National elections are a time where different sides of the Philippines are exposed. There’s always the side where politicians show their strong, stately commitments through whatever way they can think of (or buy): a million posters with their faces, motorcades with speakers blasting a customized Call Me Maybe, going to barangays to shake people’s hands, or having Richard Yap or their ex-presidential candidate of a husband as merits to their own leadership. Done by our candidates to boost their pogi points to the voters. One side though, is all about the voters – their reactions to the first side, stands on arguments, jokes, mockery of the candidates, everything – and we all know where their voices are made public: social media.
That’s why for this issue of The Menagerie, we give you a complete rundown of the most memorable moments of this year’s “generally peaceful” elections that not only filled joy to our newsfeed, but our hearts as well. So, prepare those barong Tagalogs, horrible one-liners, and catchy copyright jingles, because politics just got more fun in the Philippines.
Those with dreams of running the government should obviously have standout leadership skills, beaming credentials, and above all else, a noble heart that stays honest even when the cameras have stopped flashing. But in the Philippines, candidates have figured out that to win an election, cameras should just keep on flashing or rolling.
This year, our candidates tried their “workshop” tested skills in acting, hosting, and (yikes) dancing. From Chiz’s stint in Kris TV, where he displayed incredible amounts of self-control to not throw Kris through a glass window, to Risa’s Gandang Gabi Vice guesting that proved offensive, degrading, and downright confusing, TV appearances have now become a big part of any political victory strategy. And it takes no Sun Tzu to realize that politics is a game won with the masses: Wowowillie guesting just seems to have better returns than any educational achievement on a candidates’ part. At least Chiz has a heart that captured our attention.
Elections here in the Philippines don’t just bear the nation’s future politicians, it is also the time when dynasties are more exposed (and still mostly win), when money may mean the country’s future, when citizens are the most powerful, and when Gangnam Style or Call Me Maybe can be the sheer medium of a candidate’s platforms. Jingles have been one of the must-haves in every candidate’s campaign. Some settle for a simple platform-inspired song with simple melodies and instrumentals, but some really perceive it as the star of their campaigns.
“Oks na oks ka kay Jack Enrile!” Take senatorial candidate Jack Enrile. Instead of bearing a very familiar political last name and a dark past, the commercials with his jingles are also the ones that stamp his name in people’s minds.
Koko Pimentel. Do you remember his jingle? It is probably the best of the year, the crème de la crème, the master of all masters – “Use your KOKOte!” It may just be three seconds long, but it is the catchiest and most genius among the bunch. It may even beat Jamby Madrigal’s “Jajajajamby” song in 2004’s elections.
Campaigns are a big part of that strong “push” for candidacy. Having a name that can fully insert through the minds of voters can provide an open lane to that desired position. This year, the country was rocked on the fateful evening of May 14 as the hash tag #IpasokSiDick trended worldwide, and became one of the greatest ways to use the name “Dick” in social media history.
The tweets started when a hopeful team member formulated the hashtag #pushgordon to get online support for the candidate, but after falling short to pick up some noise, a Filipino netizen saw an opportunity for a few laughs, and transformed it into a Twitter gold mine. The hashtag bursted in the social site, and erupted an onslaught of hilarious tweets like “Tama na usap usap #ipasoksidick”, “Bago patayin ang ilaw #ipasoksidick”, and the one that started the phenomena “Kahit anong posisyon basta #ipasoksidick”. But sadly, he could not penetrate the standings. To be fair, we all have moments where we just simply can’t perform according to expectations, and getting Dick in will have to wait for now.
Whenever you reach a low point in life – maybe getting a 1.0 you don’t really deserve – it is always hard to recover. But sometimes after a drink or a day of reflecting, weirdly enough, you just suddenly forget about it, move on and try doing bigger things, like joining an organization or running as the congresswoman of Pampanga’s 2nd District.
Last May 13, Pampangos lined up in their respective polling stations to vote for senatoriables and local officials. Under the 2nd District’s congressional candidates is a name recognizable by any voter, but was left a little out of the national limelight for this year’s elections: Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Yes, our then-president, who is now on her second congressional term, is still alive! On hospital arrest, though. A reputation earned from 2001-2009 and subsequent hospital arrest, traits unusual in just any politician, didn’t apprehend Arroyo from grasping triumph.
When it comes to running for position, it is important for a candidate to stand out. Having competitors left and right promising the same promises, doing the same gimmicks, and shaking hands with the same barangays makes it hard for voters to distinguish the characters from the clichés, and that’s why it helps if you have a certain feature that can be called entirely yours. And for Sen. Nancy Binay, it might have been a good thing if she didn’t stand out so much.
Yes, at some point we’ve seen it. It was impossible not to. It was everywhere; from your twitter Trending list, to your mom’s Facebook newsfeed. Not only did it cause amazingly offensive comments, but also somehow helped Nancy’s candidacy.
Not only did the cyber bullying make her stronger, she became a victim in the people’s eyes that flooded support from the other spectrum of social media. She became an underdog. Someone the people rooted for to rise up the ashes (no pun intended) and conquer all the haters. But what really made the bashing work for her advantage was the way it was able to hide her under-qualified resume for candidacy. Shifting the perspective of the uninformed masses that she was a hero, it didn’t matter that she didn’t even have a sword.
As a senatorial candidate, one of the most important aspects of your agenda as you run for candidacy is to effectively deliver to the masses your proposed platform. This will separate those voters who share the same sentiment as you do, from those who believe in a different route, and ultimately present you the supporters that believe in your mission and vision. But here in the Philippines, why bother with boring lectures on how you’re going to run the country, when you can convince the masses to give them your vote with cheeky copyright infringement jingles, some very awkward acting, and zombie epics. Because nothing says voting wisely like undead metaphors.
This year, voters were treated to one of the most thought out ways on how to distract you with “clever” plots, “prepared” acting, and “creative” messages in their commercials. We were presented with Bam Aquino’s “BAM” ad, where people were apparently praising him as a superhero, judging from the comic book visual scheme, and literally exploding fist bumps that when you listen really closely, you can almost hear the subliminal “Ninoy “ chants. And for those who love a good plot twist, Koko Pimentel’s Zombie Collection offers an almost unparalleled depiction of how everyone is living life as a zombie. Just the kind of stuff you’d expect from the guy that thought of “Use your KOKOte” as their slogan. Pimentel would eventually place 8th in position, proving once again that you can never go wrong with zombies.
Twitter + Finger Selfies
It is election day. The day the candidates, voters, and the media have been waiting for these past few months is finally here; it is the day of enlightenment. The media was fired up with their cameras, computers and cellphones for all the upcoming news and updates expected to cross their way. Twitter was one of the most used mediums to diffuse live updates right in the hands of the public. News about the killings in Maguindanao, vote buyers being hauled from Quiapo, the police “harassment” on the Revillas – all were able to make it to people’s feeds in a jiffy.
Finger beside face, finger in front of face, finger with other people’s fingers. 80 percent of photos posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on Election Day had any (or all) of those three poses, probably captioned, “Just finished voting! #selfie” Celebrities and normal people alike, right after voting and getting their fingers dirty, quickly got their phones or whatnots to quickly record their latest civil pursuit.
Being a political candidate is not just for anyone. Having the rights to even be in consideration of partaking in the most important organization of a country isn’t exactly being handed out at job fairs. So, it can be frustrating when most voters look at star appeal or blood line as a basis for handing out their vote. That is why it’s important to always keep in mind that as students of a University that prizes critical thinking, we must always look past social gimmicks, and focus on those people truly deserve or merit the position.