‘Tis the season

By: Reyshimar C. Arguelles

IT’S October, and we can already feel the crawling thrill in our bones as we are nearing a season that’s so significant to the lives of Filipinos.

It’s the season we are all looking forward to, the season when people in power get down from their high horses to be with the poor and the begotten of society. It’s the season of giving. The season of jingles. The season when it’s easy to say goodwill exists, especially when it comes from a generous heart. Of course, I’m talking about election season.

This week, aspirants for next year’s midterm elections will be filing their certificates of candidacy or COCs and officially start their run for office. So far, each party has pinpointed possible candidates, some of whom have already confirmed (as of this writing) their intent.

The ruling PDP-Laban, which operates on a Federalist platform (I wonder how it’s working out for them after the “Pepe-Dede” fiasco), had announced eight possible bets as early as September. Former Philippine National Police Chief and current Director of the Bureau of Corrections Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, so far, was the only candidate from the party to declare his bid for the Senate. His main platform for running? Avoid grilling people during Senate inquiries the same way he was grilled for the systemic murders that happened when he was at the helm of the PNP.

But this, of course, is nothing significant compared to Mocha Uson’s declaration of her candidacy. After resigning from the Presidential Communications and Operations Office and promising hellfire on her detractors and critics, she is bent on leveraging her online clout to wipe the slate clean of traditional politicians or trapos. She told the press she wanted to become the voice of the ordinary Filipino, which is something a trapo might say to get approval.

The opposition is also fielding an all-star cast of characters in a multi-front battle for Congress. Threatened by the combined might of the PDP-Laban and the offshoot Hugpong ng Pagbabago, NPC, and Lakas-CMD the opposition will pit two established showbiz personalities, a former rebel, and a collection of seasoned lawyers against possibly pretty much the same motley crew of hypocritical masters of cognitive dissonance. The opposition is focused on marketing itself as a stalwart of what’s good and what’s right, even if it means covering up their own failure in stymieing the rise of a proto-Fascist movement from hell.

Much of the marketing focuses on how one side runs counter to another. The opposition see their cause as a Crusade for bringing back decency in government and prevent the cancer that is Dutertism from overwhelming the country. The pro-Duterte cliques, on the other hand, are intent on finally wiping out the evil, elitist Dilawans from existence and secure the freedom to do whatever they damn well please. In contests like this, it’s how you pitch your product and not the quality that matters the most.

Elections serve as a contest not only for determining who gets to be in power, but also who gets to be right. If you get voted into office, it’s because people believe in your vision of a just society and that you represent their interests in ways no other career politician can.

When you see these personalities speak in public, it’s as if they’re speaking to you from the heart. On the surface, it looks as if they mean what they say. But what most of us fail to notice is that, when you’re out there gaining support for a sellable cause, you are bound to say anything, just like a parent would to a child who insists on buying ice cream.

Elections have always been a peculiar thing. Like Christmas, it’s that time where you get to act decent only to revert back to being a windbag once you tear the decorations off the roof of your house. People remain people. Goodwill is temporary.

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