Each time the topic of Philippine politics is brought up in any conversation I’m in, I simply answer “I have completely lost faith in that” just to be done with it. The funny thing is that the more often I say it, the less I seem to convince myself.
I try to avoid the topic like it was the plague knowing that however insightful the conversation was going to be, it will never change the fact that the Philippine government is run by stinking piles of sh*t. Yes, not everyone, but more than enough to make it stink all the same. To engage in an argument on how to purge the rot that is our government is, to me, a tiring practice in futility. And don’t even get me started on Binay.
But can you really avoid something that is as eternally relevant (albeit sometimes, surprisingly entertaining) as politics? The answer is probably no. And that is probably why you’re reading this rant of mine right now.
Today, where everything is up for media’s consumption, the mention of anything political is not just unavoidable, it is necessary. The lives of politicians, the public and the private, the banal and the controversial has never left the clutches of public interest. The public can’t get enough of it and a story on some politician who manages to swindle government funds by the millions has sort of become a tabloid staple.
These things, big or small, have some serious ramifications on the lives of the public like mine.
For example, this never-ending road reconstruction.
The Looooooooong and Winding Road
With the elections close at bay, some of our government officials have jumped into this road reconstruction frenzy. Supposedly, these road projects are mere implicit campaign materials of government officials who want to showcase their bravado in destroying a perfectly functional public road, only to reconstruct it again, as if telling us, the public, that our taxes are not going to end up on one of their many mistresses’ lucrative handbag collections, but is instead wasted to remake a road that was completely fine to begin with. The result? Unbearable traffic. I’ve completely lost count on the many times I just wanted to pull my hair out every time a supposedly thirty-minute ride turns into an endless voyage saga. The struggle is not just real, it’s time-consuming.
But the genius does not stop there. This also goes out to a multitude of other projects like flyovers, waiting sheds and overpasses. Some don’t even shy away from placing their full names in these infrastructures. It’s a direct insult to the public, if you ask me. The public owns them, not these narcissists.
The whole idea is perched on a logic that is as questionable as it is self-contradicting. In what way would distressing the public over hours of endless traffic result to a favorable electoral result for a public official who commissions it? Well, the answer might lie in a popular saying in show business.
“Bad publicity is still publicity”. Just look at Kim Kardashian.
In retrospect, if our country has managed to impeach a President for undeniable accounts of corruption only to be re-elected as its capital city’s mayor, then the saying is most probably true. I guess in the end, it’s the familiar family name and not the merits that earns people’s votes.
And since we’re on the topic of familiar family names, let us talk about one that has made their rounds on TV and on the web for what seems like forever, the infamous Binays.
Keeping up with the Binays
Jejomar “Jojo” Cabauatan Binay, Sr. is currently the fifteenth Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines under President Benigno S. Aquino III and is undeniably the star of the family.
Binay’s poltical presence has been nothing short of prolific.From a myriad of scandals relating to unexplanaible wealth and ownership of houses, mansions and rest houses to accounts of graft, Binay has made himself one of the most controversial politicians in recent memory. But what irks me the most is how he has dealt with all of these accusations. Instead of facing them, the man has evaded and has instead buried himself in an endless black propaganda movement against the government. The very government he belongs to. And of course let us not forget the vomit-inducing TV commercials, for he has exploited that as well.
If only possible, campaign commercials should have a finite hypocrisy limit. But if there was going to be one, I’m pretty sure that’s not going to stop Binay from going out of his way to set world records. If you have seen his recent ads then you’re probably just as disgusted as I am. If you haven’t, lucky you. I swear, every time I see that man hug an OFW, something in my gut starts to stir.
But we should not be one to quickly judge. The man has not been proven guilty. Yet. But someone who publicly claims he is not guilty , that all these allegations are all political ploys, yet surprisingly does not attend all of his hearings to face the charges is definitely sending the wrong signals. Not to mention the timely airing of his commercials during the debacle of the Makati Parking building and the Makati Science High School Building is all too suspicious.
So to all public officials who are still to release their campaign materials, please stop taping yourselves hugging the poor. We all know that is not what you’re about. We don’t want you to hug us in the middle of a public market, engage us in small talk on the side of the road nor break out into your campaign jingle in the town plaza. And Mr. Binay, if you’re thinking about it and I know you are very desperate for attention, we most definitely don’t want to see you to twerk it like Miley, either. Save that for the wife. We want you to promise us that you’d do your jobs, and that is to make every Filipino’s life a little bit better.
But the man of the house does not have the spotlight all to himself.
The wife, Dr. Elenita Sombillo-Binay was the mayor of Makati City from 1998 to 2001 and is currently the Second Lady of the Philippines. Some of the children have joined the party as well, that is Makati City Mayor Jejomar “Junjun” Binay, Jr. and 2nd District of Makati Representative Mar-len Abigail “Abby” Binay. But the most famous offspring is Senator Nancy Binay who, since being elected, has had unparalleled number of memes under her belt, which is probably her greatest achievement.
It’s political dynasty at its finest.
We must, Therefore We can
But all of these unfortunate events don’t need to continue. Ultimately, the power to overturn our nation’s current situation rests on us, the public. And on the day of the elections we will have the chance to exercise that power again. Let us not waste it. We are a nation that has once ended a twenty year regime of corruption and oppression. I have no doubt we can do it again.
So probably I should also stop avoiding the conversation as well. The argument on candidates regarding who’s more qualified than who sure is a tiring effort. But it may not be entirely futile. Maybe, this is not the right time to lose faith, either. Maybe we as a people will be able to sort it out in the end. Maybe one day we can all be in a conversation where the topic of politics is something we can talk pleasantly about without mentioning the word Binay ever again.
Maybe. But until then, allow me to rant.