The Opposition is now on the Defense following the debacle that was ABS-CBN starlet Angel Locsin’s community pantry birthday bash (pardon the pun). What started as a nod to the renowned Filipino tradition of birthday celebrants hosting “palamon” (food treat to friends and, in the case of politicians and VIPs, the community) turned into something just short of The Great Wowowee Stampede of 2006 that left 88 dead.
Locsin was turned into a larger-than-life personality by her fandom even before this disaster owing to her portrayal of Filipino folk superhero Darna in the 2005 GMA Network TV fantasy-drama Darna. Not content with muddling together real life and reel life, Opposition partisans latched on to Locsin’s activism as well making her a key personality in their campaign to vilify the government of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Such vilification campaigns have been revealed to be a lazy strategy applied by an intellectually-bankrupt Opposition that, with just 12 months to go before the next national elections, still lack a coherent campaign platform and a “winnable” leader.
So now consistent with the low quality of the brains applied to their rhetoric, the position the chi chi “activists” and “thought leaders” of the Opposition have taken in light of the evidently ill-thought-out and ultimately ill-fated community pantry circus staged yesterday is to highlight that Locsin has since apologised. Served with a good helping of whataboutism to their choir, this has since been the cornerstone of the broader politicised apologism Opposition “influencers” have been screaming out on social media.
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Of course most can easily see through all that and read the dishonest subtext of this quaint celebrity apology bannering — that “we” need to be excused for this debacle because the “poor” needed to be “helped” and that there were so many of this “poor” because Duterte “didn’t do his job”.
Well, to be fair, whatever works, right?
If the Opposition choose to float their boat by using Duterte — yet again — as a scapegoat for the failure of Locsin’s little fete to achieve its “good” intent, then by all means they should knock themselves out. The only thing to look out for is whether this approach actually adds converted Filipino voters to their bid to win in 2022. For those who harbour plans to illegally unseat Duterte before them, perhaps take stock to see whether community pantries can be framed as “the new people power” movement.
If nothing of this sort of political capital comes out of all this shrill posturing then at least pause to reflect. A life had been lost and a starlet is in tears begging people to accept her apology. And for what? No winnability for the Opposition and no “people power” for the anarchists. For my part, I have this to make ambag as a consolation: Apology accepted, Ms Angel Locsin.
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