May 15
POLITICAL INFOMERCIAL by Alex J. Socorro  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Fri, May 15, 2009

At this early, cluttering the survey list of presidentiables are familiar names like Vice President Noli De Castro, Senators Manny Villar, Mar Roxas, Chiz Escudero, Loren Legarda, Ping Lacson and not so familiar names like Chief Justice Reynato Puno and Gilberto Teodoro, the secretary of National Defense.

With still about a year to go before the 2010 presidential elections, political infomercials are starting to pervade the air. Based on the COMELEC Chairman’s personal opinion, these infomercials are already promoting the interest of the aspiring candidates but they cannot be faulted for that simply because there is no law against it.

MANNY VILLAR. “Ang laki sa hirap, tumutulong sa mahihirap,” so goes the blurb by a duck raiser in a pond. Beside him is Villar, wiping his muddy hands on the front of his shirt. That unnatural act (wiping) is meant to portray Villar as a man of the masses.

Another of his infomercial is that of an OFW reciting her lamentations – that she had suffered so much working abroad. And her husband is very thankful to Villar for helping them. It ends with the spiel, “Sa sarili niyang pera ay marami kaming napauwi” (presumably those OFWs suffering abroad), giving an impression that the poor soul is privy to Villar’s financial discretions.

Currently senator, former speaker and former senate president, Villar was a poor man who is now, reputedly, the richest presidentiable who is ready and willing to spend one billion pesos for the campaign. In fact, he is spending millions already in his tv and radio infomercials.

Naturally, Villar’s infomercials are centered on his good deeds. And he insists, “Hangga’t makakaya ko, tutulong ako.” But there’s a line in the Bible that says, “When you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” Maybe Villar’s drumbeaters are not Bible readers.

MAR ROXAS. “Padyak, padyak, padyak, bawal ang mapagod. Padyak, padyak, padyak, kulang aking sahod.” Seemingly to represent the lowly and hopeless mentality of the working class, that radio infomercial sounds trite with the unrhythmic nursery rhyme style and the overly dramatic lamentation.

On tv, Roxas is riding a pedicab. Beside him is a young girl who wants to be an “artista” while his kuya, the one driving the pedicab, had already shed his dream of being a seafarer someday. Like a caring father, Roxas tells the kid, “Anak, itabi mo, ako na.” And Roxas drives the pedicab to finish the infomercial with his slogan, “Sama-sama tayo, hindi ko kayo pababayaan, lalaban tayo!”

Grandson of President Manuel Roxas, son of Senator Gerry Roxas, currently senator and still a bachelor, Mar Roxas is the scion of one of the richest clans in the Visayas and his mother, Judy Araneta, belongs to a moneyed family as well. With his “Mr. Palengke” tag, Roxas was the topnotcher in the senatorial elections when he won.

Unmarried at his age and with a lovechild, Roxas will have a hard time convincing the voters of his sense of responsibility. Making it worse, he had the temerity to proclaim, on national tv (Wowowee), that “Matagal na rin kaming nagsasama (ni Korina).” Even with the permissive society, Catholics still frown on the living together setup without the benefit of marriage. And you need not be a political analyst to realize that the primary reason of his planned marriage is to boost his political chances.

NOLI DE CASTRO. “Tama!” Short and simple but catchy, sensible and positive. To mean “right” or “correct,” De Castro’s spiel seems very effective. As HUDCC (Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council) Chairman, De Castro is gaining “pogi points” with the subliminal message of providing houses for the homeless. With the affordable installments and low interest rates, the working class is somehow inspired to acquire a home thru the Pag-Ibig mortgage.

Former broadcaster and newscaster, senate topnotcher like Mar Roxas, currently vice president, De Castro is an independent (no party affiliation). His Magandang Gabi Bayan documentary gained so much mileage that surprised many with the result of De Castro’s first try at politics.

A consistent number one in the current surveys, De Castro hasn’t admitted yet his political plans. But at the rate his star is going, issuing a good infomercial may make him an unbeatable favorite.

JOJO BINAY. “Ganito kami sa Makati. Ganito sana sa buong bayan.” A clear proclamation of Jojo Binay’s accomplishments as mayor of Makati. His senior citizen program in his city is envied by senior citizens elsewhere. Unlike Villar who was bandying his personal accomplishments, Binay is showcasing his service as a good mayor of his city with his nice spiel, “Maligaya, Maunlad, Masaya. Yan ang Makati.”

A veteran of rallies and street demos, stalwart of FLAG (Free Legal Assistance Group), former MMDA chairman, former mayor of Makati and mayor of Makati again, Jojo Binay had once defeated Edu Manzano in the political race.

If BF (Bayani Fernando) is the king of Marikina then Binay seems to be the owner of Makati. His guts is extraordinary such that his suspension (as mayor) was not served and was eventually cancelled. He was called Rambotito (small Rambo) and now his pet name is Pinoy Obama.

BAYANI FERNANDO. No need for infomercials right now because his face is a ubiquitous image in Metro Manila thoroughfares. He is also in the newspapers regularly. It is reported that he is very much decided to run since he’s already holding regular consultations with his advisers in Marikina.

When he joined the Celebrity Duets contest, BF topped the text voting mainly because he was supported by his loyalists in MMDA and in Marikina. On the other hand, BF is unpopular with the masses because his MMDA team handles the demolition of squatters and the arrest of illegal vendors, not to mention the erring motorists. BF is also accused of spending the government’s money (via MMDA streamers) in promoting his political ambition via road streamers and tarpaulins.

In 2004, BF was to run for vice president. In an interview by Mike Enriquez of DZBB, BF professed that nothing could stop him, absolutely nothing. And amidst the streamers in provincial highways proclaiming his name, BF did not run. Because of that, no one may take him seriously this time.

PING LACSON. A simple but meaty infomercial on corruption. Lacson’s image of a truant officer is still intact. He has been a foe of criminals, guard dog against graft and friend of whistle-blowers. But detractors have doubts because the countless cases he had instigated, including the trial by publicity of the First Gentleman, did not bear fruit giving people the impression that Lacson was only grandstanding. Simply put, no one in his list was convicted.

A former police officer, PNP Chief, senator and presidential candidate, Lacson had already shown his stubborness when he did not give way to Fernando Poe, Jr. They both lost the race with Lacson getting only about 3 million votes. Considering the trend of losers, Lacson’s chances for 2010 may be lesser.

GILBERTO TEODORO. Starting with “Si Gibo po…” and ending with “Ligtas na bukas” for a subtle message about his aspiration. Unfortunately for us, taxpayers, Teodoro’s infomercial is funded by the DND (Department of National Defense) of which he is presently the secretary.

A stalwart of NPC (Nationalist People’s Coalition party) but political analysts are saying that Teodoro is causing a crack in his party. But considering that he is a nephew of Danding Cojuangco, perhaps Teodoro has a fighting chance to be a candidate of NPC.

With the prevailing multi-party system, it is predicted that the next president of our country will again be a minority president, i.e. getting only a plurality vote. In the SWS survey last March, asking a thousand respondents for their best 3 candidates, the list toppers were De Castro with 27, Villar with 26 and Legarda also with 26.

But if, like in the real elections, the survey will ask for just one candidate, the outcome will definitely be much different.

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