Official campaign season has revealed what many candidates look like, sound like, are like, with their game faces on. And contrary to what their spin doctors, PR machinery, speech writers want us to imagine, we can see right through it.
Of course our class biases are interwoven into how we criticize or praise our candidates, and I’ve stopped myself countless times in mid-judgment, realizing that how we value one thing over the other is not only born of this class, but also of how media and the bandwagon has conditioned us into believing one thing to be more important than another. Every time we say that corruption is our deal breaker, instead of incompetence for example; or when we say the lack of experience is our deal breaker, instead of human rights violations. Such is the curse of choosing among evils.
This week, though, the discourse has been at its lowest, though one realizes this is because I am not the audience for this kind of rhetoric, and there must be a voter (or thousands!) for whom this rhetoric will work.
It puts into context the hilarity doesn’t it?
The son of Macoy
Bongbong Marcos defends his father’s Martial Law and all that it was: abusive and violent, repressive and oppressive, and everything in between.
Not surprisingly, he repeats what is on exhibit at the Malacañang of the North in Paoay Ilocos Norte, where one can walk through installations and photographs, scale models even, of all the good things Ferdinand and Imelda did for nation during Martial Law: they built roads, improved agriculture (complete with a photo of Macoy planting rice), brought in PX goods; Imelda championed Philippine art and fashion design, established our cultural institutions, etc.
That Marcos defends his father’s “work” is expected. That he would say that historians will tell the truth about Martial Law (ANC, 9:00PM, 18 Feb), like our historians have yet to do so, like what we know about Martial Law is nothing but un-truths, lacks the sophistication one would expect of a Marcos.
Because even a quick online search, or a quick trip to the library, will reveal a very very long list of books on Martial Law written by historians, here and abroad. Because history has already judged Martial Law, and it has judged it to be everything that we know it to be: violent and abusive, oppressive and repressive.
Apparently Marcos has only been reading his family’s story of Martial Law and following a script that we’ve heard Imelda use before.
Send Marcos history books quick! Before he starts espousing the true, the good, and the beautiful complete with an imeldific flourish.
The daughter of Da King
Hearing Grace Poe speak at her proclamation rally on February 9, I could not believe how her rhetoric had changed. Gone is the drama about continuing what her father did for nation – because after all what did her father do for nation? But what do you fall back on when you do not even have a full-term as Senator, and all you passed in three years was a teeny tiny law that is a feeding program for public school students?
You fall back on all that your father said – not in real life, but in film. Because lest we forget, The King of Philippine Movies is a showbiz creation, his entry into politics a media (and Erap!) creation.
And so Poe has shifted her rhetoric, and now makes the statement true: the daughter of Da King … is now an artista. She’s acting it out: her credibility, her confidence, her competence. She can be president, because she sounds it. Like a true action star she says she will protect
“<…> kayong pinanganak ng dukha at salat sa yaman, kayong may kapansanan o karamdaman, kayong nagbabanat ng buto pero di sapat ang kinikita, kayong mga bata na, tulad ko, ay walang kinagisnang nanay, kayong mga biktima ng krimen at diskriminasyon, kayong mga may mahal sa buhay na kinailangan mangimbang bansa tiisin ang init ng disyerto at lamig, kayong mga ginipit ng mga mapangabuso sa gobyerno.” (Proclamation Rally speech, 9 February)
But nothing says action star like Panday, so Poe throws in a line from the movie: “Sabi nga ng aking ama: huwag mong sabihin marami kang salapi. Huwag mo rin sabihin na marami kang tauhan. Pare pareho lang tayo.” (9 February)
Of course the problem is that those lines were not said by her father. Those were said by Panday, a fictional hero, whose words were written by the infamous Carlo Caparas.
A president whose proclamations about nation come from movie scripts? Whose sense of leadership comes from the fictional characters her father played in films?
The son of God
I’ve got friends and relatives who are practicing Catholics and various kinds of Christian. I know the limits of the things we might agree on, and I’m pretty sure that they pray for my sinful soul – something I am thankful for. I have never heard any of them speak against LGBTs and their rights; and often I am surprised at how liberal they are, how critical they can be of themselves, how much thought goes into their reading of the Bible.
This is obviously not the same kind of Christian that Manny Pacquiao is, and it has everything to do with his social class. Because no, I do not think of him as a fanatic; I do think of him as someone who was repeating what was taught him about homosexuality, and what was told him about the Bible.
And while I don’t think we should let this bigotry pass, I do think celebrating Nike is going overboard. It also reveals a tolerance for human rights abuses such as the oppression of workers. But of course Pinoy social media won’t admit to this double-standard, forgetting that gender rights are human rights, and the abuse of workers cuts across gender and sexuality.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao’s recovering quickly enough: his camp shrugs off the loss of the Nike relationship – he was not being paid for wearing Nike. All his product endorsements are intact, and he is already negotiating with other brands. Besides, the money from Pacquiao’s endorsements just go to the needs of his constituents in Sarangani – it’s this money that he used to build thousands of houses, and to feed thousands of families. (DZMM, 4:30PM, 19 Feb)
It might be the money he used to feed the members of the LGBT community of Sarangani that he invited for dinner at the height of this controversy.
Yes, nagpakain siya ng mga LGBT sa bahay niya.
Talbog tayong lahat.