Reading a tweet about Sen. Manny Villar and his security convoy going the wrong way down a one-way street yesterday made me realize something.
Senator Manuel Villar Jr is the president we deserve. Not the one we need, just what we deserve because if you really think about it, Manny Villar is us.
He Was Born Poor
Think about it. He was born in poverty, just like all the rest of us. Maybe you weren’t born poor, maybe you grew up in a stately manor, but guess what? There’s enough poverty to go around, so it sort of averages out. You were born in poverty too, by the sheer ubiquitousness of poverty in the Philippines.
He won’t let you forget it, either. His very response to the allegations against him is this: napakahirap bang isipin na ang isang mahirap ay puwedeng maging presidente sa Pilipinas (is it that hard to accept that someone poor can become president of the Philippines?) It’s pretty much the whole idea behind his campaign, the very raison d’etre of one Manny Villar.
He’s Just Another Victim
When caught, he plays the victim (of inconsiderately placed one-way streets, say,) and insists on his innocence. He’s not guilty, he’s just being persecuted, a mentality that everyone from your illegal sidewalk vendor to Marlene Aguilar has.
He refuses to face the charges against him, and instead talks to everyone about how unjust and rigged everything is. To everyone except his accusers, at any rate.
His supporters say that it’s all political, and people are just talking crap because they’re jealous of him. And, really, this line of reasoning isn’t all that foreign to us. We’ve probably used it too at some point. Maybe not about million-peso road projects, but it’s the principle of the thing.
He Throws Money At Problems
Failing that, he (allegedly) tried to bribe Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to go easy on him, and if anonymous text messages can be trusted (they cannot), he’s offered everything from millions of pesos to cabinet positions to his underlings.
Which, if you think about it, is exactly what a lot of us would do in that situation. True, your average Filipino will probably never have to (nor have the money to) bribe Senate President Enrile, but would think nothing of losing 100 pesos to your friendly neighborhood MMDA traffic cop to get out of trouble.
Flagging ratings because a former president dies, and then suddenly here comes a new challenger? No problem. Just flood everything with campaign ads. If the latest Pulse Asia survey is to be believed, that strategy seems to have worked: Villar has overtaken the Liberal Party’s Senator Benigno Aquino III by one percentage point. Statistically irrelevant (perhaps), but it shows that no matter how many times Mareng Winnie Monsod explains (and refutes Villar’s defenders on ) the C5 issue, Villar isn’t slowing down at all.
Which means that for all the voter education campaigns, debates and an 84-page Senate report on the C5 issue, more Filipinos might still vote for this guy because he was born poor, so he’s noble; he’s already rich so he won’t steal;because, if you don’t vote for him, fuck you, bias ka.