Political infomercials
OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide (The Freeman) - December 6, 2018 - 12:00am

There are election campaign propagandas currently unleashed by few candidates for senator and these aired on primetime national television. These plugs are most carefully produced advertisements I have seen this early. The candidates hide their campaigning behind very intelligently crafted issues close to the hearts of our people.

They do not appear to be soliciting our votes and publicists have labeled them “infomercials.” These commercials are also supposedly not considered as early campaigning. These must be worth millions of pesos, which makes me wonder if the Commission on Elections keeps track of them, because I think the budgets for these plugs alone can breach the spending limits set by the law.

To me, the most frequently-aired infomercial is that of the daughter of the president who once ruled this country under the dreaded Martial Law -- Ferdinand Marcos. She is presented in the ads as Imee Marcos, although I knew that at one time, my idol basketball coach named Tommy Manotoc, was her husband.

I have no idea what has happened to their marriage. But in our society, a husband should feel a stinking insult if his wife would walk around introducing herself using her father’s family name rather than her husband’s.

Credit must be given to whoever conceptualized the Marcos infomercials. Imee’s public relations’ people must have thoroughly studied how to present her as a politician of her own mind. One segment is aimed to get the sympathy of farmers.

The Marcos message that is adroitly embedded somewhere in the ad is a promise to address the needs of the farmers. In so many words, the senatorial candidate is telling the television audience that when she gets elected, her program would look at ways to improve the miserable lives of the lowly farmers because she has “the solution”.

At the same time, there is a sprinkling of mischief that I observe as directed at the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. This ad started to be telecast when rice was scanty. When aired, it in effect said that the present administration is a failure. Because this propaganda continues to be shown, I suggest that you listen to it carefully and give it your objective evaluation. Permit me to lead you though.

It is the opinion borne by this material that the government fails to provide the needed props to farmers for them to lead decent lives. In other words, the Duterte administration is a failure. This is a sharp edge of a Marcos criticism that is designed to ingratiate her to those who have echoed their disappointment of the president.

This advertisement segment, however, has a factual issue that needs to be validated. If I may be allowed to surmise, an insinuation contained in this propaganda material is untrue. For example, it projects Ms. Marcos saying that sometime in the past our country produced more rice than we needed such that we exported this staple.

Or words to this effect. She is not saying though that it took place in her father’s martial rule but I believe this is what she hopes to accomplish. I do not recall that our country ever produced, in any part of its history, rice in such quantity as to satisfy our national requirement or better still export the surplus. The allusion made by this senatorial candidate is founded on falsehood.

However Ms. Marcos crafts her political campaign material is a constitutionally-guaranteed right. Freedom of expression is sacred. It is wrong to interfere with whatever she projects in her paid advertisements. The sanctity of this right though carries with it profound responsibility. For this senatorial hopeful, she has the burden to be truthful. In this standard, I rate her a failure.


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