Showbiz government set to rule as Grace Poe and Erap Estrada take early leads in poll count

There’s really not much you can say about the outcome of the 2013 elections other than to invoke those famous last words: Told ya so.

grace_poeThe proverbial pig is a lot bigger than its proverbial lips. So you may put as much lipstick as you want on said lips, and the fact will still remain there that there is 200 pounds of pig behind them. Not only is Grace Poe, the daughter of the late screen legend Fernando Poe Jr (FPJ) leading by a huge margin in the mad scramble to grab a porky seat in the Senate, that other former screen legend Joseph Ejercito “Erap” Estrada looks set to bag the mayor’s seat in the nation’s capital city.

Ain’t democracy just grand? Nothing beats this noble system of government when it comes to reflecting the real collective character of an entire people.

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Most notable of all is the emergence of an interesting common denominator: former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Recall that it was Arroyo who ascended to presidential power on the back of an illegal but arguably popular removal of Erap from the presidency in 2001. Was it really a popular revolt that ousted legitimately-elected Erap from Malacañang back then? More than a million bozos who trooped to Edsa in what was billed “EDSA II” would like to think so even if voters using a legitimate channel to select him as their president clearly begged to differ earlier.

But the popularity of a notion, as we have shown many times before and are being reminded of now, does not necessarily imply righteousness. Erap, after all, was a duly-elected President of the Republic and as much as our modern-day “social media practitioners” stomp their feet about the questionable population sampling methods of the SWS and Pulse Asia in the surveys they issued and that were used to prime voters’ minds in the lead up to the polls, there was as little challenge to the question of whether the Edsa II mob really represented the Filipino people in 2001. As I wrote back then…

We had in recent memory removed a president in a blatant disregard of constitutionally-prescribed procedure and installed a new president who then proceeded to govern by virtue of the very same Constitution that her ascent to power had trampled upon!

Arroyo also ran for re-election against the late FPJ in 2004 in what was widely believed to be an exercise rigged in Arroyo’s favour. But those who worry their pointed heads off over whether or not any of this alleged “cheating” really occurred in 2004 miss the real point of whether or not this “re-election” exercise itself was a valid one to begin with. Again as I wrote in my typically prescient style back then…

Conveniently, Ms. Arroyo has since been “re-elected” constitutionally (something possible in a nation that loosely defines the term) in 2004. Or has she? That question is now the buzz of 2005 [as the chattering classes of the day rail against the alleged cheating in 2004] — another one of those all-too-common things that distract the Pinoy from that elusive job of nation building (remember the concept? Not.). That little after-the-fact legalisation of the 2003 power grab that we thought had been neatly swept under the rug (a la tapal Vulcaseal) is something worth bringing up now as the nation lurches towards another dose of its favourite laxative — Fiesta Revolution! We need to remind ourselves yet again that we in fact not only deserve each other, we deserve the Philippine Government.

Fast forward to 2013 and behold the funny way things turn out. It turns out those candidates who profess to be “makamasa” (for the masses) aren’t really that popular amongst the masses they presume to represent after all. Perhaps they would have been a bit more pesuasive to the common folk behind the butt of an AK-47 where they originally belonged than while strutting about all dolled up pretending to participate in legitimate “democracy” before the television cameras. It turns out that social media noise is only noisy amongst those who were under the illusion that the proverbial lips of the proverbial pig represented all of Filipino sentiment. It turns out surveys based on “random samples” don’t really provide a true picture of what common folk would actually do once in the precincts, ballot is in hand.

And it turns out that the names Estrada and Poe remain every bit as potent mind candy as they were back in 1998 (when Erap was elected president) and 2004 (when FPJ was allegedly “cheated” out of the presidency) respectively.

As the old Tagalog dialect saying goes: Maraming namamatay sa akala.

That the Philippines is a “democracy” is perhaps the akalas to end all akalas.

One only needs to look a mere three years back to understand that Filipino voters do not really know the issues, nor care to understand them even if thrust before their faces. The current president Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III prevailed in 2010 against highly-qualified and experienced people propelled by nothing more than slogans written around nebulous notions of what good and peachy things Filipinos are entitled to while gliding on the hot air of his illustrious parents’ heroic pedigrees. Coming in a close second in the 2010 results was none other than Erap himself.

Is there really a system that works for the Filipino? The late Teodoro “Teddy” Benigno in his seminal 2003 piece Parliamentary system not for Philippines: The wherefores explains within the context of the flawed notion that a “change in system of government” guarantees a great future for a long-wretched people. Benigno cites what, for now, is an insurmountable cultural flaw that has consistently thwarted any effort to “reform” Philippine society at its roots.

Actually, the system of government varied in ritual from country to country [in East Asia]. But even as the ritual varied, the orders always originated from above where the “leader” dictated the agenda and program of government. Disciplined work brigades vied with each other to break performance records, and the best were amply rewarded with decorations and even material awards. Parliaments and congresses existed in some countries, but they were largely docile, toothless rubber stamps whose membership was decided by the government. In all instances, they were one-party organizations. This did away with unnecessary, time-consuming debates and florid discussions. The road ahead was cleared by skilled bureaucrats.

It was this full-fisted, no-nonsense government that brought about change in Asia. Democracy and the parliamentary system were of no concern to Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, China’s Deng Xiaoping, Japan’s dynamic Meiji elite, Malaysia’s Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, South Korea’s Park Chung-hee, Thailand’s first ruling crop of nationalist and entrepreneurial generals, Taiwan’s Chiang Ching-Kuo. It was they, and their culture wrapped in Asian values that changed their way of life for the better. And changed Asia.

The voice that mattered was that of the respected leader ‘ strong intrepid, highly intelligent, compelling, commanding. Lee Kuan Yew is the archetype. The issues that mattered were cocooned in ideas and concepts that, however, innovative, stuck to party ideology. The ethic that mattered most was unrelenting work. The emotion that overrode everything else was love of country. They had to succeed, catch up with the West.

An obsession to succeed through unrelenting work and consistent application of real skill and intelligence.

Do the popularly-elected leaders and representatives of Filipinos today embody these virtues? Think again. Truly this is a democracy of the very few and a tyranny of the vastly numerous.

23 Replies to “Showbiz government set to rule as Grace Poe and Erap Estrada take early leads in poll count”

  1. Philippines Got Trapos (PGT) – auditions over.

    As i head off to europe for a break, at least i can rest assured that nothing will change in my absence, and be confident that the new/old batch of clowns will provide more entertainment for the masses, and will neither be serious, nor taken seriously.

    In fact, looking at the flotsam and jestsam being washed up onto the political shore it is hard not to think that the nation is suffering from ‘telenovela syndrome’ where fantasy becomes reality, and the real fantasy is to escape mentally or physically at the first opportunity

    Au revoir et bonne chance.

    “In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.”
    ― Napoleon Bonaparte

  2. Looks like shalani soledad wont get into congress – one sensible decision at least.
    Also shows that being f@cked by pnoy is not career enhancing.
    Anyone hear of grace lee lately!

  3. Again the commons have shown themselves as people who can be easily swayed by the glitter of a famous name. Are the majority of our people really that stupid? Even I can accept that they are that stupid. My only consolation is that I did not vote for those candidates who only have a famous name as their virtue or being endorsed by BSA.

  4. The election of the ironing board with nipples – nancy binay – has given kris aquino hope that the human hamburger – josh – can also make it in the future and keep mummys boy – bimby – for films and endorsements.
    The aquino women clearly don’t know how to raise men.

  5. The requirements for campaining for an office is the government specially in the senate must be change. I would like to see that people who are running for office have a degree in law or any related, besides their job is to create laws, thus dubbing them lawmakers. There should be a pre screening of candidates that are eligible. Thus ruling out people that has no potential in doing their jobs.

    I remember when I was in Elementary where you vote base on popularity and the amount of money your willing to pay to the school.I see no difference, it just got bigger.

  6. Too bad there is no libertarian movement in the Philippines at all. No libertarian politicians. Even the “best” (though they’re still shit) politicos we have are still statists. Libertarianism is the answer to prosperity.

  7. It is a Show Biz government. Complete with real actors, actresses, etc…We don’t have clowns…we have people with Plastic surgery elected. Hocus PCOS of Aquino prevailed. Worse than the cheating of Marcos.

  8. And Kris Aquino for 2016 presidency will complete the Philippine Showbiz Government. Nothing will stop this to happen. Told you so.

  9. With only one LP member being elected to the senate – bam aquino ( arroyo supporter and who only joined LP earlier this year), team pnoy will disintegrate as jockeying for 2016 starts.

    With vp binay being a strong contender senators will think carefully about their long term futures and follow the money/perceived winner.

    The critical decision will be choice of senate president – if it is not drilon then LP is definitely toast in 2016.

    Mar roxas will not be the LP challenger and so they will have a problem who to field and who could be vp candidate. A lack of capable or appealing candidates.

    Binay will have more choice for vp candidate and will undoubtedly field the A-team.

    and estrada as manila mayor will now have significant influence in 2016

    Ochoa et al will no doubt spend the next 3 years more intetested in padding their bank accounts than anything else as political oblivion beckons.

  10. Trying to applying for a job here and I was amazed at just how much college level schooling and experience I would need for a simple 30,000 peso’s a month job and yet these candidates are schooled in what? specialized training and experience where? I feel that not a candidate would pass any of these tests for a simply job in Manila and yet they are the ones running the lives of Millions of Philippine citizens, where’s the cometancy test or cry for one from the citizens. I had a couple of buddies that did attend college here, well they partied and didn’t have to go to college and the fee was a bottle of Jack Daniels or Black Label ever two or weekly, I feel that many of the political appointee’s just rule from their throne with a slew of college graduates that have a clue but and are hindered by bad judgment calls from the newly elected celebrities.

  11. The winners of the elections were decided months ago.
    as predicted Binay, Poe and all the rest of the ‘favored’…WON!
    The system is rigged. Anyone who does not realize this is just SAD! the ‘automated’ machines are, AUTOMATED!
    as in AUTOMATIC, see?

  12. A dictatorship uses fear to grab you by the balls.

    A dynastic system appeals to the heart through emotions

    A democracy employs logic and aims for the head

  13. 3 months times 33 candidates = 99 months (15 years of talk) and 100 million pesos times 33 (average – boosted by villar!), but any platforms, new initiatives/visions?

    My 30 minute brainstorm with my students. Imagine what they could do given 15 years and 3 billion pesos!

    S.P.E.C.T.R.U.M –
    An all encompassing, and integrated, platform for progress and prosperity ensuring synergy, economies of scale and co-ordination through joint-awareness/marketing/development/communication.

    Social transformation – equality
    – ‘living’ democracy
    : crowdstorming
    : online reporting
    : media debates/analysis
    – streamlining of legal bureaucracy
    – service excellence/standards
    – eliminate contractualisation
    – school meals
    – CCT review
    – salary differentials/min. wage
    – OFW support/human rights
    – NGO rationalisation/co-ordination
    – integrated tax system
    – water/toilet access
    – re-cycling initiatives

    Political reformation – accountability
    – anti dynasty law
    – freedom of information (FoI)
    – abolish pork barrel
    – ? abolish senate
    – on line SALN’s/performance
    – ? Role of gov/vice-gov.
    – service excellence
    – priority based budgeting
    – 6 monthly reporting/benchmarking (KPI’s)
    – reduce GOCC’s
    – foreign ownership of property
    – ideology based parties
    – ? election funding rules
    – senators on regional basis
    – ? Review party list abuses

    Entrepreneurial creativity – inclusive growth
    – micro-finance initiatives
    – scholarship programme
    – standards framework
    – channel marketing
    – medical tourism
    – eco-tourism
    – retirement villages
    – ease of doing business
    – ASEAN 2015 membership
    – Pan Pacific Partnership (PPP)
    – tech work-storms/conferences
    – national awards/funds

    Cultural diversity – quality
    – media/arts programme
    – new talent opportunities
    – craft villages
    – advanced media courses
    – corporate investment in arts

    Technological innovation – added value
    – ICT dept & strategy
    – value chain uplift
    – integrated govt. sytems
    – local design – software/apps
    – agricultural sector

    Regional infrastructure – wealth distribution
    – airports/roads
    – clean up environment/pride
    – environmental rules
    – mining regulations
    – reforestation

    Universal education – opportunity
    – vocational centres of excellence
    – corporate partnerships
    – modular learning
    – life-long learning
    – professional qualifications
    – online teaching academy
    – school computers/tablets
    – visiting lecturers

    Manufacturing development – job creation
    – 60/40 constitutional amendment
    – anti-trust laws
    – tax breaks

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