Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres Gomez: legislator, TV host, magic fairy

In Worse Than Free (2005), journalist and personal superhero Vergel Santos scored Noli de Castro for shilling a brand of brandy in a television commercial while still a news presenter for ABS-CBN.

He said de Castro, by agreeing to endorse Emperador Brandy, “increased his television exposure, not to mention his
earnings” and ended up topping the 2001 senatorial elections. And it was based on a bald-faced lie.

The point is he got where he is partly by misrepresenting himself and breaching ethics: As one who never touched the stuff, he was less than truthful in his brandy commercial, and as a media person, less than proper.

Since then, the worlds of advertising and politics have overlapped so often that Philippine media is like New york City (Earth-616)in the Marvel Universe.

Except with less costumes, more barongs

Senator Francis Escudero’s endorsement of Technomarine is only among the latest, but Senators Loren Legarda, Panfilo Lacson, and former senator Richard Gordon have all appeared in ads for laundry detergent, a dermatologist, and for anti-bacterial soap. Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao falls in a different category altogether for endorsing every product ever made, and for being a part-time congressman.

Those ads, at least, were based on reality. Escudero wears a watch, Legarda wears clothes, and Gordon washes his hands (also, he donated his talent fee to the Red Cross, he said). Senator Lacson has nice skin, I guess.  Pacquiao is Pacquiao, the closest thing the Philippines has to an actual Thor (half god/half congressman). Not so these recent ads by Lucy Torres Gomez, Leyte representative and fairy of some sort.

In a series of TV commercials for a brand of detergent, Gomez is portrayed as some sort of fairy/superhero in the fight against mildew and laundry that smells of damp. She even has corny catch phrases like “Wash out!”, “Kaya ng powers ko (my powers can handle this!), and “More powers to you!”

"Wash Out!"

Sadly, she is not speaking of the powers of Congress to hold inquiries in aid of legislation and to craft laws but of the stain-beating, mildew-removing powers of this detergent of which she is the personification.

Listen, we get that politics is mostly a joke in this country, and we have very low expectations when we elect actors (and their spouses) to the legislature, but come on.

There is a certain gravitas to legislation and we expect our lawmakers to act a certain way. Sure, you can go ahead and steal our money, let your children act like beasts now and then, but at least do it with dignity. Save the silly costumes for the annual State of the Nation Address.

This is no basis for a system of government