The time of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Lo and behold, flamboyant Salvador Panelo suddenly waxes magical to the ears of voters: He reminds China that the Philippines won the 2016 arbitral ruling on the Spratlys, after the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson says the “Nansha Islands” are Chinese territory.
What gives? Simple. It is election season and Malacañang appears to be fully aware of the Catch-22 implication on voters of the Rodrigo Duterte dilemma — kowtow to Xi Jinping like an obeisant traitor or show valiant patriotism to the Filipino people. Both can only be symbolized either by condemnation or salvation. There simply is no in-between. The patriotic card is played because it is election season. Have howls of protest against the diasporic invasion of illegal or highly paid Chinese workers reverberated on the Palace’s fake sawali walls of the Imelda era?
After insecurely dodging media questions on her Princeton and UP diplomas, Imee Marcos suddenly announces academic background as not her forte but performance. Na-buking, eh, so she now has to find a less controversial persona. “I started working early as Sangguniang Kabataan leader.” Now that’s a good cue — bring on Archimedes Trajano’s violent death, which a US court found her guilty of.
Meantime in Agusan del Sur, Bong Go bares his back to show he has no tattoo, yet the cameras didn’t lie. As clear as day were scowling welts on his back — did laser recently remove the tattoo? He had forgotten as well that he was in a YouTube video playing basketball only as recent as 2018, his tattoo peeping from the shoulders of his sports sando. Good thing the alleged Chinese drug triad number didn’t show, but there indeed was a tattoo all right. See the 1:47-48 segment of that video.
One of the sweetest I-couldn’t-hurt-a-fly line in this campaign season was Jinggoy Estrada’s. The twice jailed and twice accused of plunder suddenly says the most astonishing declaration: plunderers should be punished. How kind of him to be self-effacing.
Cynthia Villar appears to fear the antidynasty clamor even if she has consistently topped the pre-election surveys (with Grace Poe, another one who plays the coy and goody-goody persona). Villar cannot seem to decide on what is good or bad: “The Villars are good dynasts.” Will somebody please tutor her posthaste on religious catechesis?
Election campaign season truly tames candidates. Suddenly they are good persons. Elect them and their shockingly evil personalities will come out. But for now, expect an epidemic of dissociative identity disorders. It is the time of the bizarre when we see many afflicted with having two distinct personality states accompanied by memory gaps. Except for Imee Marcos, her memory gap about graduating from Princeton and UP is a willful lie.
Nowhere in this campaign are standards being set on who voted for the TRAIN Law, martial law in Mindanao, and the crazy “doble plaka” law. Yet when lowly jobless citizens apply for a job as receptionists (average salary: P12,000-P15,000, less in the provinces), they are judged according to having a college degree with a working experience of 1-2 years.
But for the Senate (salary P117,086, without kickbacks yet), the bar of quality is lower: college degree and experience not required. Elitism ensures that the people we voted for keep us poor. The poor who are struggling to make a living remain poor and the cycle continues.
The socially amiable Dr. Jekyll created a serum to mask his hidden Mr. Hyde persona. In time, the serum no longer worked and he slowly slipped into the remorseless and evil Mr. Hyde who grows in power. That should be the way we judge candidates: we look at their alter ego instead of their dancing, singing and lying persona. Apparently for Imee Marcos, the serum has not worked either.
Unlike the gothic novella, ours is not a strange case. Years of perennial political roadshows have made us dreadfully mis-educated. Once they get to the halls of power, they will unleash their inner demons. Yet we continue to elect them to office.
On Twitter: @AntonioJMontal2. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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