Presidential Elections in the Philippines is ugly but never boring. It’s when you witness a lot of mudslinging between candidates and their supporters. It gets worse as Election Day approaches. Presidential bets use every negative piece of information against their opponents in an effort to beat them at popularity surveys or in some cases, disqualify them from running. This was the case with previous frontrunner, Senator Grace Poe who was disqualified by the Commission on Elections from running as President.
I must say that this coming 2016 Election is a lot more interesting than the previous one in 2010, but it is not because the quality of the debate has improved. Back in 2010, with the exception of then Senator Benigno Simeon Aquino, the rest of the candidates were a bit more straightforward compared to the number of clowns this time around. Presidential candidate, Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s cussing, womanizing and death threats for example, have certainly added color to the scene today.
While the candidates in 2010 had exposure mainly through mainstream media, the candidates now have to deal a lot more with social media because Netizens are a lot savvier. Unfortunately for the candidates, things can become brutal. Anyone who has access to a computer can create a meme and post something potentially damaging to the image of any candidate.
This brings us to Liberal Party Presidential candidate Mar Roxas. He has become the butt of jokes on social media. He is a much-loved character on political memes and videos. Speculation is rife that his star-studded campaign video may have been financed using Yolanda funds or some other questionable source. Unfortunately, the video received more “dislikes” than “likes” from viewers.
What’s worse is that even the celebrities in it received flak from the Netizens. Indeed, by aligning themselves with an unpopular candidate like Mar, they may have damaged their own showbiz careers. Their integrity is being questioned because it is assumed that they were paid to endorse Mar. Who in their right mind would endorse Mar for free, right? He seems to be throwing lots of money into his campaign even when the campaign season hasn’t officially started. I’m surprised his opponents haven’t filed a complaint to disqualify him for doing so.
Some people are also pointing out that the main stars in the video like Billy Crawford might not even be able to vote because they may not be Filipino citizens to begin with. They say that if this is the case, it would be weird for them to be endorsing Mar or any candidate.
Mar’s lack of appeal to the voters is something that most political pundits find predictable. Predictable because it is obvious why Mar is being rejected by voters. A lot of Filipinos now agree that BS Aquino’s so-called Daang Matuwid or ‘straight path’ was a sham. Most rational people are baffled as to why Mar keeps saying that he would continue Daang Matuwid considering it is a failure.
Mar’s arrogance is evident in his campaign ad. By insisting on using a tired formula worn out by BS Aquino, he comes across as hopeless. If Mar was a smart guy, he would realize that the best way to win is to distance himself from a failed administrator like BS Aquino. And why the hell does he have to wear yellow all the time? This is proof that he is out of touch with what the voters want. They do not want to see politicians wearing partisan symbols and colors that only serve to further divide the sentiments of the people. The last thing they want is a candidate who is associated with an insensitive and incompetent administration.
A lot of voters agree that Mar doesn’t deserve the Presidency because he already held a few key positions in government but did not make a big difference. He was already in charge of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) but the condition of the public transport system and traffic chaos became even worse.
During his stint in the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), he could not handle the stress during natural disasters. He was even caught arguing with foreign correspondents and members of the local government of Tacloban during the Yolanda crisis. The Commission on Audit (COA) also reported that 65.5 percent of disaster risk reduction management (DRRM) projects have yet to be implemented by the DILG under his leadership.
Mar was also helpless in resolving the case of the deaths of 44 Special Action Forces caught in a firefight with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front during Oplan Exodus. It could have something to do with the fact that his buddy President BS Aquino had something to do with their deaths.
Supporters of Mar who keep saying that he was responsible for the success of the BPO industry are wrong. The former head of the country’s association of business processing leaders can attest to this. According to Oscar R. Sanez, former CEO of the IT and Business Processing Association of the Philippines, it was former President Gloria Arroyo who “laid the successful model that led to the growth of the BPO industry” in the country:
Sanez stressed that the progressive BPO industry owes much of its growth to the former President because she laid a successful model for the industry.“As the CEO of the BPAP from 2007 to 2011, I know how much the business process offshoring and outsourcing sector owes to Mrs. Arroyo. We are proud to describe ourselves as a successful model of real private-public partnership or PPP,” Sañez said in a statement.The former BPO industry leader pointed out that industry figures, which are of official and public record, would show that the BPO grew impressively under the watch of Mrs. Arroyo because of her support.“From only 2,400 call center workers in 2000, the BPO sector grew to nearly half a million workers by the end of 2009, PGMA’s last full year in office. The industry grew on the average by an astounding 65 percent per annum over the decade. Total export revenues generated by the IT-BPO industry grew from only $1.3 billion in 2003 to $8.9 billion in 2010,” he said.According to Sanez, the growth was fuelled by the “support initiatives” of the former President.
It seems Mar is going to be another credit-grabber much like his buddy BS Aquino. Filipinos do not deserve another President who thinks he is the only one capable of doing the right thing. Filipinos do not need a self-righteous leader. They need someone who can readily admit that he needs all the help he can get from everyone, even from the opposition.
Filipino voters are wiser now after BS Aquino and know that voting for Mar is voting for an extension of the same inutile government. Being part of the oligarchy, Mar will preserve the status quo and will likely not accomplish anything significant in six years. And just like BS Aquino, Mar already showed signs that he is into patronage politics. Some of us know that it can only mean one thing – not much will change under a Mar Presidency.