right) of behaving like 'Goebbels.'

Philippine presidential candidates appearing in a televised debate. Vice President Jejomar Binay (extreme left) accused administration candidate Mar Roxas (extreme right) of behaving like ‘Goebbels.’ Source: YouTube

Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels became a trending topic in the Philippines during the second official presidential debates, soon after candidate Vice President Jejomar Binay compared a fellow candidate to Goebbels.

The ruling party’s candidate, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, brought up the vice president’s corruption charges during the debate, prompting Binay to call Roxas a “Goebbels” for calling him corrupt. “Only the court can decide whether I am guilty or not, not your accusations, Roxas, I mean, Goebbels, sorry,” said Binay.

The quote — “if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it” — is often wrongly attributed to Goebbels.

Binay also called Senator Grace Poe, presidential race frontrunner and independent candidate, a chum of Goebbels for alluding to money laundering operations alleged to be connected to the vice president's law firm.

Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-1989-0821-502,_Joseph_Goebbels

Joseph Goebbels. Photo from German Federal Archive. Source: Wikipedia

When Goebbels was mentioned in the televised debate, Filipino Internet users actively searched his name and biography. Journalists and news websites also published brief stories about the Nazi propaganda minister. Some were amused by Binay's knowledge of history but others also accused the vice president of acting like Goebbels.

Here are some reactions on Twitter on the bringing up of the name of Goebbels during the presidential debates:

Not defending Mar here, but if Mar is a Goebbels, who is Binay?

The tweet above mentions Noynoy Aquino, the incumbent and outgoing president of the Philippines.

Many netizens, however, lament the lack of any meaningful discourse during the debates, with the presidential candidates preferring to mouth motherhood statements and engage in mudslinging instead of substantially addressing issues.

The tweet above mentions UP which refers to the state-funded University of the Philippines.

Voting in the national elections is scheduled on May 9, 2016.

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