Political fantards
Stefan Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - April 22, 2016 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Breaking news: Your candidates are all problematic.

We’ve often been told that ours is a showbiz government where actors can freely choose any political seat they desire. Now, we actually do have a roster of candidates looking and acting like comical messianic divas in potboiler movies. Swooning fans seem more than ready to smear their forefingers with ink as they hang onto every platitude their idols spout out.

With the sun up high and this year’s summer burning with political conflicts, let’s make the most of the season by throwing shade and brewing exceptionally delectable tea.

Bongbong Marcos

Hindi ako ang nakaraan.” Sounds like what a cute (at least in a Ken Jeong way) yet abusive ex-lover would whisper through his teeth to win you back. He might have used you sometime in the distant past, but it’s all part of ancient history now, and that’s what’s important. Besides, dubious memes and YouTube videos have already absolved him and his family, so who are we all to judge? At least he acknowledges the fact that he and his matapobre family hurt you, though he ain’t apologizing for anything.

Speaking of being apologetic, his apologists claim that he still has your best interests at heart despite the years of traumatic abuse. Whatever power or lifestyle he’s grown accustomed to has nothing to do with you or your hardships, but has been mandated by a few golden buddhas. He’s the douchey fuccboi superstar you can’t refuse.

Call him out and… His stans will slowly come out of the woodwork and try to convince you that inhumanity isn’t hereditary, at the same time citing the historically inaccurate benefits his family bestowed upon the country: that we enjoyed the status of being No. 1 in Asia; had zero crime rate during martial law; and had a 1:1 peso-dollar ratio. Girl, please.

Catch him at his next event… While we don’t have the exact details yet, sources say the meet-and-greet party will most likely begin in the afternoon so as to allow fans to get home and lock themselves in by 11:30 p.m.

Miriam Defensor-Santiago

Miriam is that diva who has been blessed with sheer, unadulterated talent but is severely underrated — chalk it up to her sporadic appearances and projects. It’s like she doesn’t even want any of it anymore. It’s a shame because although she’s told a few lies to the camera before, we’ve all learned to forget them because she’s funny and adorable AF.

Thankfully, her stans are just as low-key as she is. They’re arguably the smartest and most mature set, at least by fandom standards. Think of them as the JaDines of voters.

Call her out and… Her fandom will troll the comments section of your post (especially if it has any mention of Rody Duterte) with her track record. That’s all and not much else.

Catch her at her next event… Another joke book launch at your local NBS in a last-ditch effort to secure a place in the presidential race. I personally think her intelligence deserves a better medium of immortalization than a few pages of pick-up lines, but hey. Say, how about a “Magna Carta of Women”-themed planner for a change?

Mar Roxas

The dude just can’t catch a break. He’s handsome and smart (at least in the purview of neoliberal bureaucrat-capitalism), but he’s unmarketable beyond hope. Mar either underacts or is way too self-conscious of his antics, and there is no in-between. Moreover, he may remind one of Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s The Vulture. Remember when Teddy Boy Locsin — another problematic fave — dragged him across Twitter for taking credit for the Cheaper Medicine Act which Locsin, Junie Cua and Ferge Biron had made possible? Yeah, Mar only built upon that and made price regulation optional. Also, he takes pride in being hailed “the father of BPO,” leaving behind seven other people who were equally responsible for the boom of the local BPO industry. Talk about #SquadGoals.

Yet, Mar continues to be the darling of the so-called thinking class because he appeals to middle-class interests and aspirations. Never mind that Mr. Palengke here can’t see beyond the Daang Matuwid confined within his privileged viewpoint; he still appears to be the lesser evil anyway.

Call him out and… The trolls in his camp will surely spin the issue, making it sound like you’ve been politicizing it with vested interests and leftist agenda. Carlos Celdran may also come into the scene in his signature bowler hat, reminding you that the buildings Mar caused to rise leak with oversized Starbucks drinks you relish and should be thankful for. So much middle-class angst, so little time.

Catch him at his next event… Call all your beki friends for another LGBT congress might be upon us. Lesbians and trans men need not attend, though, just like before. It’s probably for the best — at least there will be fewer people to get thrown under the party bus when someone raises the question of equal marriage.

Rodrigo Duterte

Ah, don’t we all love a bad boy? He may not be one of those charmingly rugged FPJ, Coco Martin or Robin Padilla types, but somehow his devil-may-care swagger has won our hardened hearts and simple minds. He’s like a drunk celebrity who makes a total buffoon of himself on-cam, bursting into expletives, and gets away with it as a macho man. He’s like a guy who keeps a copy of The Game in his bedside drawer, wagering that he can make you fall madly in love with him in three to six months using a vastly ambiguous stratagem he can’t even begin to explain. He’s the presidential aspirant who slouches in front of a mic stand clad in a bomber jacket, declaring the promise of being there for the country in times of sickness, albeit only offering palliative measures.

Be afraid. Be very afraid, not because he’s a potential despot, but because of how craftily he taps into your primal instincts. Take Alan Peter Cayetano, for example, whose innermost (daddy) issues he managed to bring out, putting Lana Del Rey to shame. Unfortunately for Alan, there might be a third party, and his name starts with the letter “B.” The douchebaggery is a majestic sight to behold.

I’m pretty sure there are a lot of rational Duterte supporters who strongly attest to all the impressive changes the mayor has made in Davao. Of course, there are bad eggs, too, and his are the pits. These are the bad eggs which, by some bizarre miracle, managed to survive spoilage and you could only wish would not breed any further. For his rabid stans, it’s always “My idol, right or wrong,” rape jokes, casual sexism, questionable stance on Philippine sovereignty, federalism (which in fairness is worth looking into), and all. His word is law.

Call him out and… You’ll most probably have to deactivate your social media accounts. If you’re into toxic thrills, though, check your inbox for rape and murder threats, ironically because you refuse to help hold up an iron fist against crimes like rape and murder. “Kung ayaw mong iboto, di ‘wag! Siguro takot ka kasi criminal ka! P***ngina mo, mamatay ka na!” Who cares how many facts you hold up to their faces if they can’t be reconciled with their collective cognitive bias?

Catch him at his next event… At your college auditorium, where else? Bring a notepad for the swear word count. Since we all know our potential head of state and premier diplomat is a walking trigger warning, watch out for the temporarily hilarious but ultimately cringeworthy wisecracks. That said, whatever you do, never, ever reach for the mic and question his policies lest you get harassed by the very same people who think we need discipline.

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Tweet the author @Watdahel_Marcel.

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