King of Philippine movies Fernando Poe, Jr. would have served in various political seats had he ran for a different position in 2004 elections. With 11.7 million Filipinos rooting for him to be president, that number of votes would have given the late action star a sure seat in the Senate.
His ambition, along with his showbiz background, was heavily criticized. Many viewed his presidential bid as another Joseph Estrada stunt, which relied purely on his popularity and whose machinery was heavily supported by political interest groups. But if FPJ were not an actor, yet still popular among the masses because of his deeds and advocacies of national importance, we would have had Susan Roces as First Lady and perhaps Grace Poe as the 16th president-elect of the country.
Apparently, that isn’t the case and FPJ was not destined to be the president. This is now a classic story. And it should serve as a warning to every showbiz personalities who have this urge to be in politics. Though it is true that one can be elected solely because of one’s popularity, this year’s election results prove that popularity alone is not a ticket to a public office.
You can say Manny Pacquiao and Tito Sotto are examples of showbiz/sports personalities that are extremely popular and now they are firmly entrenched in the Magic 12 of the senatorial race after the national elections on May 9.
Yes, they are, PacMan’s only ticket to the Senate was his massive popularity among the masses being an international boxing champion. But his performance as member of the House of Representative, being an elected representtive of Saranggani province, was nowhere near admirable. But his international feat as a boxer has overshadowed his dismal performance as a congressman.
Meanwhile, Sotto’s case is different. Appearing daily on TV as one of the hosts of the popular noontime show Eat Bulaga and a the height of the popularity of the AlDub tandem has cemented him in the consciousness of the electorate. Never mind if the audience of Eat Bulaga are unaware of what Tito Sotto had done as a member of the Senate. Oh, yes, I almost forgot, he had been given an International Award of Honor by the International Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association. What else? Sorry, I can’t recall of any.
Pacquiao and Sotto can already breathe a sigh of relief. But the same thing cannot be said of actor and outgoing Manila Vice Mayor Francisco Domagoso a.k.a Isko Moreno, former actor Mark Lapid, actor and TV host Edu Manzano, actress Alma Moreno and radio personality Rey Langit who obviously lag in the senatorial race and are almost impossible to be part of the Magic 12 even if a recount would take place.
It’s interesting to note that both Domagoso and Lapid have had successful political careers before the 2016 elections. Domagoso had been in elected position as a nine-term councilor in Manila’s first congressional district before becoming the capital’s youngest vice mayor. Lapid, meanwhile, was elected Governor of Pampanga at the young age of 24. Similarly, Manzano ran a successful campaign in 1998 and won as Vice Mayor of Makati City. Alma Moreno was best known for her contribution as president of Philippine Councilors League.
Nothing ruined their chances to become members of the Senate. It is just clear that they may be popular in their respective localilities, and their names ring a bell being celebrities themselves, but they were not big enough to win votes for a national position.
This begs the question: Did they do anything that had a national impact? Unless they have the superstar Internet status like that of AlDub then the question would be immaterial.
Meanwhile, in the local race, actress and wife of detained Senator Bong Revilla, Lani Mercado, has been proclaimed mayor of Bacoor City in Cavite. Their son Jolo Revilla won another term as vice governor of Cavite. Actor Richard Gomez won, at last, in an election, and this time as mayor of Ormoc City, his wife’s hometown city, while wife, Lucy Torres, was re-elected congresswoman of Leyte’s 4th District. Star for All Seasons Vilma Santos will be a legislator after serving three terms as governor of Batangas. She won as representative of sixth district of Batangas.
The stories of show business personalities who plunged into the whirring world of politics is both disconcerting.
Most fascinating is that of Lito Lapid’s political journey. From Vice Governor of Pampanga in 1992 to the Senate in 2010, he ran for a local post as Mayor of Angeles City in Pampanga in the last elections and lost, ending his political career rather too soon and along with his son, Mark Lapid who failed to win a spot in the Senate’s magic 12..
Shall we see a Lapid comeback in 2019? We will see and we will not be surprised if both father and son would.
The Ejercitos, nephews of re-elected Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada suffered a big blow in Laguna and Quezon provinces. ER Ejercito failed in his bid to be elected back and reclaim his place in Laguna’s provincial capitol, though his wife, Girlie “Maita” J. Ejercito, has been reelected Mayor of Pagsanjan town. Gary Estrada, a two-term member of the Quezon’s Provincial Board, failed as well in his bid to be the province’s Vice Governor.
Luck was on showbiz celebrity Alfred Vargas’s side. He ran unopposed in the Fifth Congressional District of Quezon City and also with Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista who won his last term hands down with no contest at all. His brother, Hero, was elected councilor in the second district of Quezon City. Lucky as well is actor Yul Servo (born John Marvin Nieto) is now a congressman representing Manila’s third congressional district.
Next Wednesday, we will give you more showbiz personalities who were lucky to be elected and those who weren’t touched by Lady Luck’s magical wand.
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