The midterm elections two months from now is a scary prospect. We are about to earn the ultimate backlash, our karmic death sentence, so to speak, for always making fun of the supposedly stupid Filipino voters — by being proven right.
A favorite political joke in this country tells the story of the election born loser named “Wisely.” Supposedly, the poor guy would run every single time elections are held in this country without winning even once. But still he tries and tries, until, God-knows-when, he dies.
“Vote Wisely” appears time and again during elections, but not once has poor old Wisely come close to getting the vote, let alone the victory. The Commission on Elections doesn’t have to declare him a nuisance candidate. The voters have done that a long time ago.
There must be a reason why Wisely never wins — never had a chance to begin with. Maybe he should consider hiring a political campaign strategist to change his style and make him sell. Better yet, he should start spying on the secrets of his mortal political enemy — the only political candidate who never runs a campaign but still finds a way to win all the time. His name is “Dumbly.”
This adversary of Wisely prefers anonymity to popularity. He never believes in campaigning, has never hung a single poster on the wall or exhorted anybody to “Vote Dumbly.” And yet, he has made it a habit to trounce Wisely at the polls, often in landslide fashion.
“Vote Dumbly” should come down as the single greatest campaign slogan in the history of Philippine politics. Although unspoken and unheard of, its track record is proven and unchallenged, making Dumbly undefeated, and Wisely the winless butt of jokes.
In the forthcoming midterm elections, you just have to look at the candidates’ backgrounds and listen to how they respond to issues to realize that political fortunes are not about to change for those two bitter rivals.
One senatorial candidate, after being acquitted of the crime of plunder in a widely-criticized decision of the antigraft court, refuses to return the ill-gotten P124-million pork barrel and insists he is the victim of injustice here.
Another senatorial candidate has proposed that the solution to the deluge of illegal Chinese workers into the Philippines is to legalize all of them.
One senatorial candidate insists she graduated from UP Law and obtained a degree from Princeton University, but can’t remember when or how she did those things.
Another senatorial candidate defended China from those who accuse Beijing of land-grabbing by saying: Well, it’s only the West Philippine Sea that China is trying to take away from us.
But the rest of them have every reason to envy one novice senatorial candidate who holds the entire government machinery at his disposal in his run for the Senate—the reward for having served the President with abject loyalty.
This election is about how well the candidates can make people laugh and how well they can lie with a straight face, because voters are bored with listening to the serious and honest types.
There will be a lot of singing and dancing between now and election day in May, a lot more of the cursing and taunting, a lot of trying to outdo one another to win public approval until the contest comes down to who can demonstrate the most vomit-inducing behavior in public.
This is the time of mindless forgiveness of Philippine history’s most heinous crimes, the sins that have been left unpunished for so long, and with the perpetrators still refusing to show contrition. Now, the crooks are not ashamed anymore of who they are and what they did.
People have always been told to Vote Wisely, but they don’t. They were never told to Vote Dumbly, but they seem to always do.
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Adel Abillar ([email protected]) is a private law practitioner with a small office in Quezon City where, he says, “I alternate between being boss and messenger.”
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