THE times they are a-changing, if only in terms of the ways in which Pinoy social media come alive – ALIVE! – in light of the 2016 elections. Take the week that was. It started off with Manny Pacquiao doing a one-on-one with Karen Davila, and ended with the Marcos children Bongbong and Imee on our minds.
In between there was Manolo Quezon of Malacañang’s one-of-three communications office going up against Noemi Dado and Michel Eldiy on Twitter, with the latter two refusing to let Manolo off the hook about the use of government sites and social media pages for the Liberal Party campaign.
There was also blogger Tonyo Cruz calling out anyone who questioned Pacquiao’s senatorial ambitions, saying the social media “aristocracy” strikes again, effectively turning the criticism of Pacquiao into a class issue, calling him “uring anakpawis,” and pointing out that the boxer had supported important bills for wage increase and took a stand against Kentex.
Which got me thinking: ako ba ang aristokrata? LOL.
And then I thought: no. Also it’s just too easy, turning this into a class thing, and pointing out that Pacquiao has his heart in the right place on issues, therefore no one should question his senatorial ambitions.
Rapper Gloc-9 has his heart in the right place on issues. You don’t see him running for the Senate.
And this is really the thing here: why does Pacquiao think running for the Senate important? Why did he think becoming a Congress Representative was something he needed to do? Why does he think that selling everything from car batteries to deodorant, milk to transnational brand Nike – all emblazoned on his boxing shorts when he fights by the way – acceptable?
Because we let him think so. We let him off the hook because he is Pacquiao. The boxer who has brought honor to nation. Never mind that he’s treated being a Congressman like a hobby (as Rene Saguisag has said), or part-time raket, attending just FOUR TIMES in one year.
You wonder why we can accept that of any Congressman. You wonder why we failed to criticize the fact that while Congressman Pacquiao was buying a $12-million dollar mansion in Beverly Hills early this year – which was of course televised for all of the Philippines to see – Sarangani was in a state of calamity due to drought.
While athletes like Rafael Nadal are building tennis schools across Spain for scholars to learn the sport, Pacquiao built a boxing school with Chinese businessmen in China – to train Chinese boxers.
You see, even his heart ain’t in the right place in many instances. We’re not even talking about his mind yet.
If thinking this about Pacquiao, is being artistokrata, then … I LOL yet again.
It’s also been quite a show watching Manolo Quezon 3rd of Malacañang responding to the criticism of Eldiy and Dado about the use of public funds on what has become the Liberal Party’s campaign on social media. After all, as head of the LP, the President’s activities as reported on his Facebook page can only be seen as part of the party’s campaign.
Quezon responds by putting together a list of instances in which presidents from the past have done the same and says “a president is indivisible from his role as proponent of a party/coalition/platform.” He also lists down the responsibilities of the Official Gazette, and how it has functioned as such for all presidents from Manuel Quezon to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo by posting speeches that are now up on their website.
What they have yet to discuss of course is how the Communications Team of the current president is totally different from the presidents before him, as they’ve used social media like no other president has. Certainly publication of speeches and photographs were different when there was no internet to speak of? Certainly, pre-Facebook, the public was not bombarded by images of the President raising the hands of his anointed candidates? Pre-Facebook, the campaign colors of the President’s political party was not something that was easy to propagate?
One also wonders how much cheaper it was when a president did not need three communications offices as the current President does. Because as Eldiy has revealed, the 2015 budget for President Noynoy Aquino’s communications offices is P193,868,000.
One hundred ninety three MILLION PESOS. Of tax payers money, by the way.
‘Yan ang aristokrata!
About Imee and Bongbong
They must have thought the timing perfect: Bongbong would announce his Vice-Presidential candidacy, and Imee would come out with her Philippine Tatler cover story where she talks about her support for Philippine designers. It could have been a one-two-punch.
Except that Bongbong decides to shoot-from-the-hip and say that he “congratulates himself for choosing his parents well.” Other than the fact that uh, we don’t choose our parents (well, except in an esoteric sense), he failed yet again at admitting, even via silence, that his parents did the nation wrong.
The wrong being, as posted by Susan Quimpo on the Philippine Tatler FB page: 75,730 human rights violations including rape, extra-judicial murder, illegal imprisonment and torture as filed by 75,730 claimants under the new Compensation Law (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 29 Sept 2015) <… and> the $4 billion dollars stashed away in the Swiss banks of the Marcoses (News 5 Kontrabando, 24 Sept 2015).
This is also the weight on the butterfly sleeves of the blood-red terno that Imee wears on that Philippine Tatler cover.
It seems the magazine did not know what hit them, seeing as their FB page has been bombarded with comments on the choice of cover girl. What does not surprise is that this cover happened at all: after all, how many of us actually care about the Philippine Tatler? It’s a magazine that is specifically for an elite market – i.e., the real artistokrata! – and generally they get away with putting every other member of the oligarchy on their covers.
Ah, but the Marcoses remain different, and thankfully so. We do not forget. And we cannot forget.
Sometimes, Pinoy social media gets it right.