Magnet for wackos
Clowns, charlatans, megalomaniacs, merry Andrews, sociopaths and wackos of every color and stripe have been trooping to the Commission on Elections to file certificates of candidacy (COCs) since Monday. The COCs that these hopefuls filed were mostly for the presidency of what could be a woebegone, benighted republic during their reign.
I am not referring to the party-affiliated and independent candidates with years (ill- or well-served) as elected or appointed public officials in their resumés, candidates with the wherewithal to carry out their quest for the highest post in the land.
What is it about the presidency that attracts the other types? The presidency is like a magnet to them, like nectar is to bees, sugar to ants, rotting carcass to spontaneously generating maggots. Scientifically erroneous it might be, spontaneous generation may still apply to these election creatures. How did they spawn?
Is it the 15 seconds in the limelight? Is it the comforting thought that they have listened to the voices in their addled minds, and having heeded these, they are fulfilling their destiny to rule by, uh, divine right? The media always oblige to give them their 15 seconds, the reason perhaps that they multiply every COC-filing season.
Never mind that they exhibit maniacal syndromes that annoy Comelec officials, never mind that they use fancy names that describe their lunacy. They’ll never get that kind of media attention elsewhere, except perhaps if they resort to hostage-taking, as what happened last week some blocks away from the Comelec (not election-related, though) that ended with a corpse (the hostage taker’s) that took days to identify.
So at this time every so often, these pesky presidential wannabes can say that on the day they marched to the Comelec, the heavens broke open, accompanied by the alleluias of a host of cherubim and seraphim. Heady.
But even the non-nuisance candidates brought some nuisance with them in the form of hangers-on, bootlickers, relatives and fair-weather friends, not to mention brass bands that added to the cacophony. No wonder the usually cool Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez lost his temper and shouted at the unruly crowd on the first day of filing.
As of yesterday, Day 3, 44 presidential hopefuls have filed their COCs.
Yesterday’s Inquirer editorial cartoon by G. Daroy showed a gaily garbed clown representing “nuisance candidates” about to throw a dead rat into a well of “electoral integrity.”
Where in the world can one find a presidential hopeful who calls himself a missionary with the name Archangel Lucifer, a farmer who wants to create a “divine government,” a teacher favoring “absolute monarchy with unlimited power from God,” and who would do away with legislation? Someone who aimed to be a senator said he intended to live in the Senate building. Fat chance.
Be consoled that the list of those who filed their COCs will still be purged and the official list of candidates will be released on Dec. 10. The names of those who have no capacity to wage a national campaign and who sow confusion (nagdudulot ng kalituhan) or are out to demean the electoral process will be stricken out.
I am not saying that people whose livelihood it is to make people laugh or entertain—media celebrities, sportsmen among them—are unfit to be public servants and do serious work. Many have in fact served in elective posts and shown another side—the better or the worse side—of themselves. So you ask: Would the multititled world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, who is also a singer, celebrity endorser, multibillionaire and absentee congressman, do as well in the halls of the Senate?
Throwback Thursday: During an election season years ago, I was assigned to do a feature story on entertainment personalities on the funny side who ran for public office and won (“Comedians in Politics,” Sunday Inquirer Magazine, 4/1/90). I interviewed basketball-player-turned-sitcom-actor Freddie Webb, Tito Sotto of “Eat Bulaga,” and songwriter and singer Yoyoy Villame (remember the song “Magellan”).
Webb was then congressman of Parañaque and Sotto was Quezon City vice mayor. Villame won second as councilor in Las Piñas. I had to do background research on each one and I even bought Villame’s albums so that I would not sound ignorant when talking with him. To my surprise, Villame’s “Buchiki” and “Hey,” a parody of an Julio Iglesias hit, became among my favorites. A respite from the opera heavies. (Villame has passed on to that place beyond the sea which Magellan couldn’t have reached in his lifetime.)
For an intro, I wrote then: “Machiavelli, in one of his discourses, said: ‘And it is not without reason that the voice of the people has been likened to the voice of God, for popular opinion is amazingly reliable in its prognostications, so much so that the people would seem to have hidden powers by which to foresee their future ills and triumphs…. Again, in the election of public officials we note that they make far better choices than princes do.’
“It is, by now, a fact that comedians who have successfully clowned their way to people’s funny bones could, just as successfully, laugh their way into the ballot box. The electorate has registered its resounding approval and deemed these funnymen fit and worthy for governance. These men’s constituencies have placed great hopes in them and there is nothing funny about this at all.”
Today’s nuisance wannabes who trooped to the Comelec these past days sure drew some laughs but, unlike the true-blue funnymen and women who were serious about service and got elected, they are better considered as annoyances that say something about Philippine elections. Perhaps they serve a purpose.
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