In 2016, Team Jailbirds will get more votes than PNoy’s anointed

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Bumped into a friend  (all of my friends are low-caste) a few days back. He was all red-faced and flustered. Malungkut ku, kilung  de ing idol ku. (I am sad. They jailed my idol.), he said in our dialect.  Of course, of course, are not we all, I said. It was a statement that I had to fake. He is an ordinary Joe but one  flowing with the milk of human kindness. And to his grief, you  had to show phony sympathy.

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That reaction to the jailing of Senator Bong Revilla may be a discordant note in the righteous symphony of the commentariat. But looking at the sentiments at ground level on the jailing of the pork barrel scam senators, the punditry and the outraged netizens will be in for a major jolt. The ordinary Joe reared on the agimat movies of Ramon Revilla Senior and Junior have their outrage the other way around—anger at the government over the jailing of Ramon Junior.

Anak nang teteng.

The online glee over the jailing of the pork barrel senators (Jinggoy soon joined his ka kosa) is not at all the sentiment of ordinary citizens not in the cyber loop. Worse is the growing consensus at low-caste land that the Aquino administration has been engaged in selective prosecution: jailing the political foes and coddling the allies.

What has happened to the President’s interminable hectoring on “tuwid na daan?” By this time (four full years of endless lectures about following the righteous path), one would  expect some a seismic shift on how the ordinary citizens view politicians accused of the high crime of plunder. You would expect outrage, the public pressure to jail the scammers pronto, the overwhelming support to clean Congress of its Aegean stables.

Yet, at the communities that can neither blog nor tweet, we see the same idolatry toward these tainted demi-gods: Bong, Jinggoy et al. There is a silent, barely-expressed sympathy for the alleged cohorts of Napoles. It may not translate into a mass action to free their senator-idols.  Sadness does not translate into action. The ordinary Joe is too cowardly to do that.

But in the election of 2016, with the presidency at stake, discerning Filipinos have to fear this scenario:  Bong, the presidential candidate, and Jinggoy, the vice presidential candidate, getting more votes than the anointed of Mr. Aquino.

They may not win enough votes to snag the presidency but they will definitely get more votes than the team to be endorsed by the incumbent president.

And—take note—this will be the lasting image that would haunt Mr. Aquino while he counts the days of the transition to the next president. His team being outvoted at the polls by two prospective lifetime felons.

Legacy to the nation?  There will be no talk of that. The next president, impressed by the good showing of the Bong-Jinggoy team at the polls, would probably move to pardon the two.
What has happened to Mr. Aquino’s morality crusade? What has it failed to gain resonance and traction? Why was the historic jailing of senators unappreciated at the level of the masses?  Is it a case of ordinary Filipinos being stubbornly star-struck ?
Or, it is something else, something more fundamental?

The sympathy for the jailbirds is rooted on two things.  First is the lack of appreciation by ordinary Filipinos of the sterling growth figures and reform initiatives of the Aquino administration.  They can’t feel it, it has not changed their lives and it is too intangible.

The food on the table has been the same. The availability of opportunities for their kids has not moved a bit. There is no reason to expect a better life ahead. Why would they take the side of the President against the reel idols?

The second is there is no sizable center that would uphold and champion a society with rock-solid civic virtues, a solid middle class that would support a vigorous anti-corruption drive.  The center that would have been a natural ally of President Aquino is in the various Pinoy diasporas overseas. It is an absent center.  More, the OFWs, the de facto center, basically have unformed views on the civic role played by an emergent middle class.

Who benefited from the economic miracle? Why can’t the  majority of  Filipinos identify with amazing growth rates so lavishly praised by the  WEF/ Davos crowd?

As usual, it is the plutocrats. They have, in a breathtaking manner, taken advantage of government-initiated  infrastructure contracts, state-owned urban lands and other crown jewels of the patrimony auctioned-off to them  for development,  government regulations tailored fit for the plunder of natural resources. And relaxed labor rules that allowed them to pay service sector workers slave wages.

The rising tide ushered in by the Aquino government lifted the yachts—and sank the rickety boats. So it is no wonder that the Davos crown applauds, while the rest of the Philippine society is alienated and outside of the supposed miraculous strides trumpeted by the administration.

The alienated class will of course, get its sweet revenge.  In 2016, there will be a total rejection of the President’s chosen. The artistas he so loathes, campaigning as jailbirds, will get more votes than his candidates.

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13 Comments

  1. Why do we think that the Filipino voters will change the way they choose? In so many elections, they chose in the hope that their lives would get better. But so far, none has lived up to their expectations. They had their chance with Cory. And now they have his son for president. But it looks like that his administration will end, just like those before him, without effecting change in their lives.

  2. Alcuaz, J. L. "Linggoy" A. Alcuaz on

    The latest (March) Pulse Asia (w Noynoy’s cousin, Rapa Lopa, a stockholder/officer.) shows that the non Noynoy/LP Presidentiables get 55 – 65 % and Noynoy Admin candidates including Grace Poe, get 35 – 45 % only. MALAYO!

  3. Bernardo Carpio on

    But then Aquino regime has the PCOS machines and his allies are in the Comelec. It will be a no-contest. A repeat of the 2013 elections. The Liberal Party will pull out all stops to win at any costs.

  4. One of the commentators with too early false prophecy… Sen. Trillantes & Sen. Bongbong said, “It’s early to tell… all speculations at the moment…”

  5. Mr. Ronquillo:

    The fundamental reason that you cited in your article in very true and correct.

    In my line of work, which deals with the mass market or the 85% of the Philippine population, those growth rates and “bought” credit upgrading mean nothing to them.

    What matters to them is if their lot improved during this presidency,

    Definitely not!

    Food prices is increasing. Take the Filipino staple, rice. The cheapest good quality rice is now at 40 to 42 per kilo. That is already 10% of the minimum wage worker living in Manila, if that minimum wage worker is paid the real minimum wage of 450.

    Real unemployment is very high. It is not 7% as stated by the government. You may want to know the simple case of contractual workers employed by retail establishments. I saw a job posting for butchers, and the minimum requirement is a college level education,

    Indeed you are right, whoever is the anointed of this administration will be rejected by the 85% of the Philippine popoulation.

  6. In 2016 team Jailbirds will get more votes because pinoy voters are too dumb to know to differentiate good from bad – all it takes to get pinoy voters is to bring actors and actresses during the campaign sorties, and by the same token all it takes to invade the country is t simply go to the country and simply take over – just look at the impunity that china is occupying phil territory – I;m sure even journalists like ypurself would be the first to kiss the ass of the occupiers~

  7. Voice from the Wilderness on

    The prognosis of this columnist can come true depending on the progress of the trial. If in the process since this trial can not be concluded during of the incumbency of the present inept president in malacanang, the general public is seeing that this present inconsequential Regime is just clutching on straws in prosecuting these cases, the two accused senators may indeed garner enough sympathy votes for them or to their endorsed candidate whence, the possibility that a true opposition presidential candidate will win in 2016 will become a reality. When that happens, expect KARMA to haunt this inept president which will be lauded with gusto by the general public as payback for her/his foolishness during her/his reign.

  8. If the filipino is stupid enough to vote for people who have plundered this nation then they deserve the government they get. Im sick & tired of filipinos complaining about the state of the country & their mire & then continuing to vote for the very same people that plunder their country. Nopw when you gave him false sympathy thats another thing wrong with this country, you wont tell each other to their faces the bad things of people. So as to the fate of this country its what you all deserve. The civalised world shows you how to do things but as usual the filipino knows better, so get on with it & stop your wingeing.

  9. Edgar Balido on

    Mr. Ronquilo,

    I like reading your columns, but I think you are way off on this one.
    The Filipino people will never elect this two jail birds, not this time around.

    Go ahead criticize P-NOy if you disagree with his administration’s policies, but don’t get the PDAF plunders in the mix, keep you eye on the ball, OK

    Edgar

  10. We, the bakya-crowd are the reason why the like of Bong and Jingoy thrives in fantasy islands.

  11. jailing 3 senators when there are 18 involves will only make aquino unpopular. according to many, in 2016 election, those who will be endorse by aquino will lost. they found him insincere.

  12. The ‘daang matuwid’ and the ‘walang mahirap kung walang kurap’ (corrupt) slogans are very pleasing to the ears and very noble sounding ideas but, that’s it. They have produced more ringing and irritation to the ears, illusions to the eyes and questions to the brains. There’s no pudding in the cake; all icing! In the local street lingo: “Puro porma; wa epec”.

    But, any ‘unknown’, ‘dark horse’, new name and ‘non-dynasty’ 2016 candidate?
    Please.