The Philippines has always been proud of being a so-called "democratic" country. Becoming a republic in 1898 after three centuries of Spanish domination, only to become an American colony. Given a Commonwealth status and slated to transition into an independent country only to be spoiled by the ravages of war as Japan kicked out the Americans. The country got its independence only to spiral out into disunity and factionalism as crooked politicians and corrupt system transformed this proud country into a "sick man of the region."
Elections in the Philippines is like a mashup of everything that you can see in a movie. Action-packed political assassinations, melodramatic public appeals, comedic campaign jingles, dirty political intrigues, and serious political debates rolled into one. When it comes to election campaigns, we can say that the political candidates are creative for all the wrong reasons. They master the art of lying and deception with their catchy and attention-grabbing jingles. No platforms, all bullshits. They try to do whatever it takes to reach the electorate's heads and influence them to sell their votes.
There is the rise of what you called "epals" - thick-faced and spineless politicians who disregard public morality with their blatant disregard of pasting their ugly faces on every imaginable space that they see. It is an utter mess that even public service is overshadowed by their obsession of their political self-image. Psy of Gangnam fame has said that he allows everyone to use his song. That means, we will hear a lot of Gangnam this coming election. It is really a disgraceful act but many Filipinos continue to vote the same old politicians who are doing the same old tricks. These guys spend a lot of money during the election campaign but barely provide public service (because the utter lack of funds, the usual excuse). When they do provide public projects, most are public works from bridges to roads that are often overpriced.
Here are some videos that will show you how rampant this practice is.
Philippine politics is a circus with names and faces of politicians on billboards, bus stops, road projects, and even on electric posts. What makes it worse, it happens all year round! They talk about empty promises and provide false hopes. They don't speak about their political platforms in their ads because they let our favorite artistas do the talking for them. Talk about articulating their political agenda, they don't! Whether we believe it or not, these artistas are not even genuinely politically educated because they all get paid to do their part (of course they won't admit it right?).
What are the worst campaign ads ever?
Team Unity Ad (2007) - They tried to form a rag-tag team of unproven wannabe politicos and old guard trapos and mashed it up with Queen's favorite rock single "We Will Rock You."
Zubiri Ad (2007) - Zubiri Idol ka. Boom tarat tarat. That says it all, what more can I say?
Pichay Ad (2007) - Although he spent a lot of advertising money to promote himself but I don't understand why the imagery is focused on the fact that Butch's name sounds like pechay, thus "Itanim sa Senado." As they say in Tagalog, "...pupulutin sa kangkungan..." so maybe he has to say "Pangarap kong pangarapin ang mga pangarap n'yo."
Villar Ad (2007) - This could be the most over-played political ad ever. I got sick to my stomach every time I hear it. No offense but its being looped over and over again.
Don't be surprised to see politicians jumping in the Gangnam bandwagon. What do you think is the worst election campaign ad ever?
Video Credits: Youtube