Free concerts and passes
VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Fe Perez (The Freeman) - May 4, 2019 - 12:00am

I’m a groupie, like literally. I love listening to rock, alternative, folk, and indie Filipino bands. Somehow their music grips my heart and I can sing their songs full of conviction. Like many other groupies, I also like free concerts. My experience as a fan has led me to various places and corporate events for the love of the bands that I like.

Months earlier, I watched an Ely Buendia concert that was also funded by a city official. It also served as a Christmas party for their local allies in a barangay. Did I feel robbed of the P150 that I spent for the ticket? A bit, yes, but heck, I enjoyed the night jumping and screaming to every song they played that night. I was dancing and singing in awe; we seldom see bands from Manila play in the local stage. So when people cried foul during a free concert of a few OPM talents which turned out to be a political rally, I could sense the difference.

I feel like the fans were robbed of their right to the truth. Of course they were anticipating nothing but the concert and went there expecting nothing political. But nothing is free. Although the candidates are free to express their platforms and views in such a concert, I don’t think at all that it was a proper venue. If they wanted to turn it into a political affair, they should have held it in the right forum.

However, on the other side of the story, we can look at it as a free pass for fans. They can always opt to not listen to the politicians who made their speech in the middle of the concert. And when the artists come out to perform, they jumped and screamed like there was no tomorrow. It may look like the organizers are at the losing end. As long as the songs were delivered right by the real singers, the time wasted by the politicians in their speeches wouldn’t matter at all. We can choose whom to listen to and where our loyalty will be, if we can all think straight with no restraint.

My only wish is that candidates who are already in their final stretch of campaigning abide by the rules. Play fair and clean, not dirty. We all have issues as citizens of this country and the last thing we want are leaders who can’t even make things right at the start of their campaign. Whatever happened to the values of honesty and dignity? Are we not fed up of politicians who offer blank promises and made-up projects? I think we have to rethink the standards of the leaders and if they are worth our votes.

It’s barely a week to go before the elections. It will be bloody if we want it to. I feel that we have the responsibility as citizens to watch over the polls and the community to make sure nothing untoward happens. The authorities may also be on the ground, but nothing can beat the power of the citizenry. The bottom line is: Let us not be fooled.

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