New Sons Party
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when the country was treated to the spectacle of a circus parade featuring many of those aspiring to become our elected leaders next year.
There are several worthy candidates, no doubt. But in reality, those who have a genuine chance of winning are personalities who make you wish you have mangkukulam (voodoo) powers, so you can transform them into real cartoon characters who exist purely for entertainment, but with no power to cause damnation in our lives, unlike the very clowns and bandits who act as our leaders today.
The feeling of exasperation brought back memories of my student days at the University of the Philippines’ College of Law almost 30 years ago. At the end of one particularly grueling school day, my classmates and I went to our favorite watering hole to unwind over beer and chow. It was the height of the campaign season for the student council elections. We were lamenting how the student elections were mimicking everything that was infuriating in the local and national elections.
There were two parties vying for student government seats. Supporters of each party were bitterly engaged in character assassination, underhanded campaign machinations, fraternity rumbles and destruction of campaign posters, among others. There were even reports of flying voters in the wider university elections.
As we got intoxicated, one classmate came up with the idea that we should form a third party and field candidates who would make fun of the student elections. We thought of a perfect name for our party — New Sons Party. It was a fitting name for a nuisance party that would spoof and parody the student elections.
When our candidates submitted their certificates of candidacy, petitions to disqualify them were filed. The student commission on elections, however, allowed our candidates to run by invoking students’ broader right to organize, and the legitimacy of the issues we wanted to raise.
Our campaign poster consisted of a calendar picture of the late action star Fernando Poe Jr. holding a beer, and with a speech bubble that said, “Huwag niyo kaming siraan, dahil kami ay sira na! — New Sons Party (Do not ridicule us, because we are already ridiculous! — New Sons Party).”
On the wall where the parties placed their programs of action, the two other parties posted thick pages detailing their planned projects. Our New Sons Party posted a blank sheet of paper with a small note at the bottom: “We believe in democracy, we accept suggestions.”
We had our 15 minutes of fame when a popular television show at that time — “The Probe Team,” hosted by Cheche Lazaro—featured us.
During the room-to-room campaign, our supporters asked presupplied questions, and our candidates answered with prepared quips that had students dissolving in fits of laughter. For instance: “Ano ang diwa ng law student government?” (What is the spirit of the law student government?) In answer, our candidates broke into cabaret dancing, their legs alternately thrusting forward as they sang a popular commercial jingle at that time: “Yan ang diwa ng Yakult, siyang tunay na diwa ng Yakult!”
During the miting de avance, the other parties’ candidates were introduced with impressive credentials: “Elementary, valedictorian! High school, valedictorian! College, cum laude!” In contrast, our chubbiest candidate was introduced this way: “Elementary, healthy baby award! High School, healthier baby award! College, healthiest baby award!”
Our New Sons candidates lost, but the substantial votes they garnered influenced the outcome of the elections.
Two New Sons Party members went on to become congressmen, and our batch has so far produced a Senate president, two Cabinet secretaries, a presidential spokesperson, a Supreme Court spokesperson, appellate court justices, ambassadors, trial court judges, and many top-notch trial lawyers.
Many of our officials today are ideal members of the New Sons Party. Our country’s problem is that they’re winning in the elections.
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