The taste of vomit
I still have to meet someone, anyone, who has something nice to say about it. Everyone I know only bears repulsion to the idea. The vitriol being spewed by pundits in both the mainstream media as well as in blogosphere has reached unprecedented levels. And yet, amazingly enough, our leaders are still bent on drafting celebrities, has-been politicians, or relatives of incumbent politicians as candidates for the May elections. It is annoying, exasperating, and insulting.
My initial reaction to our leaders’ obstinacy was to heave a sigh of resignation and to mutter “wala, lokohan na talaga ito” [there’s nothing we can do, we’re simply being taken for fools]. But on second thought, why should we allow our leaders to screw us? Just because our leaders are already deaf and numb to the revulsion that we are feeling doesn’t mean we simply capitulate. We just have to keep on hammering away until the electorate gets the message: We deserve better, we do not have to take the crap being dished to us. And so, I will keep on writing about it.
In this column I will pick on the candidates that have already thrown their hats into the political circus.
Senator Lito Lapid is running for mayor of Makati City. This idea is so ludicrous that incumbent Mayor Jejomar Binay must be rolling on the floor, laughing his heart out. If he is the best this administration can offer, then boy oh boy, this administration must be suffering the worst case of dementia. The fact that the senator is on record as saying that he has nothing to lose since he can easily retake his post at the Senate in case of a defeat—which, by the way is an absolute possibility—is already proof that he should not be taken seriously. But then again, who in this country, aside from the desperate people in Malacañang, takes Lito Lapid seriously?
This is an actor who has no weight even in his own circle of influence, which is show business. He has not been cited for any acting award; not even any a sincere token of recognition from his peers. And local show business dishes out these achievement awards like they are free for the taking, practically everyone else has been honored. His recent movie was trounced in the box office. Kulelat (bottom dweller). He distinguished himself in the Senate as an expensive piece of furniture, someone who simply filled space.
Drafting Lito Lapid for mayor of Makati is a sick joke. In fact, a friend of mine who was in the vicinity of the area where the Senator launched his candidacy over the weekend reported that even the people in the neighborhood did not bother to kibitz at the political ruckus that was happening nearby. It was a non-event. He will lose and his defeat will only validate this administration’s desperation.
At least Richard Gomez is an accomplished actor (with a clutch of acting plums to his name), sportsman, model, and television talk show host. I will even grudgingly concede that he has also distinguished himself as a civic leader courtesy of his anti-drugs campaign in the ’90s known as Mamamayan Ayaw sa Droga (citizenry against drugs). I will even turn a blind eye to his opportunist stance manifested by his sudden change of heart. Up until last year, he was spewing invectives at this administration. Now he is singing paeans. At a meeting last Saturday, my friend, Inquirer columnist Rina Jimenez David couldn’t resist noting her alarm that the more Gomez’s political ambitions get frustrated, the loftier they become. When he got trounced as party- list representative, he set his sights on becoming governor. That didn’t work either.
And now, Richard Gomez as senator? Oh please. I hate being mean, but a friend of mine who was his classmate and friend (past tense because when he got famous the actor didn’t seem to know him anymore) cannot vouch for his “academic performance” (the more astute reader will know that I am being kind here). Okay, maybe academic prowess or at the very least some proof of thinking process is not necessary in the Senate today given our current crap, I mean crop of Senators. But the fact is that Gomez has not shown any competence in analysis, nay, comprehension of the complexities of national issues at all. Something else between the ears other than a cute face is required of a senator.
In the many times that he appeared on television to take a position on a raging national issue his opinions clearly lacked depth. It is difficult to argue with popularity, but Gomez and his fans are forgetting that good looks are simply not enough.
And then there is his legendary temper and ego. Many friends in show business claim that Gomez is second only to Robin Padilla, the so-called Bad Boy of Philippine movies, in terms of number of skirmishes in the industry. He has repeatedly shown a propensity for losing his cool in heated situations. In other words, pikon na mayabang pa (hot- tempered and full of himself). What, he will challenge Senator Richard Gordon to fisticuffs during Senate hearings?
As if it is not enough that we already have actors Bong Revilla, Lito Lapid and Jinggoy Estrada as senators, Malacañang seems bent on further beautifying the Senate by trying to add more pretty faces—Richard Gomez, Cesar Montano, and Edu Manzano. This is insane! Lokohan na talaga ito!
To complete the cast of characters that will transform the Senate into today’s version of “That’s Entertainment” Malacañang has announced the impending return engagement of the dancing queen herself, the former Senator Tessie Aquino Oreta. I am sure her lackeys will assert that Oreta has other qualifications. Yup, as youngest sister of Ninoy Aquino and as look-alike of Tessie Tomas (remember she actually capitalized on her resemblance and on the fact that she had the dumb luck of sharing the same name with another celebrity).
Just like Gomez, Oreta was also an erstwhile vociferous critic of this administration. Fortunately pride is non-fattening.
I am sure that Koko Pimentel is a competent person. The little that I know of him seems to indicate that he is a prime candidate for the Senate. He is a Bar topnotcher. He is articulate and he talks sense. But his father is an incumbent senator whose term ends in 2010, which means that if he wins, there will be a father and son tandem at the Senate.
Can’t he wait?
Despite my misgivings about Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr.’s alliance with the Erap forces, I must admit that I have affection for this man despite the fact that I have called him “bitter” in the past. The truth is, I used to think the world of Senator Pimentel. As an activist in college, I would have followed him to the ends of the world. Which is why I am really sad that he is capping his political career with the mark of a traditional politician, one who forsakes principles for the sake of ensuring his family’s continued hold on power.
It is not too late yet, Senator Pimentel. Please allow us to cling to that shining moment during the height of the Erap impeachment when you made us very proud when you stuck to principle by resigning as Senate president rather than accept the results of that doomed voting.