Candidates use their famous kin, dead or aliveBy Neal H. Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
(Continued from Wednesday)
The other senatorial candidates clinging to the apron strings of their better-known relatives are Grace Poe and Jun Magsaysay, both of Team PNoy, and JV Ejercito Estrada of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). Their television commercials, tarpaulins and posters, and handbills use their famous relatives, dead or alive, to push their candidacies.
Grace Poe uses her dead but still famous father, actor Fernando Poe Jr., who, some people believe, would have become president of the Philippines had he not been cheated by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and certain officials of the Commission on Elections. Jun Magsaysay uses his long dead father, the beloved President Ramon Magsaysay, while JV uses his very much alive and kicking and very popular father, former President Joseph Estrada.
Grace’s commercial tries to be cute. She does not say anything but “po” (Grace po, opo, hindi po), a play on the word “Poe” to emphasize her relationship to the King of Philippine Movies. Cute, but what is the message? Is Grace qualified to be a senator? What are her qualifications besides her father’s name? (She ditched her name Llamanzares to be able to use Poe.) What has she done besides being chief censor? Is she good enough to jump from a very minor government position to the Senate, which used to be populated by such giant minds as Senators Jose P. Laurel, Claro M. Recto, Lorenzo Tañada, Jose W. Diokno, Lorenzo Sumulong, etc.? Not a word on her qualifications. Qualified ba? Hindi po. May ibubuga ba? Wala po. Dapat bang maging senador? Naku po!
Her tarpaulins, posters, and handbills are the same. They scream “Grace POE” (the “Poe” in big bold capital letters) and so the people don’t forget, “anak ni FPJ” follows her name.
At the bottom of the tarpaulins and at the back of the handbills is this statement: “Ipagpapatuloy ko ang inumpisahan ng ama ko” (I will continue what my father started). Why, what did FPJ start? He was not able to start anything because he was cheated and he died (of heartbreak?) soon after.
What FPJ started was a very popular and lucrative acting career where he played the role of a champion of the oppressed, like the role played by his bosom friend, Erap Estrada. Does Grace intend to follow in his footsteps as an action star? I don’t think so. She does not have the build for it. And although FPJ was a giant in show biz, he was not given the chance to start anything in the government. So what is Grace to continue in the Senate?
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Ramon Magsaysay was the most beloved of all Philippine presidents. He became more beloved when he died in a plane crash, like Ninoy and Cory Aquino who were adored by the people after they died.
Ramon Magsaysay Jr. capitalized on that when he first ran for senator and won. He is doing it again now that he is trying to make a comeback to the Senate. His television commercial shows him standing beside a life-size photo of his father, perhaps to show a hint of any physical resemblance (there’s none). Did he also use the same ad agency as Grace?
Jun Magsaysay did well as chair of the blue ribbon committee during his first 12 years in the Senate, although his findings and recommendations to executive offices to prosecute certain personalities have stayed dormant until now. But the people’s memory is short. They have forgotten his achievements, as shown by his poor ranking in the poll surveys. They also seem to have forgotten his father, fondly called “The Guy.”
Yet Magsaysay the son deserves to be brought back to the Senate. Like his father, he is a good guy. He has never been linked to any anomaly, although he is also a member of a political dynasty. And he is a hard and persistent worker. Even without the help of his dead father, he should serve as a senator again.
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UNA’s JV Ejercito Estrada uses his very much alive and popular father, Erap, in his television commercial. It shows the two of them standing side by side, with the father endorsing the son. JV’s real name is Ejercito (as is his father’s) but he adopted his father’s screen name, Estrada, for his run for the Senate.
But JV has a long experience in governance, first as a three-term mayor of San Juan, and then as a member of the House of Representatives.
Which is very different from Nancy Binay, a daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay.
She is coming from nowhere and wants to become senator right away. She lists her qualification as “personal assistant”—probably of her father or mother—and nothing else. For that, she and her father think she should be in the Senate. Poor Senate. Recto et al. must be turning in their graves.
Nancy would not have been in any senatorial ticket had not her father been one of the three pillars of UNA. VP Binay put her in the ticket despite her lack of qualifications, and the two others, Erap and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, could not protest because both of them have sons in the UNA ticket—JV and Jackie Enrile, respectively.
But at least JV and Jackie came from the House of Representatives. Nancy came from nowhere. She has not even served as kapitan or kagawad in any barangay in Makati, her family’s turf.
When asked what were Nancy’s qualifications to be a senator, VP Binay arrogantly answered: “She is my daughter.” Huh! Just like that, as though it’s a case of God the Father sending his Son to save the world.
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