Free political campaign advice from the Charles Englund Foundation (CEF):
In the curious morass that is the Filipino collective psyche, a leader must never volunteer or present himself for political office, more so, not for the (cue trumpets) “highest office in the land” (or what people in other countries simply call, the presidency). To present one’s self would be too assertive. Filipinos will say, “Ang yabang naman!” or “Ambisyosa!”. Your candidacy will be dead before it can take off.
In order to bypass this shameful, taboo act of volunteering one’s self, a political hopeful has to be seen as “a reluctant candidate”. The person has to be begged to run, with loud wailing in the streets (or social media), gnashing of teeth and beating of the chest. And that is not enough. After that, he or she must refuse at least three times, to replicate and pay homage to the denial of Saint Peter in the Bible. Once the requisite number of “No, I don’t want to be President/Vice President” is said, making sure that every single Pinoy from Apari to Jolo has heard him or her, one can then graciously accept.
This acceptance has to be in the spirit of “Sigue na nga. If you insist”. Note, the same kind of ritual happens whenever a Pinoy offers to pick up the check or asks you to have dinner at their house. Remember, deny three times even though you are broke. Deny three times even if you are dying to eat the pork chop or fried chicken they are having for dinner, and you are trying to avoid your mother’s dreaded ampalaya dish at home. For their part, the person offering to pay or host you for dinner has to make sure they ask you three times as well. That way you will know it is a sincere invitation.
You can practice this feigned reluctance in many ways. For example, another situation is when your office is having a karaoke session. Make sure there is a loud clamor for your vocal talents before whipping out your pre-cued minus one from your pocket, or before saying “song 1011 my way by frank sinatra please thank you”
Tip. It helps a lot if you are seen as running due to a “force beyond your control”. Typically, this means carrying on the cudgels for a political spouse, parent or sibling that has died. Be sure to reference your dear departed many times in your speeches. Better yet, adopt a color — yellow, red, blue, or white to cement the link between you and your dead relation. Remember, we Filipinos go by color coding and emotion, not ideologies or platforms.
Once it is clear that you are in this race not by your own design and desire, but by divine will, Filipinos can be more assured that you are not out to ransack the national treasury. Once you have allowed yourself to be wooed like a bride, Filipinos can now agree to the joys of honeymoon consumation. In other words, we do not want political sluts, we want virgins. Chalk that one up to 500 years of Roman Catholicism.
The candidate has to be pure and saintly. Not a potty mouth because apparently in the Philippines our role models for our kids are not parents but politicians. Which brings us to another useful tip–it is mandatory to have a stock PR picture of the candidate kneeling in a church, gazing heavenward or else head bowed in abject humility. Release this stock photo to media whenever Comelec tries to disqualify you, or whenever you inadvertently curse the Pope.
Next tip, never under any circumstances produce a music video. Singing and dancing, even twerking, are so passe. It reeks of trapo. Save your money, unless you are filthy rich and own the whole of Cubao. That money you are using to hire an American political consultant? Pay it to the Charles Englund Foundation instead, BPI account 555-23142. Paseo de Roxas branch. It will be better spent and I’m giving you all the campaign advice you’ll ever need here anyway.
Lastly and most important, make sure you have friends–old fraternity mates, golf buddies, shooting range buddies, video game buddies in Comelec and the Supreme Court. In fact, if you have done your planning and are ready with the spurious PCOS machines and a list to disenfranchise three million Filipinos (supposedly to clean up the voters list, but hey wait, they all seem to be living in Davao) then skip to the end of this article. You never needed to read it in the first place.
C’mon, you always knew we never had the rule of law here. Money talks and boy do you have a lot of it. In the Philippines, what we have is the rule of lawyers, and the rules of the ruling party. Ladies and gentlemen, present your posteriors and assume the position. Destiny awaits.