January-June 2004
Special Election Issue
The Campaign

Campaigning, Filipino style

10 GIMMICKS PRACTICED BY NATURAL-BORN POLITICIANS Candidates use humor and hand signals, symbols and slogans to sell themselves.

1. Get a nickname.

Mr Palengke — Mar Roxas
Kap — Bong Revilla Jr.

Other nicknames:
The Rock — Raul Roco
Doc — Parouk Hussin
Kabayan — Noli de Castro
Compañera — Pia Cayetano
Wow Dick — Richard Gordon
JPE — Juan Ponce Enrile
Manong/Mr. Expose/Ka Ernie — Ernesto Maceda

2. Invent or recycle a hand or fist signal.

3. Be crafty with your slogans.

If you’re an actor, your slogan should say something about you being a hero, or, better yet, giving the people the starring role. Feel free to use words from your movie titles.

Tickle the fancy of the millions of fans of a massively popular Taiwanese boy band.

If you’re the other party, think quickly of the perfect counter-slogan.

Play with your name. Make up some rhymes. Do it today. Don’t waste any time.

If you’ve been here before, make sure your slogan sells what you think you’ve done for the people.

4. Play with symbols.

Never mind if you end up looking like a Sanrio product or the long-lost father of Pucca (the better to attract the youth).

At the campaign kick-off, Raul Roco and his slate emerged in a V formation. He said they want to be an arrow “to break the campaign of the other tickets.”

Panfilo Lacson has appropriated the color red for his campaign, which, he says symbolizes bravery.

But Roco also called on his supporters to wear red or floral clothing last Feb. 10, the first day of the campaign period, to show that while he doesn’t have the money and machinery that FPJ and GMA have, Roco has “the support of thinking believers who also happen to be fashionable.” Roco has never gone out to campaign without a floral shirt on him. Flowers, he has been quoted to have said, “will be the symbol of hope.”

5. Find a reference to a historical figure.

Former police chief and Manila mayor Alfredo Lim’s battle cry is one of equality before the law and uses the Katipunan to sell this.

In one of his kick-off speeches, Lacson, a native of Imus, Cavite, referred to Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, the first president of the Republic, and told the crowd it was time for another president from Cavite.

6. Find a well-loved movie star that you think resembles you and ask her to endorse you.

7. Create a jingle. (It better be a good one, as the Filipino’s love for music is legendary.)

Jazz up your original ditties and make promises of hope and redemption.

  • ‘Pag si Ping ang aking pangulo
    Tapos ang hirap, tapos ang gulo.

    – Ping Lacson
  • Kaya si Brother Eddie na ang ating iboto
    Nang tumino na ang ating gobyerno.

    – Eddie Villanueva
  • Nasa iyo ang kinabukasan
    May bagong umagang parating.

    – FPJ. (Okay, this one was originally Bayang Barrios’s entry in a pop music contest, but the lyrics were perfect for any candidate.)

Or pay huge amounts to buy the rights to already popular songs

[Parokya ni Edgar’s ‘Mr. Suave’]

[Sex Bomb’s ‘Ispageti Song’]

[The folk song ‘Leron Leron Sinta.’ Hers is ‘Loren Loren Sinta’]

[Willie Revillame’s ‘Pito-Pito’]

8. Court the youth. (After all, half of all voters are below the age of 35.)

9. Get those hands working (and we don’t mean just by shaking hands with total strangers).

10. Entertain.
(And hope they stay and listen to your speeches afterward.)

Emerge on the stage wrapped in clouds of smoke and bathed in multicolored spotlights.

Get the Comedy King to make your intro and tell people how gorgeous you are. Have Vic and Joey sing and the hot Sex Bomb Dancers to cue your entrance, thereby completing a political version of “Eat Bulaga.” (FPJ, campaign kick-off, Cuneta Astrodome)

Have Mr. Pure Energy, Gary V, cap your campaign rally. (Bro. Eddie, February 22, Luneta grandstand)

Get Kris Aquino on stage to say you are without doubt the best, as she does for floor tiles, corned beef, cell phones, and skin whiteners. Throw Boy Abunda into the package and let the audience pretend they’re watching a live episode of “The Buzz.” (GMA)