The Candidates: Ms. Panday, Dirty Harry, the Clone and the Mayor

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Let’s not fool ourselves into believing that the May election is one in which Filipino voters will choose a President they think  has the best platform of government for the country.

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The scheduled “presidential” debates are not likely to be real exchanges of rational thinking to crystallize issues in the same way the college debates of our youth sought to thresh out issues. It will be a contest of sound bites, of the best and most imaginative verbal dirt-hurling in an “ang-pikon-talo” match – all intended to project a certain image of the candidate.

We all know that candidates just pay underpaid academics or speechwriters to come up with platforms, and they just do what they want to do and don’t do what they don’t want to do when they become president.

It is entirely a contest of image-building, even atrociously false ones. Thanks to the survey of Mr. Pedro Laylo Jr., made public in the Manila Standard, we have an empirical basis to describe these images. (You can access this at http://thestandard.com.ph/news/headlines/198854/poe-keeps-lead-in-laylo-survey.html)

The real candidates for President in May 2016

The real candidates for President in May 2016

Candidate No. 1: Ms. Panday

The first candidate is Ms. Panday, Panday II, or Panday’s daughter – Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares. C’mon, people are not voting for this foundling, or more probably the winter-spring lovechild of a 51-year old Philippine President with a 20-year old starlet, even putting her at the head of the pack.

They are not voting for this well-off Assumption College alumna who preferred to pursue the American dream in the US of A, and who worked in short-stints as a grade-school teacher, as “procurement liaison” for an obscure US government agency, and as sales assistant for an even more obscure private firm.

People are not voting for this rich actor’s adopted daughter who returned to the country when her father died and then decided to become a Filipino citizen in order to be qualified to become senator … sorry, in order to serve the country.

Delusional Filipinos are choosing her in presidential voting-preference surveys not even because she is the poor adopted child of that near-recluse Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) and actress Susan Roces. They are choosing her because somehow in their minds, she is the daughter of “Panday,” the mythical hero portrayed by FPJ in many box-office hits, or the daughter of the working-class, anti-rich protagonist as he had played onscreen several times.

Grace Llamanzares surrounded by posters of movies she should be grateful for.

Grace Llamanzares surrounded by posters of movies she should be grateful for.

This is not a conjecture. That Laylo survey reported that 45 percent of the 29 percent who chose Llamanzares for President picked her because she is “kind, like her father,” that she will “continue the good work of her father” and that she will “fulfill her father’s promises.” The father here obviously does not refer to FPJ, as a person but to his Panday image and other movie-screen heroes he had portrayed.

As amazing as that is the fact that a further 7 percent responded that they will vote for Llamanzares because she “provided housing for the poor, fought the rights of women, gave scholarships, helped calamity victims and helped those in financial need.” But Llamanzares really hasn’t done any of those: clearly they are projecting non-existent accomplishments on her, the result of their belief that she is a hero’s daughter who does such kind things.

Such delusion, the mix-up of reel and real, is certainly not an affliction solely of the poor, and therefore, uneducated. Llamanzares garnered the highest percentage of her supporters, 30 percent, among the ABC economic class, bigger than the 27 percent in the E class.

That is really a repeat of the presidential elections of 2004, when ousted President Joseph Estrada asked his best friend, Poe (Grace’s adoptive father), to run for the top post against President Arroyo. Estrada told the introverted actor to run and win the presidency, because otherwise, he would spend the rest of his life in jail for the plunder charges filed against him. Given that Poe lost by only 3 percentage points to Arroyo, Estrada thinks  Panday’s daughter can sneak into the tight race and win the presidency this year. Those behind Llamanzares are the same gang of supporters as Estrada’s shadowy cabal of Chinese Filipino businessmen that included William Gatchalian.

‘Mini-Me,’ the clone

Another candidate is “The Clone,” or a better “Mini-Me:” Manuel Roxas 2nd. “Mini-Me” is that character in those Austin Powers comedy movies – the clone of villain Dr. Evil, identical in every way with the main character but “one-eighth his size.” It was a hilarious scene when Dr. Evil, even if visibly disappointed that his clone is a dwarf, pompously dubs it “Mini-Me.” A similar scene came to mind when Aquino raised Roxas’ hand as he declared him the Administration’s candidate, even if he knew he was rating badly in the voter-preference polls.

Roxas is perceived as Aquino’s clone, his Mini-Me.

Roxas is perceived as Aquino’s clone, his Mini-Me.

Roxas is without a doubt the contest’s “Mini-Aquino” in the Laylo survey. A huge 42 percent chose him “because he will continue Aquino’s programs, such as the conditional cash-transfer program.” A further 10 percent did because he was endorsed by the President.

Roxas fits the role to a tee. The Mini-Me of the movies often hilariously tries to be tougher than Dr. Evil, only to hide later behind his boss’s legs. Roxas also often tries to appear tougher than Aquino, as when he told the Tacloban mayor Alfred Romualdez in the wake of Yolanda’s damage: “Let’s face it, you are a Romualdez and the President is an Aquino.” Or when he replied to Duterte’s remark that he would slap Roxas when he sees him: “Bakit pa sampalan, pambabae ‘yan, suntukan na lang, ‘di ba?” But he kept his mouth shut when Duterte challenged him to a gun duel.

What dooms Roxas, and explains his low ratings, is that while 42 percent of those who chose him did so because “he will continue Aquino’s programs,” 38 percent did not vote for him because he will be “like Aquino who hadn’t changed things in the country,” and that he is precisely a Mini-Me, “walang sariling decision, sunud-sunuran kay Aquino.” That is, it’s a wash being Aquino’s clone.

Dirty Harry, the sheriff

Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is the contest’s Dirty Harry, the Wild West Sheriff. In the Laylo survey, nearly 70 percent picked him because of his tough anti-crime stance: “he is a disciplinarian and really punished criminals (22 percent),” “eradicated drug pushers and illegal drugs (20 percent),” “eradicated crime under his leadership (12 percent),” “strict in implementing the law (8 percent)” and “wielded the iron fist in disciplining Filipinos (7 percent).”

They’re voting for him not for his track record as mayor, but as the scourge of criminals.

They’re voting for him not for his track record as mayor, but as the scourge of criminals.

Duterte has been mayor of Davao City for 20 years since 1988 (his daughter Sarah became mayor so he could skirt the term limits), and a congressman from 1998 to 2001. But those who chose him perceived him almost totally as a man who vanquished crime and who could “discipline Filipinos.”

Duterte’s image is as the ruthless San Francisco detective Dirty Harry Callahan who didn’t hesitate to kill criminals where they stood, as portrayed by Clint Eastwood in the box-office hit movies where the lead character replaced the goody-goody iconic hero of the past.

Obviously huge sectors of Filipinos, tired of the wave of crimes that have grown worse under Aquino, want such a cold-blooded crime-buster as President.

But wasn’t Erap, with his PAOC nearly one, and aren’t most of our police, already of that kind?

The Mayor

About 20 percent of respondents chose Vice President Jejomar Binay because “he could replicate his success as mayor in developing Makati” on a national scale. (“Napaganda/napaunlad niya ang Makati, baka magawa niya sa buong bansa.”) The “good mayor” aiming for the presidency, that is.

His image as a good mayor survived the intense black-propaganda campaign, such as the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall II building.

His image as a good mayor survived the intense black-propaganda campaign, such as the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall II building.

This is the reason why the Aquino-Roxas camp undertook an expensive two-year campaign to defame Binay’s track record as mayor, and tried to show that his stint was one of corruption, the biggest instance of which, they alleged, was the purportedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building II.

The Administration failed in this intense defamation campaign, even if it was supported by the biggest newspaper in the country, and the plot even back-fired, which explains why Binay is now leading in the voter-preference surveys.

The “Good Mayor” is a powerful image in national elections, given that most Filipinos’ encounter with government – especially outside the metropolis – is solely with a mayor. It is at that level where they can feel the impact of having a good or bad government representative, a mayor, on their lives.

However, the second biggest group of Binay’s supporters chose him not just because of his track record as Makati mayor. A significant 19 percent of those who favored him in the Laylo poll picked him because of his “wide experience in government.” This could be due to the fact that aside from being Makati mayor, he served the high-profile posts of Metro Manila Authority chairman from 1990 to 1992, and its successor institution, the Metro Manila Development Authority from 1998 to 2001.

Binay took a clever move when he collaborated with the Aquino Administration as that added to his political support base. Due to his work as Presidential Adviser on OFW Concerns, 11 percent of respondents chose him because “he has helped OFWs in trouble in other countries.”

One of Binay’s strong points as revealed in the Laylo survey where 14 percent of those who supported him selected him because “he grew up poor, and therefore he is pro-poor.”

There has been no other presidential candidate – except Ramon Magsaysay, a former auto mechanic who won the presidency in 1953 – who managed to have such an image, which is an enormous edge in a country where I suspect more than 70 percent of voters see themselves as poor. (Manuel Villar tried to build up that image in the 2010 elections, and failed catastrophically as it backfired on him.)

Would you vote for somebody whose image is of the Snow White fairy-tale type? Would you vote to office a “Mini-Me” so we would have the same kind of government as we’ve had the past six years, a Mini-Me wielding the vast resources and power of the Republic of the Philippines as its leader?

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com

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32 Comments

  1. In the developed world, electing a president is serious business. In this part of the world, it is another day of fun circus atmosphere when the career bums, the “palamunins”, the career criminals, the high school drop-outs, and the religious block voters would all come out to be judges. They are kings and queens for a day and candidates have their full attention.

    But do their votes really matter where bandwagon, not conscience, would dictate their choices? At stake in the 2016 presidential elections is the future of the nation. Will it be a nation built by decent young and old hardworking people and serious taxpayers, or will it be a nation decided by “palamunins”?

  2. If the SC bastardizes the Constitution and declares that Ms. Grace is allowed to run for the Presidency, we might as well create a parallel government – devoid of a SC that prostitutes itself to the whims and caprices of big business. I just hope that those justices won’t risk their lives and the future of the country for those billions of reasons they think will justify a clearly unconstitutional decision.

  3. mahirap si binay? hello tiglao! so saan nanggaling yong milliones ng pamilya nya lalo na mga anak nya, unggoy ka! bayaran ka ni binay. isa kang pokpok

  4. I honestly dont know who is the best candidate for the Philippines but im sure Binay isnt the person. If the allegations against him are true woe betide you all if he gets elected. It will be like the bank teller giving you your money, 1 for you 2 for me, 1 for you 3 for me, etc. Of all the accusations against him he has not produced even a single shread of evidence to defend himself, just smoke & mirrors, you know like cj corona telling us how thrifty he & his wife have been all their lives. Its evidence people should see not words for them to listen to as you all know how easily deceived the filipino is.

  5. @ RT

    I think I know how BOY SISI et all will pull off an LP victory (Mar or Grace) in the coming polls.

  6. Please feed your beautiful mind people of the Philippines. Really, i feel pathetic to those people who have no idea or classifications to whom they will vote in this coming election. Maybe again for popularity, because they were celebrities or media man..Hindi na po kayo madala, Stop electing idiot people, like celebrities, personalities, media people…. May nagawa ba itong mga artista, media men na nasa congresso at senate..Kindly evaluate one by one , the candidates who want to run for the highest postion in our country?? mayroon bang ganito ang mga voters natin. Wala siguro, dahil mahilig sa hearsay ng media na sometimes fabricated ang mga stories..
    kung wala pa ang social media, siguro mananalo ang mga dilawan ng LIBERAL PARTY..Mabuti na lang at may social media na mostly ay katotohanan at hindi kasinungalingan…. kaya sa mga botante, isipin ninyong mabuti kung may nagawa bang mabuti ang inyong mga iboboto.. Huwag magpadala sa emotion ng mga kandidato, dramahan lang kayo, ok na sa inyo.. No. No.. No..
    for me its MDS and BBM is the best team… at sila lang may malasakit sa ating mamayan…

  7. I think Miriam is the best for 2016 to 2022 as President of our country with Bongbong as her VP so that if anything happens to Miriam, Bongbong will take-over. On the issue if Grace Poe is the daughter of Marcos, many believe that she is the daughter of Marcos but that she hates Marcos and is pro-Aquino. I do not know if it is true, but there are talks that Grace Poe is anti-Marcos because she feels that she was abandoned by Marcos. Her idols are the enemies of Marcos – Ninoy, Cory, Cardinal Sin, et al. It is also said that she hates FPJ and this is why she is now with people who were the enemies of the late FPJ – the Aquinos (who supported GMA in the 2004 elections and only broke ties with GMA in 2007); Belmonte (who also supported GMA in the 2004 elections); and other well-known yellows who told the voters in 2004 not to vote for FPJ because FPJ is close to the Marcoses and to Erap, the latter two being arch-enemies of the yellows. Perhaps the rumors are true that Grace Poe hates Marcos and FPJ because Grace Poe is now very close to Noynoy Aquino and other yellows who openly campaigned against FPJ in 2004 telling the country not to vote for FPJ because he FPJ was “incompetent” and a “know-nothing”, only God knows the truth.

    • Let us not forget that Cory, Kris and Noynoy campaigned for Arroyo in 2004 and Cory even said, after the “Hello Garci Tape” was exposed, that she (Cory) does not believe that there was cheating in the 2004 elections and it was then-Deputy Speaker Noynoy under Arroyo who insisted that the said Tape not be played in the halls of Congress because it would violate the Anti-Wire Tapping Act. Then why is Grace Poe now very close to the Aquinos if it is not true that Grace Poe hates FPJ? I tend to believe people who say that Grace Poe hates FPJ.

      Cory and Noynoy defend Gloria
      In early June 2005, tapes of wiretapped phone conversations between President Gloria Arroyo and Comelec (Commission on Elections) official Virgilio Garcillano surfaced. This led to accusations that Arroyo cheated during the 2004 presidential elections, and a clamor rose up for her to resign.
      The late former President Cory Aquino and son Noynoy initially defended Arroyo.
      Even after Arroyo delivered her famous “I am sorry” speech on TV on June 27, 2005, which the public took as an admission of guilt, and which prompted Susan Roces, widow of Arroyo’s 2004 election opponent Fernando Poe, Jr., to deliver her own famous “not once, but twice” speech, Mrs. Aquino defended Arroyo, saying: “I am glad the President has broken her silence. Her admission of judgment lapses leading to improper conduct on her part is a truly welcome development. Tonight the President has made a strong beginning and I hope she will continue in the direction of better and more responsive governance. Let us pray for her and for all of us Filipinos.”
      Rep. Noynoy Aquino, for his part, said in a June 29, 2005 report of the Philippine Star that President Arroyo should be commended for admitting her mistake. He said her televised apology was “a good start” for her administration.
      Two days later, on July 1, 2005, the Philippine Star reported, “Cory went on TV yesterday and… warned against using extra-constitutional means to oust President Arroyo.” The article quoted Mrs. Aquino as saying she had gone to see Susan Roces to congratulate her on “the passion of her speech and the sincerity of her convictions”, but also to stress that she would always stand by the Constitution.
      Noynoy votes against playing Garci tapes
      At the fifth Congressional hearing on the Garci issue on June 30, 2005, three days after Arroyo’s televised “I am sorry” speech, Rep. Noynoy Aquino voted against playing the “Hello Garci” tapes.
      “Tarlac Rep. Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III disappointed his colleagues in the House when he voted on Thursday night against the playing of the audio tape, although an overwhelming majority had voted yes,” reported the Philippine Daily Inquirer on July 2, 2005.
      “(Aquino’s actions) are no less than political payback” because President Arroyo was the “most powerful and influential patron” of the Cojuangco-Aquinos in the Hacienda Luisita dispute, Anakpawis party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano said in the July 2, 2005 Inquirer report. Mariano said Arroyo knew what really happened during the Luisita massacre, and that was why Rep. Noynoy Aquino played “guardian angel” to Arroyo.
      (Arroyo, whose candidacy in the 2004 presidential elections was supported by Noynoy and Kris Aquino, and who originally ascended to the presidency in 2001 after Cory Aquino and various groups led the campaign to oust President Joseph Estrada from office in EDSA 2, was suspected of aiding the Cojuangco-Aquinos during the November 2004 strike in Hacienda Luisita because of the involvement of the military in the dispersal and the Assumption of Jurisdiction that was declared by the Department of Labor.)
      Unfazed by the criticism, both Noynoy and Cory Aquino continued to stand by Arroyo.

  8. As a presidential aspirant, first you have to be measured by what you have accomplished and then painstakingly evaluated by what you try to attempt. Lacking any accomplishment relative to what you try to attempt is tantamount to telling lies. Lastly, if this aspirant to be the president, when performing what he accomplished, did he managed to show integrity, true grit, and most of all honesty?Let us ponder each presidential aspirant using this modular synthesis.

  9. We really do not have a choice. It is Grace Poe , no doubt about it. As long as she stay away from Pinoy Aquino tuwid na daan, she will be the next president of our country. I will also guess that our guarantee that Poe will do what is right is with the guidance of Miss Susan Roces. Miss Roces knows that Grace is so young and Roces will play a vital role in managing our country. I will guarantee the Filipino people will experience the Golden Age of our country for the next 6 years. I am not an optimist but a realist.

  10. All the candidates are wearing a mask to picture and deceived the voters except for one “DUTERTE” who presented himself simply as what he did in Davao we knew his cursing, former womanizer and rules with iron fist to those bad guys unlike those that can only be unmasked after

    Nobody in his right mind want to suffer again another 6 years of bad leadership!

  11. About forthcoming Presidential debate.May I suggest sir that the spouses of these Presidentiables will be included , Give them 3 minutes each to speak. Introduce themselves. Tell to the Filipino people that they are Natural Born Filipino Citizen including there kids, and legitimate wife/husband and thereby they are qualified to be a first lady or first gentleman. Secondly, if their husband/wife get elected to be a president, what is their role to be a First lady/First Gentleman..

  12. Bert O. Romero on

    It’s inexorable: a Poe will be the president of the Philippines in 2016. If Grace Poe is not disqualified, she will easily beat a clone, Dirty Harry, a corrupt and a thief, and a sick former firebrand. If she is disqualified, she will be substituted by another equally formidable Poe: Susan Roces Poe.
    The campaign period will indeed be a continuing drama serial providing the Poe campaign free ride on relentless name recognition and retention. The Filipino nation and people should therefore brace for six years of show-biz governance which may or may not be an improvement to the present student council – like governance.

    • That’s a nice term you used – show-biz governance. Congrats! Saktong sakto to describe the prospect of a presidentiable who’s running on an FPJ’s legacy. Kasi sa movies lang naman may nagawa si FPJ. Zero siya sa political and public service arena. Six years of cinematic experience! Will it be an action filled movie? Or another sob story?

  13. Leodegardo Pruna on

    Seems that the writer failed to mention Sen. Miriam? What was she described in the survey? God bless the Philippines.

    • Miriam is past and should be relegated to the dustbin of history…and we have had enough of a mental case leader… not for another 6 agonizing years please…..yung matino Naman…….

  14. Smiles, and similes – a lot of likes.

    ‘Giving power to a politician is like giving a teenager a bottle of whisky and the keys to your car’

    Binay – like putting a wily fox in charge of the hen-house.
    Like a shark amongst minnows.
    Cartoon character – Fibber Fox, or Coyote.

    Poe – like putting an American in control of the Philippines.
    Like Mcdonald’s pretending to be Michelin
    Cartoon character – Ice Queen, or Hamburglar.

    Duterte – like watching a sad old clown riding a one trick pony.
    Like a boy who wants to be a cowboy when he grows up.
    Cartoon character – D.O.O.M, or Pain and panic, or Pepe le Pew.

    Roxas – like a lamb prancing around in a tutu.
    Like Dolly the sheep.
    Like an hourglass brain – only one grain of a thought at a time managing to get through.
    Cartoon character – Daffy Duck, or F.L.O.P.P, or Wooly (and Bully)

    Santiago – like the crazy old bag lady seeking attention in the asylum.
    Like her pick up lines would work!!
    Cartoon character – Gagzilla, or M.A.D.

    And at VP level
    Escudero – like a naughty little boy enjoying pranks.
    Like Peter Pan playing with his Wendy.
    Like his heart is not in it.
    Cartoon character – L.O.V.E.M.U.F.F.I.N, or Baby faced finster, or Doofenschmirtz (inventor of the sinator).

    Robredo – like a fish out of water. Like she has seen a ghost.
    Like the personification of necropolitics
    Cartoon character – Lady Deathstrike, or nanobot.

    Marcos – is he like his Oxford ‘degree’?
    Cartoon character – Little Bong Bong.

    Honasan – like Robin missing his Batman.
    Cartoon character – Lefou.

    Trillanes – like a badly conceived conspiracy theory.
    Cartoon character – Caesar’s spy, or G.L.O.O.M.

    Cayetano – like a deer caught in the headlights.
    Like The Lone Ranger’s sidekick.
    Cartoon character – Tonto.

    In politics perception and image is nearly everything, sadly – even if a fictitious screen persona. How surreal.
    Coming to a screen near you soon – our next presentation – A Virtual Reality President, (VRP) complete with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Now that sounds like an improvement!

    “Popularity should be no scale for the election of politicians. If it would depend on popularity, Donald Duck and The Muppets would take seats in the Senate”
    Orson Welles

    Whichever way it turns out, it will be like putting an alcoholic in charge of a bar.
    And like throwing money at the lawyers in Deweycheatumnhowe, and Sue, Grabbit, & Runne.

    Looney times ahead. That’s all folks!

    • funny way to put the reality in this kind of comment… but it surely is not much different from cartoon. you can not find a presidential and V-presidential aspirant who can be taken seriously because of their track record. it’s really frustrating.

  15. Kung ako lang naman din ang papapiliin, doon na ako sa Ms. Panday, makikita mo rin naman sa article na ito na ang citizenship langa ng issue niya, at issue pa na ito ay isang malaking kalokohan. Siya na lang ang iboboto ko kesa naman sa mga walang ka pakipakialam sa bansa na mga iba pa na kandidato.At sinasabi na nakikita lang si Panday kay Grace Poe? Edi maganda, dahil si Grace Poe talaga ang magsisislbing modern Panday na magliligtas sa mga naapi ng bansa.

    • bukod sa citizenship issue ang pinaka importanteng tinukoy ni Mr.Tiglao dito ay yung accomplishments w/c is wala si Poe…Pinaramdam din ni Mr. Tiglao na sinamantala lang ni Poe ang kasikatan ng pangalan ni FPJ para maging Senador at tumakbong Presidente..in short mapagsamantala sya…alam nyang mananalo sya dahil sa daming bobotante dito sa bansa natin..hilig kasi sa teleserye e…

    • Cris, if that is your outlook ,how come FPJ lose in that election. To be the president, a person must not only be smart which FPJ is not, but must be well connected with the Comelec, remember GARCI tapes. That is why Gloria won the election, not only that she is smart but has proper influential connection. Nobody predicted that Gloria can beat FPJ the King.