Philippine elections: perpetually about the ‘least unacceptable’

eenymeenymineymoDo Filipinos want to be represented by the best of their own, rather than the least bad?

No, they don’t.

Elections in the Philippines are rarely about the “most acceptable”, if at all. They are, more often than not, about the “least unacceptable”.

What is the difference, you may ask? Well, common sense tells us that the “most acceptable” of a lot is the one that is closest to a pre-established ideal. When we do evaluations, we usually give marks based on deviations from the standards used. Deviations can be things that are lacking, absent, or mistaken.

The “least unacceptable”, on the other hand, assumes that all the samples for evaluation are bad or rotten. You have to choose which one is the least bad for you. People are in the situation wherein they choose the level of badness that they feel they can tolerate or live with.

So here’s the thing that bothers me: why do Filipinos bother choosing from the lot if they’re all going to be bad?

Because, apparently, that is all that Filipino society is capable of doing.

What I mean is that Filipinos seem to limit themselves to choices that have already been pre-packaged and formed for them. But if Filipinos are really serious about being a democracy, they should be able to generate more choices, right? I mean, there has got to be a better alternative somewhere out there out of a hundred million strong population, correct?

It doesn’t work that way here. Not in this basketcase.

The “least unacceptable” mindset is simply an extension of one the pillars of Filipino cultural dysfunction: the mediocrity mindset, pwede-na-iyan. No wonder it comes much more naturally to them.

Individually, it’s not uncommon at all to meet good-hearted Filipinos and those who just want to do the best they can. Collectively, however, it’s a different story.

In a society whose members possess a baseless sense of inflated self-importance, badness has become the standard. Members of such a society who attempt to uphold ideals and standard of good behavior and decency face an uphill battle. Those who do not share their ideals accuse them of being self-righteous. They are ridiculed and ostracized for standing out, and making other members of the society look bad. People shoot down any attempts to be held to a higher standard here, because it is much more comfortable, and easier, to wallow in mediocrity – a mediocrity which is collectively shared by Filipino society.

A society that is merely content with the “least unacceptable” produces and encourages leaders and politicians who are merely content with being “the least unacceptable”. Aiming for higher standard pushes Filipinos out of their comfort zones – an absolute no-no for Filipinos who are satisfied with their mediocrity. Filipinos who want to go beyond the culture of mediocrity and who want to speak out against the misdeeds of their countrymen are often forced into silent submission.

Being acceptable, in the context of Philippine elections, however, takes a whole new meaning. It is not platform or competence based. It throws such evaluation out the window, and focuses on emotional reception and perception. How do you make your audience feel?

Showing competence is perceived as a threat; the masses will perceive you as arrogant and an excessive braggart. Having a platform is irrelevant because Filipinos can’t be bothered to read or think and ask critical questions. They are unnecessarily deferential to their public servants; to hold them accountable is a difficult and gargantuan task.

Manipulating the audience’s emotions to one’s favor is done here by singing and dancing on stage, giving freebies, sharing details of one’s personal life, using one’s dead relatives to generate sympathy, and so on. It’s actually very easy; Filipinos are very emotional and as such, are suckers for these kinds of hooks.

So who is going to win the Philippine elections? The candidate who can command best the Filipinos’ emotions.

If they don’t wise up, the Filipinos are doomed to perpetually make the emotionally satisfying, least unacceptable, but not necessarily beneficial choices.


About FallenAngel

А вы, друзья, как ни садитесь, все в музыканты не годитесь. - But you, my friends, however you sit, not all as musicians fit.

Post Author: FallenAngel

А вы, друзья, как ни садитесь, все в музыканты не годитесь. - But you, my friends, however you sit, not all as musicians fit.

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17 Comments on "Philippine elections: perpetually about the ‘least unacceptable’"

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To paraphrase “1984”:

If you want a picture of the future, imagine Philippine elections … FOREVER.

If you read the Old Testament in the Christian Bible; you will read about the people called: Israelites. These people were just freed by their leader , Moses, from their slavery in Egypt. They were on the way to their “Promised Land”, as God had promised to them. The ancient Israelites, had the same mindsets as the Filipinos. From Egypt, to the Promised Land, it took only eleven (11) days journey. However, God made them wander in the desert, for forty (40) years. Going around and around , in the stupid mountains. It was their Bad Character and Bad Attitudes,… Read more »
My own opinion on this subject , Filipinos are smart people they adapt to anything , they can improvised, it may not last but it works for its intended purpose, they are good actors for their hidden intentions, and more….. than many Caucasian people has. but they don’t use it wisely and sometimes legally oh well maybe more than occasionally. Most of its population stays where they were born and never ventures away from their birthplace and just routinely follow what their ancestors do generations after generations, by my expirience , one will never saw anything better unless you wander… Read more »

Just because the Failipinos pain is understandable, doesn’t mean their behavior is acceptable.

In fact, it’s a total crap BS.

Reality is such a bitch, ain’t it Failipinos?

I hope in amending the Constitution, they will insert another option during elections among the presidential and vice-presidential candidates in the ballot – “Find me another candidate.” Actually, this is what I felt in 2010. And if the “Find me another candidate” get the most votes, COMELEC will be duty-bound to repeat the process of finding a new set of candidates. Oh those who lost, well, “sorry, the majority have spoken and they don’t like you. You had your chance.” If only we can divide the Philippines. I mean those who will vote for Binay may have their own Philippines… Read more »

How can we change the electorate? How can we encourage the middle class and the lower to unite and inspire them to make wise decisions?

Niall R

Here in the UK there is a TV series called Dragon’s Den.In it,budding young entrepreneurs make a pitch to a panel of 3 established entrepreneurs for funding to develop their business ideas.As the money is the panel’s own,they are looking for ideas that have the potential to provide a good return.I believe that the dissection of not only the business plan but the applicant’s ability to deliver it can be quite brutal at times.
Can you imagine a similar format applied to presidential wannabes? Could you find a panel?
Market it as X Factor for politicos!!

Juan Dela Cruz III

Educated or uneducated they vote the same way because we are Filipinos.


That’s the reason of the Yellow Zombies in 2010: choose the “lesser evil.” It may be lesser, but it’s still evil! Maybe Filipinos like “evil” people, much like how they liked criminals in the movies of the 70s. It’s like they don’t like anyone good anymore.