Filipino voters should let go of their fixation on celebrity candidates like Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla

Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla consistently being in the Top 12 senatoriables list in this year’s elections (according to SWS and Pulse Asia polls) illustrates the whole trouble with Philippine society. One wonders what bases surveyed members of the electorate apply when selecting these poltiicians.

Both Estrada and Revilla, as we know, were in detention on charges of corruption. Thus it is quite baffling that they continue to attract the trust of many Filipino voters. Estrada for one is running against his half brother, JV Ejercito. But despite the latter boasting a sterling track record of legislative achievement, the earlier ranks higher in popularity in these polls.

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The key common denominator underlying the popularity of Revilla and Estrada as well as that other non-performer, Lito Lapid, is their previous stints in showbiz. At the end of the day, being showbiz celebrities remains a potent ingredient to political success for the otherwise unqualified and even criminally-tainted.

All three are sure wins. Their victory mirrors the character of a society that chooses to be represented by them. This is the democracy Filipinos signed up to. The reality about their society that the outcomes of elections — essentially popularity contests — reveal is laid bare for all to come to terms with.

This anti-intellectual trait ingrained in the fabric of Filipino society has long been recognised. My colleague Ilda wrote about it back in 2014

The problem with our society is that we Filipinos put more emphasis on the personality behind our public servants. Instead of focusing on what matters, we care more about the trivial stuff, which are irrelevant in our goal to bring our country from Third World to First. We care more about our favorite politician’s girlfriend or wife, what they wear and what kind of car they drive. It’s as if knowing that we voted for someone who is dating a celebrity or someone who is driving a Porsche would actually help us feel secure that the country is in good hands.

This indeed is a disturbing aspect of Filipino culture that contributes obstacles to progress. A fixation on comfort zones rather than the potential rewards of trying new things and experimenting with novel alternatives is one that is evidently fatal for the societies of developing countries.

There are many alternatives to choose from, discounting, of course, the Otso Diretso coalition who represent the interests of the usual suspects in the oligarchy who have a lot invested in maintaining the Philippines’ unjust and dishonest political and industrial status quo. Indeed, there are candidates who ask all the confronting questions that neither incumbent nor traditional Opposition camps would touch with a ten foot pole. These are the sorts of politicians Filipinos need to embrace — people who are willing to challenge tradition.

The continued popularity of politicians like Estrada and Revilla says a lot about the sort of society Filipinos constitute. Rather than think their problems through carefully and chart intelligent pathways forward, they would rather blindly surrender the future of their country to people on the basis of their star power.

19 Replies to “Filipino voters should let go of their fixation on celebrity candidates like Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla”

  1. The movie star candidates rely on the “bobotante” among us. None of the three – Estrada, Lapid, Revilla – deserve to be senators; they’re all tainted with corruption. We do have excellent choices if we open our minds to the need for change and I’d like to name at least five, namely, Gen. Bato de la Rosa, SAP Bong Go, Dr. Willie Ong, Governor Imee Marcos, and Rep. Dong Mangudadatu. To the best of my knowledge, they represent a cross-section of society devoted to serving our nation. I won’t even consider any of the candidates of Otso Diretso sa Impierno who are worst than Estrada, Lapid and Revilla.

  2. Filipinos who are in the ‘bakya crowd” go to movies; see these actors/actresses who perform “superhuman works”, then become movie story heroes, that made people live happily ever after…in the movie story.

    The fantasy scene in the movie stories, are translated into the political scene in our country. By the fixated minds of these movie goers, with the belief, that these actors/actresses, can really be Superheroes, that can do Superhuman works, in our problem laden county. And that, they can make us all live happily ever after.

    So, when these barely literate actors/actresses ,who are mostly uneducated are eleted. the people who elected them find out their fantasies into reality. That they elected actors/actresses, who turned out to be :incompetent, corrupt and amoral. We even elected a President like that…

    The fixated people got what they wanted…all of us suffers !

  3. The “non-bobotantes” have a shared responsibility in this.
    There must be a way out of this madness.

  4. if the old pre requisite to run for government is still on these two and more couldn’t be qualify to run as government officials.
    Why did the yellow cult change it?

  5. The failure of Getrealphilippines and the failed attempts to transplant American GOP politics here in the country are the result of a failure of understanding. Without understanding that your reliance on such surface level considerations as logic or legal processes, with your slavish devotion to reason and logic and lies like progrrss, coupled with your vague recommendations and your nonsensical rejection of truth, it’s no wonder this site ends up reflecting the real problem of the “FILIPINO TRYING TO SOLVE FILIPINO PROBLEMS”.

    That they fail to realize that they only have annoying barbs that masturbate the ego while not challenging the degenerate system’s core values, instead continuing to elevate, shows the level of weakness on display here. One that will only be solved with a true recognition of spiritual and biological realities.

    We won’t vote our way out of this problem. Nor will we be able to think our way out of this. We neef something more total. Both revolutionary and Eternalist.

  6. Paradoxically, relative to the article, benign0, back then, did not even give a hint of detestation or enmity nor lift a finger of dissent when President Duterte was considering/appointing some people from the entertainment industry to his administration.

    Arnell Ignacio, Actor
    – Deputy Executive Director V, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration
    – AVP for the Community Relation and Services Department, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR)

    Mocha Uson, Entertainer/ Blogger
    – Board member, Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB)
    – ASEC, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO)

    Aiza Seguerra, Actor/ Singer
    – Chairperson, National Youth Commission (NYC)

    Liza Diño, Actress
    – Chairperson, Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP)

    Jimmy Bondoc, singer-songwriter
    – AVP for Entertainment, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR)

    Kat de Castro, TV personality
    – USEC for Tourism Advocacy and Public Affairs, Department of Tourism (DOT)

    Cesar Montano, Actor
    – Chief Operating Officer, Department of Tourism (DOT)

    RJ Jacinto, Musician and entrepreneur
    – USEC/Presidential Adviser on Economic Affairs and Information Technology Communications

    Freddie Aguilar, Singer
    – His supposed appointment (and acceptance) as head of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) was met with just one problem: the NCCA chairmanship can only be decided via elections (which left ka-Freddie’s presidential appointment hanging). He declared that he will “revolutionize filipino culture” if he gets the position in NCCA. Now he wants to be Senator!

    In fairness to Jinggoy, as a Senator, according to the Senate website, ranks fourth (4th) among the list of Senators with the most number of proposed legislations filed in the Upper House. He introduced two hundred eighty-nine (289) bills and resolutions, two hundred forty-nine (249) of which were primarily authored by him.

    Duterte, as a congressman from 1998 to 2001, only had 64 – 45 House bills, 18 House resolutions, and one House joint resolution. He authored of 11 House bills, with one getting enacted into law – Republic Act 8969, which declared every third Friday of August a special holiday in Davao City.

  7. The REAL reason why those celebs like Manny Pacquiao, Tito Sotto, Jinggoy Estrada, Lito Lapid, etc., etc. are always winning in the election is because not only the stupidity of the Filipino voters (thanks to being a 3rd World country & Filipinos are lazy & dumb) but also the current Yellow constitution are too weak & too lax that contains it (e.g. High school graduates are allow to run for a president for as long as he/she is able to read & write, then that’s it! It’s magic!!!)

    So that’s why I’m in favor of Charter Change by President Duterte in order to end this misery in our country & end the idiocracy of Philippine politics which are run by these entertainers who can’t fix our own country in a right way! Let’s end this Yellow Constitution! Yes to Duterte’s Federalism!!!

  8. …the problem is, the storage is smaller than the file to be transfered. that’s why the machines hangs up.

  9. I hate Bong being there but why is few people commenting about Lito Lapid. That guy has been in senate some time ago and hadn’t done shit, that’s why he wasn’t reelected before. Now he shows up in Probinsyano for free promotion and everyone thinks he is whatever his character is in that show.

  10. stop fooling the pilipinos, just do a manual recounts of the ballots. that is called transparency.

    1. @salagintong bukid
      Yeah we should bring back the manual counting, ‘cuz those Comelec & SmartMAGIC had already manipulating the election results for the past 9 years since it was introduced the automation election in 2010 & it even gets worst than the manual one!!! And to prove that I’ll show you a Youtube link video that you could watch it, and if you remember last week when a costumed Spider-man had appeared out of thin air in the middle of Game 5 on PBA All Filipino Cup Finals between San Miguel Beermen vs Magnolia Hotshots & he’d accidentally bumped Junmar Fajardo & later he was captured by the securities. And that person who’d disguise as Spidey is none other than Paolo Felizarta & I’ll give you a link to watch his video, and he have a very powerful & truthful messages to all of us:

      And now the next question will be if we’re gonna bring back the manual vote counting, then how we should know if the elections in our country will never gonna happen again like the massive cheating on the election results, election related violence & even those dumb*** celebrities will NEVER be on the Philippine politics in which it was a huge problems & burden to our country for more than 30 years? Well if President Duterte will successfully change the constitution in our country from a bicameral/Presidential form of gov’t to a parliamentary/Federal form of gov’t & when there’ll be an election in our country, then the best & the most transparent way to do that is to have an Electoral Vote rather than Popular Vote just like what the US did for more than 150 years which is also known as Electoral College:

      1. And speaking of Electoral College, here, I’d found this Youtube video on how the Electoral College & electoral votes work but since this video is mostly focus on the US Election but there are some countries that also adopting this kind of electoral system, especially on the 4:31 clip on this video, it foretells that why the Electoral College is very essential to a country like the US & that’s what our country is missing: THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE CANNOT STEAL THE VOTES!!! And that is why there are so many electoral frauds, scandals & election related violence that hampers our country for more than 30 years when there’s an election. So here’s the video that you should watch it & inform:

        I hope that on the proposed Charter Change of President Duterte should use this kind of electoral system in our country in again just like what I’d said it, in order to eliminate the massive cheating on the election, there’ll be more transparent & to eliminate those pesky dumb***es celebrities to run & rule on the Philippine politics.

  11. Four days now and they’re still counting??? it should be done the following day if they did manual voting and counting.

    1. …. i just realized that it’s ok to use smartmatic machines but do not use ‘SD Cards’ … just issue voters receipt and drop in for manual counting. it is transparency election for sure.

      1. @Salagintong Bukid:

        SD Card hold the Memory Files of the SMARTSWITIK. It holds the files of the votes and the counts of the votes. So, if they tinker with the S..D. Memory Cards: it is possible to revise on who are the winners, who are the losers; who are the Top lists; who are the bottom lists. The USB Flash Drive holds the operational programs, and other vital files of the SMARTMAGIC.

        Any Filipinos, who is not educated in Information Technology, will never understand what the IT Technicians are doing to the SMARTMAGIC. This happened in the Lugaw Robredo’s VP election win.

        Did it happened in this 2019 election ? I don’t know. But, the delay of the election results concerned me !

        1. @Salagintong Bukid:

          At the canvassing of votes, it is easy to switch Pre Loaded SD Cards, from the True counts of votes SD Memory Cards. There is not Audit system imposed by COMELEC on preventing this matter to happen. There is no Audit system done by COMELEC to safeguard the INTEGRITY of elections.

          In truth , COMELEC, is even a party to cheat in elections. Look at the case of former COMELEC Chief Andres Bautista. He is already rich and is hiding and enjoying his wealth in the U.S.A.

  12. which one the most important, voter’s receipts or the sd cards?
    Why are they relying on transmittal of votes from sd cards instead of the voter’s receipt?
    Now, which one is transparency there? don’t tell me it’s the sd cards? every IT expert knows the smartmatic machines can print the voter’s receipt without an sd cards in it..period.

  13. We often confuse determination with its evil twin: fixation. While determination is our ability to stand our ground while pursuing our goals. Fixation, on the other hand, is an unhealthy attachment to an ideal.

  14. Celebrities are the teachers of the masses when the media made their every words so big and heavy that ordinary Pilipinos think that they are always the right people.

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