Katrina Stuart Santiago

Katrina Stuart Santiago

It is hilarious how we eat up this whole drama of our politicians and the elite doing it like every Juan and Juana—like normal, regular people.

You know, Kris Aquino taking the MRT, the President falling in line for his drivers’ license renewal. And I do say drama because what it does become is a show of being “one with the people,” of knowing how the people live.


All drama
In truth, whatever the reasons for these instances of “normalcy,” what it becomes is a show.

Oh look! look at the President’s sister riding the MRT! Smiling widely as she has her photos taken while riding! The train is tightly packed with people, but there is space to take a photo for Instagram!

This was really my first reaction to those photos of Kris taking the MRT: how many were they in her entourage? How many had to sacrifice their space on the train because Kris was on there? Because she can’t have been alone—that would have been a security risk. Those photos were not selfies either.

Too there is this: what is gained by having the Presidential sister ride the train? Does it tell people: hey look! Kris is riding the train and you should, too! Or does it scream at us: if Kris can be a happy train passenger, then you should be, too!

But there is nothing happy about taking the MRT, and only someone like Kris can flash a smile like that and think it an adventure. She should do it for a month and see how she can still smile on Day 3. She should ride public transportation as a way of life, every day, to get everywhere, and then we can talk about smiling through that difficulty. She should go give the LRT 1 a try: smile while riding that, without your security, without your entourage. Let’s layer it with rain, during rush hour.

And this is the thing: since Kris did it, there has been this clamor for more politicians to take the train—the better for them (apparently) to understand what 80% of commuters go through every day. Now there’s a call for the President himself to get on the train, as he pushes for the MRT-LRT fare hike.

That is hilarious. Because having politicians take the train once, twice a month will not give them a sense of what it’s like to be commuter. It won’t give them a sense of choicelessness: ride the train or spend too much money on a cab. Ride the bus, or you won’t get from Point A to Point B. That is at the heart of the commuters’ travails: she has no choice but to get on that train, no matter how tight it is. She will get on that bus no matter how unsafe it is.

It is the job of our government officials to make those buses safe, make those trains more humane. They don’t need to get on that train to do their jobs well.

Because too they might only really echo Kris’s only takeaway from having ridden the MRT: what a memorable experience!

An hour wasted
Now it’s one thing to have Kris getting on that train to get to where she needed to go, because EDSA was apparently a parking lot that evening. It’s another thing to have the President falling in line to get his drivers’ license renewed, spending an hour at the Land Transportation Office. Because what I did wonder about was: what else could The President have done in that hour?

He could’ve been in Tarlac, so he might see Hacienda Luisita for himself, and what it is exactly the Cojuangcos have been doing there, bulldozing farmers’ lands – productive farmlands, mind you. He could, himself, insist that those bulldozers leave, and that the military stop with inciting fear. He could, himself, declare that this process of uprooting farmers from their lands be stopped altogether – and he need not do that as a Cojuangco, but as President.

He could’ve been in Pampanga, so he might see Hacienda Dolores for himself, look at what an impending Ayala development has done to a farmer community that has lived off that land since forever, and who have cared for it the way no development will. He could spend some time talking to farmers, so he might find out that the Department of Agrarian Reform unilaterally decided to award this land to two private land development corporations, that have since started working with Ayala.

This is the point: the President could’ve been doing a bazillion other things in that hour that he spent getting his drivers’ license. I did not need to see him falling in line and going through the process—I expect that my president and all important government officials have better things to do with their time. I would rather give my president the privilege of not having to fall in line for his government papers, if it means that he is working on nation instead. I would give it to any government official really.

Because those images of normalcy are nothing but images. To think these to be anything more is to also give these politicians some free campaign photos. In which case it’s clear we won’t have the last laugh.


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  1. Lady , I don’t get you at all, are you for real….. hilarious in where? They want to experience the every day life of Juan (John) and Juana (Jane) day. At least they tried, even the big shot in the states does that and nobody gives a hoot about it. In other words, “Damn of you do and Damn if you don’t.” Comments on the goodness of the people and don’t let bad things come out of your mouth. What goes around-comes around. I know you are a good person and I pray for all the people in the world to continue for being good while helping the poor and for more blessing for them to come. The people who lost they way for God to guide them in the right direction and soften their heart- to forgive them and bless them too. To the poor people we continue to pray for the goodness of your heart and ask God for blessing we receive everyday. We don’t lose hope at all.

    • Sir…i believe what she says is right. This publicity loving…credit stealing president is just just that. A PR driven ” leader ” who has done nothing for this country in his almost 4 yr govrnment. She just want as all of us do that this idiot look after the welfare of our people. Not favoring big businesses who can fund his no good political party.

  2. Leave our boy Noynoy alone Katrina, he is doing a good job….way way much better than our girl lil’ (spanish speaking) Gloria accomplished in six years…….. who by the way would not be in this situation had she not reneged on her commitment to the coalition of the willing in Iraq.
    But,as soon as cha cha is done, lil’ spanish speaking girl will be release

    How about a President Jojo come 2016….. sounds good?
    He is our boy as well Katrina……………………….BIG TIME!.

    Mar Roxas?
    Well, with his “papetok petok style , he might end up our pinoy John Mc.Cain come your 2016 election. A likeable though… with that “silver spoon” upbringing he has no qualms hanging around talipapas and chauffering clueless “masa senatongs”! He should be the one to be seen riding public transportation, dining at “turo turo” food stores, spending sometime sitting by the shore enjoying that beautiful manila and maguindanao sunset with Korina of course etc, it might sink-in the clueless masa psyche and will help in his chance on 2016. Roxas who has the native look as Binay, doing these is not …………………….hilarious.

    Have a good day, Katrina

    Global Puppetmasters

    • Pnoy doing a good job. Wow unbelievable. Pnoy is just reaping the reforms initiated by Arroyo. Standing in line is just his way of becoming popular but obviously lacking in ideas that will take this country forward. Gloria does, that’s why she is unpopular.As for Jojo Binay, one self righteous to another.

  3. Sa dami ng propagandang ginagawa ng magkapatid na Noynoy at Kris, ito ay hindi na pagsisilbi sa bayan. Ito ay “selfishness” na, dahil ang gusto nila ay makakuha ng “recognition” para sa kanilang sarili lamang.

  4. canuto dinglasan on

    You’re right, it’s all a show. All form and no substance. This is what the Aquino administration is all about: a show biz Presidency, an extension of Kris Aquino’s life and times, pretty on the outside but STD-infected inside.

  5. I applaud you for your insight into these PR actions of this president and his family. These are stunts that do not help the plight of the people. They are made to make people forget how their lives have not improved since this “Daang Matuwid” administration took over. Unfortunately, a big portion of our countrymen still eat up this stunts and give the president and his family goodwill for doing this. This just gives the people in Malacanang more incentive to continue with their incompetent ways.