How To Win Philippine Elections
To anyone and everyone, real Filipino citizens and the "Filipino" on paper who wishes to run for public office in the Philippines,
1. Be good-looking.
I’m sorry to say, but if you aren’t artistahin (e.g. your smile isn’t perfect), you’ll need to campaign a lot extra. It pays to be good looking (literally) because that way, you win the hearts of the people who will see you as good-looking and “good”….. or as others would say, “gwapo at mabait”.
2. Be an action star first.
Your goal is to be cast in movies that will make you the hero, beating up the bad guys, while defending the poor people... and, well, your pretty leading lady. That’s all you ever really need to do to solidify your “hero of the masses” image, so this is one path to take. Of course, people will think that if you’re fighting the bad guys in the movies, you’ll be fighting the bad guys in real life, too. That is, unless it’s you who’s the real bad guy, but no one needs to know that.
Don’t have the acting chops? A great Plan B is to become a reporter or a newscaster first, be it on TV or radio. Believe me, it’s been tried and tested, and you can even win as far as the second most powerful seat in the land. The goal is to gain credibility and a lot of mass media exposure. With a voice like yours and one with such conviction, how can people not believe you?
3. Be a trash-talker.
Memorize all the popular Filipino swear words and practice enunciating it well. Try it in front of the mirror. If you’re not offending others (or perhaps yourself?) then you’re doing it wrong. All the better if you can cuss in multiple dialects, too. Candidates who are fluent in trash-talking at campaign rallies, public speeches, and such, are perceived to be more authentic, or in other words “makatotoo”.
4. Be a fantastic liar.
Honesty is not an option.
In this fortunate day and age we live in, you don’t even need a PR team, whose job is supposed to highlight your achievements and downplay your flaws. All you need is your thick-skinned self—so thick, that you actually start believing in the lies you say! So it’s kind of like telling the truth right?
Try this exercise: “As far as I know, I graduated.” Repeat until believed as true. So yes, lie about your educational attainment, what you’ve done to help the people, your SALN, the tattoos on your back, your principles and beliefs, and even go as far as attempt to revise history!
Lie through your perfect teeth (or shall we say, your thousand-pesos-worth veneers), keep smiling and pretending like it’s nothing, and deflect and evade questions like a pro. Play the victim and accuse the media and your opponents of spreading fake news and information about you. They have every motive to! Churn out random numbers and statistics, act pro-poor and speak smart, make empty promises and state impossible solutions for the county’s sake. There is truth in the saying fake it ‘til you make it!
5. Be neutral as neutral as can be.
If you can’t manage to lie, then don’t speak at all. Say no to all debates and don’t ever take sides. IKeep making statements that sound profound. You don’t even need to propose an actual solution to address the issue at hand. Speak as if you really, genuinely care, even when in reality your words don’t really mean anything.
6. Be “poor”.
To win the hearts of the people, you have to come from a poor background. So try and dig into your family genealogy and you might find a great great great grand relative who was a farmer, a fisherman, or a teacher. Cite age-old “poor” experiences such as bathing in a sea of trash or celebrating Christmas Day in the middle of the streets.
Everybody loves a sad story, if you don’t believe me, watch Wowowin’.
So yes, please do try to manifest a “poor” angle into your background story, and people’s approval of you will skyrocket. And honestly, once seated, you don’t even need to make laws or support movements that are pro-poor in lieu of your aforementioned claims.
Because really, who cares what you do after you’re elected?
7. Be the one who is “next in line”.
Can’t find a poor relative? Another option is to ride on your parents’ or grandparents’ popular surname. If they died and fought for the country all their lives, people will automatically think that you’re the same, when really, you can’t even be bothered with such things. You’re up on your high horse, are fine with it, and would like to keep it that way, thank you very much.
Can’t find a relative who’s connected to a political family? Now how about being related to any of our country’s biggest actions stars? I think that’s even better!
8. Be present. That’s it.
Suck up to whoever is in the highest position of power and make your presence felt and seen, all day, everyday. Stand beside the president and make sure you are included in most (if not all) of his PR photos. You don’t even need to smile. In fact, you don’t even need to do anything.
9. Be of financially amazing status …or find yourself a wealthy ally.
If you can’t fund yourself, then find a backer, or form ties with whoever has a lot of money and is well-connected. You don’t even need to know if these are ill-gotten wealth, and therefore ill-gotten funds. It’s their problem, not yours.
Once you’ve secured your wellspring of political funds, then spend as you please. As wisely as possible. First rule is don’t explicitly vote-buy. Keep tabs on the latest sunog, or any unfortunate incident and be sure to flock to the place right after. Bring a cameraman with you (or a random person with a cellphone camera) and a ton of white envelopes with cash… er, “tulong”.
You can also curate random items, a.k.a. your political merch—can be a smart phone, basketball shoes, or even fruits, veggies, and other daily goods—and keep plastering your name and smug face on everything. Distribute it to your soon-to-be constituents, shake their hands firmly, and be warm, nice, and most of all, approachable. And they will remember you. And they will thank you. And they may vote for you.
Hire a troll farm so you can have an army of mindless defenders at your disposal, who can spread random and orchestrated information whenever there’s a forum, a debate, or backlash against you. After all, the trolls need money, you have the money, and now you’re giving them money! It’s a win-win situation, right?
Spend your political funds on random people who have nothing better to do. Invite as many to be present at your campaign rally, tell them that in return, they get a free t-shirt with your name on it, and some cash of course! It doesn’t even matter if these so-called supporters are from the barangay you are seeking position in. I mean, why is that important? They’re there for the photo ops.
10. Be an advocate.
The Philippines is so problematic that you’ll never run out of causes to claim you’re an advocate of. You can even invent one to make into a party list.
Teach farmers how to conserve water. Randomly say “walang magugutom” (no one is left hungry) as your campaign promise. Claim that freedom of the press is not at stake and campaign for campus journalism. And last but not least? Launch a war against drugs.
11. Be united with your allies.
Contrary to popular belief, running for a seat in public service doesn’t even require you to have your own values or principles, let alone stand by it and be firm with your beliefs.
I mean, who cares about that? Honestly, you don’t even need to stand up for your country’s rights and sovereignty. All you need to do is sign up for a political party (preferably one that’s endorsed by the president) and copy what everyone else in your group is saying and doing. Effortless.
12. Be a puppy.
And I don’t mean the cute and furry kind. Have a look at our current line up of government officials, and you’ll see well and clearly that the puppies (in Filipino, “tuta”) in our government aren’t cute at all!
By this I mean, forget that you are a human being with an intelligence and conscience, and allow yourself to be trained like a dog. Say yes to everything, wag your tail eagerly at all times, and lick your master’s feet, so to speak. Never cross the line and pray that your master won’t wake up one day and randomly decide to leave you all on your own. Our country has a lot of success stories that being a tuta guarantees you a political career.
13. Be an entertainer, first and foremost.
Can’t sing nor dance? I advise that you re-think your candidacy and assess if you’re really ready to run for public office.
Otherwise, sit down and work on your charisma first.