ONE cannot help but be amused by the kind of double-standard that has operated against the incoming government and President-elect.
There’s how certain newspapers and media outfits will use the bad photos of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, with face contorted in disgust or anger—exactly what they did to VP Jojo Binay for a full-year before the elections. There’s the Manila news reporters trying and failing to pretend that they do not feel bad that the President-elect has stopped holding long news conferences, the ones that were exasperating, confusing, offensive, disgusting, but always highly entertaining because of their being surprisingly different, and which meant news stories to last for days.
I am amused enough to keep from quickly joining the fray and shooting from the hip, more aware now of how everything the media covers is a choice that they make, and much of what we are fed comes from a very specific angle, perspective, spin. It’s a good exercise in trying not to be blindly complicit in dominant discourses; it’s a good exercise in thinking before sharing or retweeting anything at all.
Following the rules
But I will not get tired of calling out the Commission on Elections for its foibles—and there have been many. Before, during, and after the elections, the Comelec has gotten embroiled in a gamut of issues: from the leak of voters’ data to its insistence on Comelec Resolution No. 10083’s restrictions on pre-proclamation protests; from all the reported irregularities on social and mainstream media to its decision that none of these matter unless official complaints are filed; from pooh-poohing the change in the hashcode to creating the conditions for us to question the count amid its own declarations of clean and credible elections.
Certainly the Comelec didn’t need another feather on its cap. But this is exactly what it earned when it decided to extend the deadline on the submission of the Statement of Contributions and Expenses (SOCE) of candidates and their parties for the 2016 elections. Losing candidates are required to pay a fee for missing the deadline; winning candidates will not be allowed to take office. The latter is also the consequence when a winning candidates’ party fails to submit the SOCE on time.
In its own rules, Comelec says that the SOCE deadline is final and not extendable.
We are told that the decision of the Comelec en banc to extend the deadline does not only benefit the Liberal Party, but also the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino and the Aksyon Demokratiko. This begs the question: Among these three parties, how many actually have winning candidates? And certainly only one has seven senatorial winners and one vice president?
Certainly, the Liberal Party could’ve respected the electoral process and its public, and just followed the rules. And certainly, when you have seven senators and a VP-elect who have fallen silent on this blatant disregard of the rules, and an even more blatant display of favoritism from Comelec, what they say about the law and abiding by it can only be put into question?
Ah, but we never question the angel that is the VP-elect.
On social and mainstream media, VP-elect Leni Robredo is always the one who is inaapi, who is kawawa naman. That is how her silence is spun.
To be fair with the VP-elect’s team, they seem to be adjusting to their role in this incoming government, constantly being put in their place as they are. We argue the reasons are questionable as it includes personal relationships and political alliances. But isn’t this how the Liberal Party operated the past six years—on friendship and alliances?
Why would the VP-elect deserve any better, when her own party has treated political enemies in exactly this same way, and in many instances one would hear, has treated them worse?
So all this noise about how the VP-elect is inaapi by the President-elect is just Pinoy social/media being all madrama. The VP herself does not seem to care—and she shouldn’t because her office has its own budget, and she’s got her own thing going regardless of who is her President.
But, oh, how her followers are messing up big-time—and when I say this I mean those who have taken offense at the decision of President-elect Duterte to refuse the ritual of having an oath-taking in Luneta as is the custom, and to refuse to have it with the VP-elect. The rationale based on the official press release is simple: a smaller group of 500 friends and family is all that the President-elect wants for his inauguration—it is unfair to demand a small number of guests for the incoming VP, who deserves her own freedom to invite who she must.
I tend to think it is a refusal to mix the Liberal Party that the VP-elect ran under, and the PDP-Laban and independents who supported Duterte.
Others see this as an affront to ritual, and to notions of unity. I see it as a refusal at pretense. It is like saying the political divide is real: deal with it.
The problem really is that we don’t know how to deal with this political divide, and the more vocal and high-profile members of the VP-elect’s fans club are having the hardest time at dealing. Which is ironic considering that they themselves banked on this divide during the campaign, declaring a class war via binaries: decent vs bastos, democratic vs communist, marangal vs dishonorable.
Now some of them have agreed that the President-elect’s simplified version of the inauguration, with 500 guests to be served buko juice and maruya at Malacañang’s Rizal Hall, is a “small and cheap inaugural in the safety of Malacañang.”
With elitism like this, it’s like Daang Matuwid never ends.
Meanwhile, the VP-elect should ask herself: with followers like these, who needs enemies?