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Monday, February 25, 2013

The Philippine Election Campaign……Olympics of Hypocrisy. (Part I)

Photo courtesy of www.news.nfo.ph
More than a week ago, the political campaign for the Philippines’ mid-term election on May 2013 has commenced.  By now, I would surmise to say that the campaign fever has increased its heat and expected to reach its steaming point a few weeks before the election date.

In retrospect, the most memorable election that opened my mind to politics was the national poll in November 1965, contested by then President Diosdado Macapagal and then Senate President Ferdinand Marcos, both gone to the beyond. That time, as a new college graduate, I have just started my employment with The Manila Times of the late Chino Roces and thus accessible to all information on political issues of the country, specifically the said election.

I can still vividly recall the intensity of the campaigns of both Liberal and Nacionalista parties, highlighted by the organization of the Blue Ladies of Imelda Marcos and the Lakambinis in Pink  of Eva Macapagal with their die-hard supporters who were ready to do everything to ensure the victory of their candidates.  
I cannot forget how the Liberal Party tried to portray their candidate Macapagal as the “Poor boy from Lubao, Pampanga” and inculcated in the minds of the voters as an incorruptible political leader. Of course, the Nacionalista Party of Marcos considered this as a highest form of hypocrisy, underlining numerous issues of corruption and publicly underscoring the infamous Harry Stonehill’s US Tobacco Corporation corruption scandal that rocked Macapagal’s early incumbency. Marcos' party likewise established the fact that Harry Stonehill was the financier of Macapagal when he first ran for President against President Carlos P. Garcia in 1961. Aside from the corruption issues, Macapagal’s administration was denounced by Marcos in its subservience to foreign interests, having ineffective economic policies and incompetence in governance.  

Former President Diosdado Macapagal

On the other end of the spectrum, the Nacionalista party depicted Marcos as a second World War hero and a potential national leader with his exemplary achievements in the local and national political scenes. With Marcos placing no 1 in the Philippine bar examination after reviewing in a prison cell, an abnormal situation, was no mean feat after all.

Naturally the Liberal party countered by tagging Marcos as a murderer in the Nalundasan case, a land grabber, corporate stock manipulator, a womanizer and a corrupt public official in his influencing peddling and accepting bribery and illegal commissions from reparation contracts under the Japanese Reparation Law. In addition, Marcos was also branded as a forger for the fake war damage claims for lost cattle in his father’s ranch in Mindanao and his fake second  World War medals.

The marvel that developed throughout what was considered as the longest political campaign in our nation’s history, was judged by many as a total war between the opposing parties. As the campaign came closer to election day, the tussle between the parties turned nasty and dreadful and displayed all forms of serious accusations and allegations between the presidential candidates.

History will tell us that Marcos eventually won the election by more than half a million votes against incumbent President Macapagal even with the entire bureaucracy, the military organization  and the mammoth government resources under his disposal. 

Many political analysts believed  that the showing of the movie “Iginuhit ng Tadhana” was the singular  most effective and persuasive factor that won the Presidency for Marcos. The controversial movie that depicted the life story of Marcos stirred a legal battle after its banning and generated the support of the voting population., especially in the far flung barrios, towns and cities in the provinces. The “Iginuhit ng Tadhana” movie  became the arrow that pierced the “Achilles heel” of Macapagal in that election.  More than that, most of us could not undermine the vital role of the Blue Ladies and how Imelda Marcos sang and danced to the hearts of the voting populace

More than what was written above, both political party candidates displayed with flamboyance the highest form of hypocrisy and audacity throughout their campaign sorties. I have reasons to believe that, in that political campaign, the Nacionalista party  has mastered the art of hypocrisy, an attribute necessary for politicians to win elections, both in the national and local levels.

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