Saturday, December 5, 2009

Celebrity factor hyped up to the max in 2010 polls

By Nestor Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:07:00 12/04/2009

Filed Under: Elections, Celebrities, Eleksyon 2010

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines — Now that certificates of candidacy for next year’s elections have been filed, it’s eminently clear that those not so strange bedfellows—show biz and politics—will once again enjoy a slap-happy roll in the hay in the 2010 polls. A bumper crop of major and minor celebrities have thrown their hats, salakots, wigs and toupees into the political ring, hoping against hope that they can successfully parlay their vast or middling popularity into political gold.

They’re all in there, broadly beaming: Vilma Santos, Bong Revilla, Herbert Bautista, Aiko Melendez, Richard Gomez, Joey Marquez, Lou Veloso, Imelda Papin, Alma Moreno, Ricky Davao, Christopher de Leon, Cesar Montano, Manny Pacquiao, Rommel Padilla, Terry Aunor, Alfred Vargas, Ara Mina, Anjo Yllana—etc.!

Track records

Some bets from show biz, like Vilma, have proven track records in governance to bank on, but others have yet to prove their political worth, so they’re running on a wing and a prayer—and in the fervent hope that they, like some other stars or starlets before them, can make good use of their popularity or at least their recognizability to fuel their avowed bid to serve the public.

They have good reason to be so hopeful, because Joseph Estrada, Noli De Casto, Loren Legarda, Lito Lapid and many other national figures have proven it can be done, sometimes with overwhelming success.

Many other celebrities have failed to end up in the winners’ circle, but stars and starlets choose to focus on the success stories, praying that their luck and pluck will rub off on them—at a fraction of the cost that noncelebrity bets have to contend with just to get recognized by the voting populace, let alone becoming popular, admired and liked enough to get elected.

They’re banking on the uniquely intimate relationship between Filipino luminaries and their fans, some of whom have a hard time seeing the difference between a performer’s “persona” and his person.

That’s why action stars figure most strongly in elections, as fans and voters hope that the heroes they so admirably play on the silver screen will come to their rescue in real life. Alas, all too soon, they wake up with a thud from their cinematic pipe’s dream, and realize that there’s a big disconnect between life and hype.

Good job

Be that as it may, some celebrities-turned-politicians do end up doing a good job, so hope perpetually springs. Then, there’s the additional plus factor of stars being regarded as close friends by some voters, so when they become public servants, there’s a more personal quality to the help they provide.

In any case, would-be politicians can learn valuable lessons from the celebrity-politician syndrome to improve their own chances of winning. As a veteran politician with roots in the biz puts it: If you want to serve the public but people don’t know you from Adam Lambert, first make a name for yourself in sports, show biz or media, then run for office—by joining the rapidly expanding “celebrity factor” club!

Original Story:

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