Personality and Hashtag Politics in a Circus Called “The Philippines”

Photo credit goes to ClownPedia

It seems that we now have a new political warfare being waged in the Philippines between erstwhile allies belonging to the camp of former president Rodrigo Roa Duterte (FPRRD) and the camp of president Bongbong Marcos (PBBM). True to form, in terms of the maturity (or lack of) of the propaganda players, new political hashtags have been formed. The Duterte Die Hard Supporters (DDS) camp has propped up the #AntiBudol hashtag, implying that PBBM has swindled or double-crossed the Filipinos that elected him to the presidency. The PBBM camp has come up with the #ModernMakapili hashtag, implying that the DDS ilk is pro-China, especially when it comes to foreign policy. Lost in the brickbats thrown and pathetic drama of many of the two camps’ social media players and adherents are merits of their respective policy differences, as well as logic. But hey, we are talking about Philippine politics here. Since when have actual political ideologies and principles ever dominate personality politics in the Philippines?

Consider the recent issue on the Facebook page suspension of a few loud DDS social media influencers such as Sass Rogando Sasot. Earlier last week, her page was reportedly suspended, although at least some of her fellow Duterte sycophants claimed that it was “deleted”. Whatever the case may have been, what is crazy is that many Duterte supporters appear to jump the gun and point the blame on some sort of BlackOps perpetrated against them by First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos, RJ Nieto (a.k.a. Thinking Pinoy), Mel Robles, and pretty much the entire PBBM administration. So according to the narrative being peddled, since Sasot and the likes of Sasot have been critical of the PBBM administration, the government is now suppressing their freedom of speech and expression. One uber DDS even claimed that there is now “Martial Law on Social Media”. It really makes one wonder why facts and conclusive evidence seem to get thrown out the window when DDS personalities, or even the Dutertes themselves, are in trouble. The blame always would have to point towards their perceived enemies!

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This reminds me of a Jerry Seinfeld line describing how guilt is established merely using chalk outlines of crime victims. Seinfeld said:

It seems to me that the chalk-outline guy is one of the better jobs that you can get. You know it’s not dangerous, the criminals are long gone, that seems like a good one. … I don’t even know how it helps to solve the crime? You know, they look at the thing on the ground. “Ahh, his arm was like that when he hit the pavement. That means the killer must’ve been Jim.”

So, I guess the DDS is now applying some sort of Seinfeld logic. “Sasot has been critical of PBBM and his administration, so PBBM and his administration must’ve been the ones responsible for the suspension of her FB page!”

It really is so amazing how the DDS mind works. It seems to me that they do have a knack for backwards logic. Start with the conclusion that PBBM (and his circle) is applying some sort of BlackOps to take them and the Dutertes down, and support this claim using mere memories, impressions, or testimonies made by themselves (and of course, corroborated by their fellow administration critics who have an axe to grind against the current dispensation). To hell with evidentiary standards and logical methodology! For the DDS: “It’s the Duterte agenda, stupid!”

What we are seeing is personality politics in full display. It wreaks havoc on logic and the electorate’s political maturity. Identity politics gives more premium on a favored person or group over actual principle or policy. In our current DDS drama, identification with Duterte seems to have become some sort of shield for any moronic and unethical action or idea they come up with and do. To combat the perils of personality politics, we resort to hashtag politics – #AntiBudol vs. #ModernMakapili. Brilliant! Now I can honestly say that I do not blame some animals who eat their young!

12 Replies to “Personality and Hashtag Politics in a Circus Called “The Philippines””

  1. This ‘crack’ in the Uniteam is probably rooted from one camp’s failed expectation of not getting favors nor position appointments from the Marcos administration.

    Unlike during the time of FPRRD where people from ‘the Left’ and celebrities like Freddie Aguilar, Mocha Uson and Aiza Seguerra, including the social media bloggers and youtube vloggers, can be considered for a government post, the administration of PBBM did not promise anything of the same sort but appointed some of the best and the brightest individuals in their fields to help in the running the affairs of the government.

    In the process, of course, dreams of these ‘spoiled brats’ lobby groups loyal to the Dutertes aka the Dutertards have been crushed. They’ve now become a disgruntled bunch. These brats, crestfallen and felt betrayed, are out for vengeance… at full throttle!

    The Dutertards, together with the bogus Marcos supporters who turned their backs on this administration and join ranks with the DDS camp, somehow, have now become the real opposition more than the Yellowtards or Pinklawans of old.

    You can’t simply trust nor count on people whose support are for sale!

    The PBBM administration is just over a year old and already some invisible people are too hungry to be back in power. Nabitin… agad-agad… atat na atat…

    Tardic wars confronts us with some introspective questions…

    Who are the people behind interest groups or camps responsible for the spread of photos and infos of destabilization plot against the PBBM administration linking the names of AFP Chief of Staff, Gen. Romeo S. Brawner Jr., PA and Chief PNP Chief, Police Gen. Benjamin “Benjie” Casuga Acorda? What’s the motive or objective? And for whose interest it shall serve?

    Who are the people who concocted the ‘Polvoronic video’ issue whose origin goes way back in 2021 and also appeared in a DDS Facebook post back in 2022 suggesting that PBBM is a cocaine user and that he’s supposedly captured in a a video?

    (DDS vloggers, former Marcostard vloggers, a retired Philippine Army Captain and another retired vlogging General from the Philippine Army, being the source of the spread of this fake viral ‘political intrigue’, they can’t produce something nor anything of what they claim to have and are now denying involvement since they’ve become the subject of interest by the PNP.)

    Why is Harry Roque, a former Malacanang spox during the Duterte administration, subliminally suggesting, advising that PBBM ought to undergo a Drug test to clear himself of such suspicion when he already did back then?

    Why has the Vice President/ Education Secretary Sara Duterte gone low as to even ride this ‘Polvoron’ issue just to take a dig at her President (via her tiktok video), when she could not even make important statements (makes you wonder why?!) on issues concerning her owm department, such as, the planned discontinuation of the SHS program and its implications.

    To make matters even so low, she has to involve an innocent kid in her gimmick/stunt telling the kid he’s a good boy and reminding him:

    “Kainin mo ‘to araw-araw. Masarap ‘yan… nakaka-adik.”
    (Eat this everyday. They taste good… and addicting.)

    This, to the claps, cheers and laughter of the Education Secretary supporters in the background…

  2. As usual, these people who are there in the echelons of power–as well as their supporters, especially those from the PBBM camp–are the ones who can either make or break PBBM’s brand of leadership. Yet beneath all the claims of a solid force of Uniteam, cracks have begun to surface. In as much as many of us want both PBBM and VP Inday Sara to do their best in terms of leadership and in their duties, we have to be open to the harsh realities of mudslinging that take place among supporters of both camps. Call it a case of being both irritating and amusing as we watch the circus intensify from what he hear in the news and in soc med. And why bring back that issue that PBBM was a cocaine user? What was the past, is the past; we all know that those days are over and the President himself has evolved to be a much more mature and responsible person. The people that are immature and irresponsible are those ‘leeches’ that are trying to grab whatever opportunities they may want to have–and the very ones that will destroy PBBM’s leadership. And we can also see this as a very strong warning for PBBM, so he can do drastic measures to prevent these leeches from crawling further.

  3. The way Filipino social media political commentators are behaving these days elicits as big a cringe as Jo Koy’s performance in the Golden Globes this year. Totally uninformed and coming across as woefully under-educated.

    1. white man took everything.

      including jo koy’s big moment

      they take everything.

      that taylor swift, mediocre singer and crap song writer..they take everything

  4. The political status of Philippines will never improve as long as Filipinos continue to be horrible voters. They love the politicians they idolize more than the country itself, that’s not patriotism, that’s idolatry. The fanatic of LP, Duterte and BBM are not pro-Philippines, they just love the politicians or the political parties they’re loyal to yet they wonder why Philippines is an incompetent sick man of Asia.

    1. Another thing I’ll add to this comment is this is the reason why Filipinos cannot blame foreigners and the past colonizers for the failure of their pathetic country. How can they make their country succeed if they love the politicians they idolize more than the country itself? So much idolatry. Japan was heavily devastated in WW2, Singapore started off as a poor and third world country, but both countries are better than Philippines because both are rich first world countries, so what is the Philippines’ excuse? Nothing.

    2. @No Data:

      You seem to have a fair idea what it is not being a patriot and what isn’t pro-Philippines, but…

      I am of the impression that ‘patriotism’ and ‘being pro-Philippines’ never has been the subjects of concern of the self-professed colonially-minded.

      Hypocrisy isn’t just about saying one thing and doing another; it’s also about judging others for things you’re guilty of yourself…


      Cognitive dissonance is that mental discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs, values, or attitudes.

      Reflect on it, it would be good for the mental health.

  5. “The trouble with the Dutertes are the Dutertards.”

    Indeed, the above statement still rings true.

    The Dutertards lack imagination. Why, of all things, create an issue about drugs against President Bongbong Marcos Jr.?

    Unlike former President Duterte, President Marcos Jr. isn’t the type who’s confrontational but he make certain steps so that the people may be informed:

  6. How do we elevate the political discourse? Maybe a dialogue between PBBM and FPRRD livestream settling all the issues.
    And maybe start with making places where the people have solution based debates and discussions bottom to top leading to referendums and initiatives up to approval and implementation.

  7. If the Dutertards’ support for the Dutertes means that the intent is hell-bent on bringing the administration of President Marcos Jr. down then it’s on them what might happen next.

    Richard Heydarian of wrote something interesting:

    “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake,” counseled the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. The virtual disintegration of the “UniTeam”—an alliance of inconvenience between the House of Marcos and the House of Duterte—has made the Napoleonic dictum particularly attractive to liberal-progressive observers.”

    Are these words of caution?

    Well, just as the camp of the Yellowtards are enjoying their popcorn, staying on the sidelines, look how the not so smart Dutertards thrive on their theatrics.

    We wonder who is the brainchild behind it all? Is this the image of Digong, the former President, they want us to remember him by?

    Reminiscent of those failed old political stunts of former VP Leni Robredo, that’s what happens when someone allowed himself to be surrounded by idiots.

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