THERE is nothing like the 2016 elections to get our politicians excited. One can only imagine what goes through their heads: every action is equal to mileage, every word they utter is spin.
At a time like this, no one can tell the truth from the false, and history teaches us that a year to presidential elections, we must take everything with a grain of salt, go back to words already said, commitments already made, promises unfulfilled.
But also what we might need is a sense of humor. After all, the display of political chaos via double-speak is at its grandest as the elections draw near, and it is here that we prove how in this country fact is sometimes more exciting than fiction.
The wealthy candidate
Senator Sonny Trillanes, he of the failed Oakwood Mutiny, has been focused on one cause: making sure Vice President Jejomar Binay is ruined.
He seems happy enough with his job so far. On May 10, the good Senator declared: “Naniniwala ako na di na tatakbo si Vice President Binay. Aatras na siya ngayong nararamdaman niyang gumuguho na ang mundo niya.” (GMA Network via DZBB)
One wonders if Senator Trillanes realizes that he’s sounding more and more like a super villain, who believes that his worst enemy can be defeated by making the latter’s world fall apart. It’s a belief that everyone’s got a kryptonite; and as far as he’s concerned the VP’s kryptonite is his wealth.
But the effort Senators Trillanes, Alan Peter Cayetano and Coco Pimentel have taken to try and defeat the VP through Senate Hearings and media mileage has also inadvertently painted the latter as hero. Because the VP rarely speaks, and when he does, he uses an even tone, a calmness, which can only appeal to the masses, especially the ones who have been gathering for his non-campaign sorties.
As they try to unseat the Vice President, they are also creating the darkest horse there might be for President. Take this further by putting him in jail, and he will win as underdog. All puns intended!
The strong candidate
Compared to VP Binay, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas has it easy.
He’s got a media personality for a wife, she who shamelessly defends him against criticism – kesehodang taga-CNN ka! – and has been campaigning by promising to put slippers on all Filipino children’s feet. And like a dutiful wife, she believes her husband is the best candidate for us all. (Manila Times, May 8)
Having shown his humility by agreeing to run as VP to Noynoy Aquino’s 2010 bid for the Presidency, Roxas is now collecting utang na loob from the Liberal Party. That already puts him steps ahead of anyone else – including Grace Poe who has successfully flipflopped about running for the Presidency like every other … trapo.
In fact, Poe sounds even more trapo than Roxas at this point. He who could’ve taken a stand against the President with regards the Mamasapano Operation that killed 44 police officers, but instead just declared his sympathies more sincerely than the President. Resigning from his Cabinet post at that point would’ve gained Roxas many pogi points, but he doesn’t seem to think he needs it.
Because he thinks that conversations about him are a good thing, never mind that what we are talking about is how he failed nation – and lost the 2016 Presidency – during Typhoon Haiyan rescue and relief operations.
Roxas is optimistic though: “Natutuwa nga ako na napakarami ang interesado sa anong ikikilos ni Mar at siguro ibig sabihin ako talaga ang pinakamatibay na kandidato dahil lahat sila ay komentaryo tungkol sa akin o sa gawain ko.” (Inquirer.net, May 21)
Sige, Ser. Hindi ko babasagin ang trip mo.
Those from left field
But the party on this political yard would be incomplete without the rest of the boys!
Say, jailed Senator Bong Revilla who is “keeping his options open” because his “conscience is clean.” The man known as Alias Pogi asks: “Meron bang nagbabawal na tumakbo ang isang nakakulong? Wala namang batas na nagbabawal, ‘di ba? Hindi pa naman tayo convicted.” (GMA Network.com, May 21)
True. And as with jailing the VP, one wouldn’t be surprised if Senator Revilla wins precisely because he is in detention. After all, he’s got the inheritance of the fantasies of Agimat and Panday to see him through.
But then again, what does he have versus Tito Escalera? He who plays his cards well and is on nationwide television from Monday to Saturday, making people laugh, even as he is Senator. On Friday, I watched Senator Tito Sotto promising a manang a fancy new sewing machine, so she can grow her business. The old lady thanked him profusely and promised to vote for him.
Ah, but the classic macho Pinoy is also out in the yard. Asiong Salonga is here to save democracy.
Former President now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has declared that he “will be forced to run to keep democracy working in our country. There will be no more democracy if there will be no opposition.” That is of course only if VP Binay folds to what Erap calls “political harassment” against him.
It would do the VP well to give the President Mayor a call. Erap is already thinking slogans: “I will always be an opposition. I’ve heard that it is a Roxas-Poe. But the best is Erap-Poe. Our slogan will be Erap lang Poe.” (Philippine Star, May 21)
Natawa ako do’n, Ser. Salamat powz.