Monday, March 01, 2010

Drowning in Manny

Horror of horrors, Manny Villar seems to have taken possession of my body. He haunts me everywhere I go and whatever I do. Since I no longer watch television nor listen to the radio, he stalks me on Youtube and Facebook. On the same day I saw a caravan of Villar's supporters handing out flyers in the UP Diliman campus, a friend texted he heard the Villar ad on the MRT. Manny is anywhere and everywhere, omnipresent - like God.

Manny Villar, utang na loob, lubayan mo ako.

As I watched men in orange caps accost UP students, I wondered how much he's been spending to win his prize. All this election spending is not a bit like our consumer-led economic growth, all hot air with no ultimate substance. Posters and flyers are printed, ads are produced and aired, thousands are hired to serve the Villar election machine. Tremendous economic energy expended...for nothing. But no, the presidency is well worth Villar's investment. If GMA is any indication, the chief executive's SAL has a tendency to skyrocket upon assuming office. The presidency has proven lucrative. What businessman can resist?

But does Villar stand for anything? Speak for anything? Is he, like Noynoy's platform, driven by ideology at least? Look at the assembly of those in his roster - elements from the left, the right, current admin bureaucrats, the son of Marcos. One big happy family. Given the cast of the Manny Villar spectacle, what sorts of roles should we expect them to play? Are those who have chosen to throw their lot with Manny erring on the side of pragmatism? Principles be damned, we have to win the elections? For now Manny has acquiesced to being their sacred cash cow. But afterwards?

Villar has two messages for two different sections of the electorate. For the poor he says he is one of them. By sheer identification, he exhorts the poor to vote for him. What he will do for them to alleviate poverty is never explicitly discussed. For the non-poor he speaks of an 'entrepreneurial revolution.' Each time I hear him speak in forums and TV guestings, I hear nothing but platitudes a twelve-year old could deliver better. This doesn't mean Villar isn't smart. You need some sort of smarts to amass that fortune.

But is Manny a man who looks out for the public good? Does he even care to think about policy issues? Or does he simply want to purchase the presidency as he would any land acquisition? By the looks of it, he is pulling out all stops, using all sorts of media platform to deliver messages. We are drowning in you Manny V. You may yet pummel the electorate into submission.

No comments: