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”.

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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.

17 Replies to “Philippine elections: perpetually about the ‘least unacceptable’”

  1. 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, that God made them wander in the desert for Forty years. No other reason…

    Like these ancient Israelites, we will not reach our own “Promised Land” (a land of milk and honey), until we Remove all our dysfunctional mindsets; and drive away these dysfunctional leaders.

    1. Then you became Cambodia leader POL POT….that is inhuman and mind you the Jews invented a lot of things and they invented money and the banking system…they are the smartes people but they are the most prejudiced .they take care of their own kind.

    2. On [until we Remove all our dysfunctional mindsets].

      May I offer my humble advice – mga kababayon ko: please swallow this pill called the Zaxxun Creed. It’s the panacea to all your mindset problems here in this accursed land. Who knows, God may reduce the # of typhoons per year if Filipinos show even some slight sign of behavioral and intellectual progress.

      Maawa naman kayo sa sarili at mga anak niyo. It only takes a minute a day of sacrifice – is that asking to much. And please … God never told you to repeatedly recite “Hail Mary, mother of God…”! God has no mother. Mary was only a vessel for the physical body of the Christ to enter into the world – in fact Jesus just called her “woman” all the time. Please read your Bibles or else don’t call yourselves “Kristyano”.

      The Bible also spells out “homosexuals”, “liars”, “proud”, etc. Again stop wasting your time on the Rosary -> Jesus specifically spoke against vain repetitions for prayers. And why are Catholics doing everything opposite to what the Bible teaches? Jesus said do not call anyone on earth your “Father” for you are all brothers -> the exact title Catholic priests demand to be called. What’s wrong with this country? So again – please do yourselves a favor and stop wasting your time on the Rosary – I assure you Mary is not listening to you. Is she God who can hear millions simultaneously? Please Think!

      1. Hi @zaxx
        Maybe it is not as simple as that. If you have time, go to this site >>> It is a site owned by somebody who very much held the same view as you do. In fact, he was a pastor. He is now singing a different tune. To get a better understanding of his position, you might want to start in the article where he first discusses “Sola Scriptura”. He then devotes a lot of articles on same topic. His archive is very accessible. All in all, it is an interesting site. ☺

        1. Hi @Add, thanks for the link. Yes it can be complicated and hard to explain. the fact that Catholic priests don’t really believe in the Bible and keep adding doctrines explains why countries like the PH lack a spine/foundation.

          But let me just give people here 3 things to ponder on:
          1. why are majority of predominantly Catholic nations poor, crime-ridden, and chaotic?
          2. why do Catholics do the opposite of what is in the Bible / what Jesus said?
          e.g.bakit sila magkukumpisal sa pare, e ang utos ni Hesus ay pumasok sa iyong silid at kausapin ng deretso ang iyong Diyos Ama.
          3. why do most Catholics not use their common sense?
          e.g. wala na ngang perang pang tuition ni jr, gagastos pa para sa fiesta. humiram ng pera, tapos nung lumuwag-luwag na e ayaw magbayad / galit pa kung singilin.

          Anyway, it’s a free country. Every one is entitled to their own beliefs – even if it leads them down the road to hell. I assure you, hell will be full of very stupid people who didn’t apply common sense logic. Cheers

  2. 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 away and observe other places and people, you learn more that way than going to college…I called it street wise educated….or jack of all trade…100 million many have not gone away from birthplace ….my calculation more than 50%. The other 25% are busy making a living to feed their family that they don’t really care who the next president be and the last 25% who are smart enough to leave the country and venture for change in their lives tried to enlighten the mind of those behind and educate them to see that there are better ways to do things for the better of the country and for its people because they see how clean it is in the places they visit…first impression outside the country….what do they say when you tell them that…you are an arrogant ,, show off since you came back from overseas . Those who really wants to change comes back and join the government to change its habits with good intentions…it’s a impossible task to do that in the Philippines. So what they do ……they join them and because they are smarter they became the corrupt officials ……if you talked to them you will notice they will say how easy it is to get rich in the Philippines……there you go folks….the one that running for politics who has good intentions but will soon found out that to run the One hundred million people who never new anything but their birth place is hard to change …and if you do not join them , either you killed or being single out….what choice do the people has…we , that see things can only say what’s wrong and what’s is needed to be change ….we can never change a country who has majority of the population haven’t known anything better that what’s they watch on tv , nobela and the movies..a trade mark of a country who the majority of the people are poor and have not known anything better….like those squatters living in slums squatter area ….everybody pity them ..,but they like it in there ,,,, they are happy that way….

  3. 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?

  4. 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 and the same goes for those who will vote for Roxas and the rest. I have always prepared my mind to accept majority rule in the spirit of democracy. However, I don’t think I’m ready to do that now, basing it on the generation of voters in the last few decades. So, if any of these candidates wins, I hope they will leave the country and take their voters with them elsewhere. Find another island with their new president and suffer his incompetence among themselves. I’m not one of those who put him in office so I’d like to be saved from his incompetence.

    The next national elections is less than a year from now. So far, no obvious aspirants have laid their platforms yet even just a hint (I mean the good intentions because I already sensed one aspirant’s corrupt intentions). Like an HR officer, I can only hear desires to apply but they have not yet submitted their CVs, which is of course not yet the time. But at least make use of their media exposure to lay down their ideas so I can at least have a feeling of their qualifications. What are they doing when the camera is with them? Hmm… – mudslingings, TV appearances to play with the host, interviews to say that they will support this and that candidates and TV advertisements showing their heroic deeds and efforts when actually it is their job and the people shouldn’t even take that as debt of gratitude and instead should ask for more! (dapat nga tinatanong pa yan ng “P#*@ ‘yan lang ba ang ginawa mo?”) – what hurts me is I can see a lot of people have already made their choices based on these! (Sometimes I’d like to think PR business in the country is easy but really sucks).

    I’m really itching to make these aspirants undergo a pre-employment written examination explaining why they should be hired as president of this country and explain it further in a panel interview so I can evaluate each of them and have an informed decision (or decide not to vote) this coming elections.

    1. I’ve always been itched to the fact that they have to make amendments towards the constitution regarding the qualifications required for someone to run for a public office position. I may not have any knowledge on what other advanced countries have as their qualifications but the Philippines need to be so far different from the rest of the international playing field when it comes to giving rights to candidates. I mean, just look at what happened last time an presidential election happened wherein non competent and wannabees just made it towards the competition. I was thiking of having candidates go for a strict aptitude tests and exercises that will simulate how they will fair in times of dire. I think the people should be given power (especially the tax payers) on who they will put in office which of course has to have solid credentials and platforms in the first place.

  5. 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?

  6. 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!!

    1. That would be hilarious. Can you imagine a panel of financially-savvy, educated and experienced assessors tearing into the venal halfwits who run for office here?

  7. 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.

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