Fools, not kings

The local and national political landscapes in the country are but a stage for the professional fools that only accomplish trying their hardest at doing nothing.

William Shakespeare’s words likening the world to a stage was never intended to be applied in the mundane. Yet, this rings true especially in the Philippines where we have a theater of our own, one that incites folly and drama with every choreographed movement, with every attention-grabbing line: Philippine politics. 

Everyone’s attention is currently fixed on the upcoming elections. While Filipinos from different sectors of our society are involved in this national endeavor, Halalan 2022 has become so star-studded for all the wrong reasons. While famous personalities expressing their intent to serve at the different branches of government have existed in past elections, 2022 presents a different—or more bluntly, a scarily ominous—narrative that may lead to our country’s downfall.

At present, a number of aspirants for the executive and legislative seats were involved in the entertainment industry in one way or another. Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, one of the presidentiables, is a former matinee idol who uses his poor upbringing for his brand to inspire the masses he had disposed of the moment he became mayor. Meanwhile, another is retired boxer Sen. Manny Pacquiao who pinned the Philippines on the global stage, all the while juggling his brief stints in acting and music. As for the vice presidency, former actor, Manila Sound genre pioneer, and former music producer Sen. Tito Sotto has teamed up with a former Philippine National Police chief. 

Sexist and misogynistic action star Robin Padilla and sensationalist radio broadcaster Raffy Tulfo are also vying for spots in the Senate. The list goes on for those who wish to give a hand in their respective local government units. And as some of their motivations to run are unclear, one can surmise that assuming a position in politics would further cement the influence and power they already possess. 

We’ve seen this play out before: famous personalities who ran for politics coughed up little to no significant contributions during the terms they served in. This was the case for former President Erap Estrada who was even found guilty of plunder. However, he was acquitted shortly after by his successor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Sen. Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada—both former movie stars—were also indicted with plunder back in 2014 for their involvement in the pork barrel scam. 

No matter the clamor, the Commission on Elections remains unfazed about these previous instances. They continue to be blind to these and refuse to be judicious even in determining the merits in disqualifying Bongbong Marcos’ bid for the presidency. Such a situation makes one wonder what power the masses have in this country. They should know that our demands for accountability are not mere noise; after all, they are the suffering cries many Filipinos faced during the past years. 

Apart from these demands, stricter enforcement of standards should have been upheld. As these politicians will ultimately dictate how our society would function, we must hold them up to a higher standard. Holding them up to such a degree of leadership and of governance would help the masses assess how these wannabe leaders can help progress the nation and aid its people. We shouldn’t base off their would-be success as politicians from their box-office records from when they were actors.

By now, there should be a realization of how big their platforms are and just how much influence they already have. What is baffling is that they know they are incapable of doing these jobs yet they push through because of personal agendas. They are incredibly underqualified yet have the balls—or the lack thereof—to feel superior over their ineptness.

If these stars do decide to remain in showbiz after the fight, the least they could do is to use their platforms wisely. As social media continues to become dominant in expressing political views, one post, video, or statement is enough to create a domino effect that would influence others. Of course, this doesn’t just apply to powerful personalities, as we all have our part to play. Unlike director Darryl Yap’s distasteful commentary on a certain tired and self-contradicting “Len-Len”, we should strongly promote leaders that have clean track records, sound arguments, sustainable plans, and grounded morals.  

We will surely see an epic, ensemble-filled finale soon—one that may truly jeopardize Philippine society. The myriad of action-packed battles these celebrities faced on camera are exponentially different from the battles in Congress. The latter deals with tangible lives, not just fictional ones. Should there be lives lost due to poor decisions, actual blood would be on their hands. We can still rewrite the story; it’s our decision as a people that will ultimately affect the lives and future of every Filipino. 

But beyond the responsibilities of the public, the popular and the powerful must also do their part—and that is by knowing their place. If there’s the slightest chance that they could realize and assess that they’re unworthy of their ambitions, they should instead try their best to secure a reboot of their crowd pullers. 

They can and will be on the silver screen. While we hope they don’t stray, they should do us that favor at least. 

The LaSallian

By The LaSallian

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