THE past week was about the filing of Certificates of Candidacy (COC), an exciting time no doubt.
That is, if what excites you is the fascinating display of media gullibility, of a Commission on Elections that thinks “festive” is a good way to describe the filing of candidacy for public office, of an Office of the Ombudsman that picks it as the most opportune time to declare one Junjun Binay dismissed and disqualified from running for public office, prompting his sister Abigail to file a COC for Mayor (take that!).
That is, if what excites is watching how the news can be eaten alive by election excitement, where nothing is more important, no current event more urgent.
It has been an amusing week. Our laughter reveals much about us after all.
Media choose the circus
It’s been declared by many of us: the circus is in town. After all, day one of COC filing went to the every-nuisance-candidate, giving us all a laugh or two. Because what other reaction can you have to someone who calls himself the Intergalactic Space Ambassador? How else do you react to someone who says his goal as President is to “legalize the four seasons” in the Philippines?
Yes, that’s winter, spring, summer and fall, thank you very much.
Malacañang spokesperson Sec. Sonny Coloma has said: we must respect anyone’s right to run for public office – or to at least file a COC. That is “naaayon sa batas.”
Well yes, it’s not illegal. But certainly it paints a specific picture of our electoral process when we allow all these nuisance candidates to file their COCs, alongside the “legitimate” candidates who can actually afford to run a campaign and win an election. It does not help that the media gives these nuisance candidates mileage, even when they know full well that this is what many of them seek, and even when our media must know that every square inch of space, every second spent on these candidates is space and time wasted.
Certainly there are more urgent things to talk about other than nuisances? Certainly there’s more going on in this country other than the elections?
Not for Pinoy media!
Miriam, for example
The rise and fall of Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s approval ratings happened in the course of the week: from the moment she announced she was running, to the point when she declared that her chosen Vice Presidential candidate is Bongbong Marcos.
I speak of rise and fall as based on my dominantly middle-class Facebook and Twitter feeds, where my naïve self could only be surprised that so many not only wanted Santiago (no relation to her whatsoever) to run for President, but thought her the best choice for President.
It surprised because it’s been clear to me that while Santiago might have the upper hand when it comes to the law and given her experience, she always struck me as someone who was also in this for the mileage. And that could only be proven true when she decided that the best way to use her time was to write a book of jokes and witticisms – mga hirit, to be exact – in not one, but two volumes.
Those books were prompted by the kind of media mileage she’d get whenever she’d use those pick-up lines during public speeches, appealing to a younger generation – the millennials – that would effectively get her to trend on social media.
That this mattered at all to Santiago was to me a measure of her kababawan. Because she must know that those pick-up lines and hirits don’t mean much in the bigger scheme of things. Case in point: her rise and fall from social media grace.
Now one has faith that millennials will prove that stupid is not forever. Or forevermore.
I never understood the clamor for Rodrigo Duterte to run, given that he had said so often that he was not interested in becoming President. I thought that were he truly the man of action that he has been sold to be, then he needed to be more certain about such a major major decision, and not seem like the guy waiting to be goaded into running.
What was he waiting for, really? Why all the drama? Why did he need to wait until it was after 5:00PM on Friday, when the COMELEC closed the filing of COCs, before allowing a live interview from Davao? Why could he not have already disproved the news that he was in fact in Manila Hotel, waiting (for god knows what) to file his COC? Why could he – and his daughter! – not disprove the notion that the latter had filed a COC for Mayor?
All that time wasted makes one wonder: what was Duterte waiting for? What is he still waiting for given the December deadline for candidate substitutions?
Also: who’s laughing all the way to the bank?
Vote for Ate Vi
Ah but my favorite personality of the past week is Vilma Santos, aka award-winning actress and showbiz icon Ate Vi. And no, not because she’s filed a COC to run as Batangas Congress Representative.
It’s because while husband Ralph is running for re-election in the Senate, ex-husband Edu Manzano has also filed his COC for a Senatorial seat.
If Manzano and Recto both win, Ate Vi will be the first congress representative to have both a husband and ex-husband in the Senate. Ate Vi will be the most powerful woman in the Senate – and she does not even need to be Senator!
Not bad for someone who starred in films called “Relasyon” and “Broken Marriage.” Go Sister Stella L!