“THAT’S Entertainment” was a noon time, song-and-dance TV show. But its contemporary usage, at least for men of a certain age, is to denote anything and everything that is between showbiz gigs and circus-like acts. Entertainment that we need (then and now) to provide brief relief to the dullness and wretchedness of our ordinary lives. Entertainment that is derived mainly from TV and the movies and the cognates, such as our underwhelming pro hoop league.
Now, in this sad contemporary setting, our presidential campaigns are now part of “That’s Entertainment.” Across all ages, the sudden inclusion of politics in the grand banner of entertainment is a shared sentiment. Take the case of the current preparations for the 2016 presidential campaign, specifically the mass entertainment provided by the Digong-Mar kerfuffle.
Mar Roxas, the presidential candidate of the ruling Liberal Party started it with a question. If Davao City Mayor Duterte really made his city a haven for peace and a scourge of criminals and the criminal-minded, why is the crime rate grim and uninspiring. Why is it, based on actual data, a Wild Wild West of Mindanao?
In short, Roxas ‘s pointed question essentially demolished Duterte’s main campaign planks, tough on crime and law and order. Duterte’s claims were all hype, Roxas intoned, intended, just like in entertainment, to divert our attention from his major failings as a long-time and unchallenged Davao City mayor.
To that spite, Digong Duterte rushed a counter-spite. He raised an issue related to the academic record of Roxas – that Roxas did not, as claimed, graduate from Penn’s Wharton School of Business. If that were true, the claim of the Roxas camp that the LP candidate is the best one prepared for the presidency – his Wharton training included – would collapse. Polling at number four, a question mark on Roxas’ academic training would further sink him in the polls and take him to sure oblivion.
First, the agreed-upon dispute settlement was the slapping of the liar.
Second round, Roxas changed his mind, arguing that slapping was too effete, then said that the boxing ring would be a better locate for the settlement of the dispute.
Duterte, to reassert his questioned manhood, said a boxing would not settle anything. He wants the real thing, a duel to the death, probably at high noon. I am sure this would be part of the conditions: coverage by live TV,
Not one of the three would take place. The only legal thing is the second choice, the boxing challenge issued by Roxas. But that was not even an original proposition. It was first used by one of the more charismatic young leaders today – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada – who fought three rounds of boxing with a Conservative MP in 2012 , during his salad days at the Liberal Party.
Patrick Brazeau, the Conservative MP, was a former military officer and karate black belter and was expected to beat the young Trudeau to a pulp. Instead it was the tough MP called Brass Knuckles who was bloodied and later wilted from a barrage of solid punches landed by the young Trudeau. The proceeds of the boxing match went to charity. Months later, Trudeau assumed leadership of the LP. His LP crushed the Conservatives in a recent parliamentary election and he is now Canada’s PM.
Roxas, I am 100 percent sure of this, knows the path of the young Trudeau to power and the path to power of Canada’s Liberal Party. He wants to bloody Brass Knuckles Digong in a boxing match, earn the respect of the Digong fans, onto the presidency.
As I said, nothing of this sort would take place, of course. It is all politics, operating under the general theme of That’s Entertainment. Digong wanted out of the word war.
Question, and I will frame it in a language most understandable. Why would the Wharton-trained Mar make patol to the bruising Digong Duterte? Out of sheer frustration is the answer.
Mar is deeply frustrated by so many unexplained things in his presidential quest. He has promised to build over and beyond what Mr. Aquino’s “daang matuwid” has claimed to have built. He promises robust economic growth, a lofty standing for the Philippines in the international community, more respect from the Davos crowd, more alleluias from the financial press, more accolades from the Makati Business Club.
He has been enthusiastically endorsed by Mr. Aquino and the pillars of the Philippine business establishment.
Yet, despite all of these promises and his impressive CV, he lags in the polls, which is led by Digong Duterte. Mr. Duterte’s main promise is to build more funeral parlors, which he claimed are needed to accommodate the criminals who would be exterminated under his administration.
Like Donald Trump, he sees political correctness and civil language as impediments to his presidential quest and he openly speaks of the criminals he has killed and makes light of his womanizing. Digong Duterte arouses the base passions and entertains at the same time.
Surveying the hole he was in, Mr. Roxas probably said “Ok, why not do a Digong?” Talk tough and entertain. He also feels that he can pull off what Justin Trudeau pulled off in March of 2012, punch Digong into irrelevance. Just a few rounds, then a road to victory.