Editorial: Presidential Elections took a Weird turn tonight

The Philippine Presidential Elections just took an unusual turn tonight as a TV ad using children came out to scare people from voting frontrunner Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City. The ad started with a young boy wearing yellow and saying an opening line. “Ganito ba ang gusto nyo?” (Is it this what you want?).  Then it transitioned to Duterte saying things about killing people. Then, another child in white with a good facial expression saying “Mali po ang pumatay!” (Killing is Wrong!). Then, it switches to Duterte saying cuss words directed to the Pope.  Then, another child in blue will ask if it is right to curse the Pope?

The ad continued with Duterte saying “Mabuhay ang NPA!” (Long Live the New People’s Army). A boy then shouted. “Ituro po sa amin ang tama!” (Teach us what is right!). Then it showed the Davao Mayor kissing a girl then throwing a joke that the mayor should be first. A little girl will then say “Mali pong mambastos ng babae!” (It is wrong to disrespect women). A video of Mayor Duterte then appears with him saying “If I am elected President it will be bloody!”. Then another girl will ask if he is what we want for them.  The ad ended with the mayor supposedly showing a dirty finger but it was blurred.

Reaction after seeing the most mind-boggling ad in the Presidential Elections

Wow! Did they really put that in prime time? Rumor has it that someone paid ABS-CBN 20 Million pesos to show the ad. The rumor said that other networks rejected the ad but the Lopez-owned firm went on with it.  Some people are moving mountains just to pull down the leading presidential candidate.  I think there is a lot more at stake rather than freedom or the positions of power.  Behind every serious election campaigns are business interests that are jockeying for position. That is why billions of pesos flood every 6 years.  The Philippines become one big casino and the winners win big and the losers will suffer for 6 years.

If Comelec is just so strict about campaign spending then most likely all candidates except Miriam Defensor Santiago should be disqualified.  How much do those TV ads cost? How many pesos were spent on shirts, posters, ballers, and stickers? Coming out with an ad using children is one big low blow. There is even a worse video of the same theme circulating in social media with children doing the cursing themselves. Is this the type of campaign we want in every election?  The ad just crossed the line.

Duterte definitely has flaws, but it is more flawed to use children to sow fear in our society. Where is the decency? It is funny that some people are righteous enough to condemn the mayor but found nothing wrong with the ad.  They should come out and say that  it is wrong.  Instead, I hear silence.  Worse, some decent and educated people shared the video and highlighted the message.  What is happening?  Do you hate the candidate so much that you act worse than him?

Around 2,000 years ago, there was this man who wanted change and preached something different from the usual.  He had a share of followers but the people in power were scared of him. Who wants change when the status quo is good enough, right? That person was condemned and he died because many wanted him crucified.

In 50 years, our grandchildren will be talking about the 2016 elections.  They will say that 2016 Presidential elections changed the course of our country. The outcome is actually in our hands.  So my parting question is which side of history will you be in?

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