A lot of people are ‘shocked’ that embattled Philippine Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr is still planning to run for President in 2016. After all, he is one of three Senators being charged by the Department of Justice in relation to the pork barrel scam. But, really, the premise behind his bid for the Philipppines’ highest office is quite simple…
Revilla is right, of course. Anyone can be Philippine president as long as Filipinos “ask for it”. The presidency, after all, is a minimalist office as far as qualifications are concerned. One just needs to be popular enough to win an election.
“If we need to sail in 2016, as long as our countrymen ask for it, I’ll be up to it because I’m innocent of the charges being hurled at me,” Revilla said in an interview on radio dwIZ. “I can look every Filipino in the eye, and I have nothing to fear.”
In short, a decision to run for Philippine president comes down to winnability.
There is, after all, tens of millions of pesos at stake. This is the magnitude of funds required to mount a successful presidential campaign. But that does not count the tens if not hundreds of millions at stake for a president’s backers. Often this comes in the form of quarantees of sweetheart deals in the bidding for government contracts within a presidential term. So when a candidate is seen to be winnable, he will get the backing and the funds to do just that.
But, Bong Revilla is implicated in the Philippines’ crime of the century??
Yes he is. But, you see, what is at work when one sees it that way is a mind conditioned by the norms of ‘civil society’. What we in the so-called “intelligentsia” think does not, necessarily mirror what the Philippine masses — the 95 percent of Pinoy humanity we often forget exist — think.
We need look no further than what happened during the last senatorial elections. Every social media hack and “activist” huffed and puffed about how grossly-unqualified candidates like Nancy Binay were to be a Philippine senator. Yet, as we know now, she, topped the polls along with showbiz child Grace Poe.
Binay and Poe were both highly-reviled by the chattering classes for what was perceived to be their audacious bids for those offices given their “qualifications”.
So now it is Revilla’s turn to be the subject of an online campaign to ridicule yet another audacious bid for not just a top office but the top office of the land. Given this, would-be “activists” should ask themselves a key strategic question: Should all their sloganeering be directed against Revilla? Or should these be directed towards the Filipino Voter.
The truth about Philippine democracy is inescapable. Filipinos choose their leaders. As such, the quality of their leaders mirror the national character. That’s not a very complicated equation. It’s as straightforward as it gets in terms of explaining why the Philippines is what it is.
The challenge, therefore, is in coming to terms with and ameliorating the stark reality that 95% of the Philippine electorate do not think the way we do and may just go out and vote Revilla for President in 2016. He’s got the looks, he’s got the presence, and, thanks to this noisy circus, he got the media mileage. Bad publicity, after all, is better than no publicity. And when it comes to the Philippine electorate, there are no bad or good politicians — only popular ones.
If Revilla does become President of the Philippines in 2016, there’s certainly gonna be interesting times ahead, specially for all the pork barrel suspects that have been laughing all the way to the bank under the watch of President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III
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