And the winner is…

SINGKIT - Doreen G. Yu - The Philippine Star

Pinoy creativity and humor are certainly right on the money. Within hours of the “5-star” press con last Sunday, messages and memes parodying that noontime “show” were flying around social media and chat groups. Billed as an “emergency press con” and shrouded in secrecy as to purpose and participants, speculation was rife as to what major announcement would be made (none, it turned out).

The first message I received in a chat group stated rather matter-of-factly that three schools – DLSU, NU and FEU – were ganging up on my UP Beloved. #UPWithdraw claimed the three were holding a press con to ask second placer team UP to make the “supreme sacrifice” so that they – lagging in the rankings – could have a chance to beat no-loss leader Ateneo in the current 84th UAAP basketball season. That message ended with “Charot” – a term I can’t translate but which gives it a proper exclamation point!

Then came a “Breaking News” infographic from the NCAA teams – six of them – asking San Beda, ranked no. 2 with a 5-0 record, to make the “supreme sacrifice” and, very specifically, to lose all its remaining games in the elimination round of the ongoing 97th NCAA basketball season since the six of them feel that, by so doing, they might have “better chances of beating current No. 1 team The Letran Knights in The Finals.” Letran, by the way, is vice presidential candidate Tito Sotto’s alma mater, while the President is a Bedan.

Then there were various memes of ladies in pink making withdrawals at ATMs (one even showed a receipt). Not quite seeing the hilarity of it all, the guy who threw down the withdraw gauntlet said all the flak he was getting on social media was “social injustice.”

And it was really media’s fault – again? of course! – since they asked leading questions that turned the press con into a bashing session. Media are a convenient whipping boy, I know, but hey, take some responsibility naman for your words, uttered spontaneously, without duress. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for “foot-in-mouth” disease so, when given a microphone, it’s best to remember this sage advice: less talk, less mistake; better yet, no talk, no mistake.

Belatedly, there was a lot of back-pedalling – and even an apology! – from the others, their assorted factotums, spokespersons, etc. that “withdraw” was not part of the script and it was just the sentiment of the guy who said it, carried away as he was by the emotions of the moment. But since, at the time, no one objected or contradicted it – the others were supposedly stunned – the general perception is that it was a call from the whole table of five (though the two bookends, both vice presidential candidates, looked like they were just that – bookends). Subsequent denials and clarifications were, as they say, “too late the hero” – or the fool.

If there was a winner to come out of that funny little Easter show it was the man who sat in the middle of the table. Following his starring role, more people now actually know him, and he has since then been happily guesting on TV talk shows and being interviewed and quoted by media, who previously had all but ignored him, except for mentioning his name – in connection with results of presidential preference surveys – at the end of the list of presidentiables, usually with the note “0 percent.”


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