AS ALWAYS, post-election offers an interesting area for study. The current one tendered the end of dynasties of massive political stalwarts like the Eusebios in Pasig, Ejercitos in San Juan, Hagedorns in Palawan and the Floirendos in Davao del Norte.
But what this midterm exercise offered is how recent narratives parlayed the role of the traditional media against social media and showing that popularity in the latter does not really translate into actual votes. There are greater forces at work than Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey and that would still be traditional media, the trifecta of television, newspapers and radio.
A case I would like to highlight are the actors who appeared in “Ang Probinsyano”. Before he even filed his nth candidacy for nth his position, Lito Lapid was the aging “pinuno” or Romulo of a leftist group fighting exploitation in some mountainous range. Eventually, his character teamed up with Cardo Dalisay in fighting corruption in the government.
But Romulo had to die so Lito Lapid could come out as a real candidate.
“Ang Probinsyano” gave Romulo a Hollywood Western classic death scene reserved only for heroes - charging solo the horde of antagonists on his steed, armed with a single armalite to save his ladylove and eventually, taking his last breath while looking at her. From then on it can be said that Lito Lapid, who has shunned media interviews and would answer only in the dialect in all his terms as a public servant, resurrected as possible real life hero with the death of Romulo. So now Lito Lapid is number 7 in the senate list, number 1 in Palawan, beating Cynthia Villar and number 3 in Quezon Province. Lapid is not even an active netizen.
Other “Ang Probisyano” characters have lost their bid but if one analyzes the characters they portrayed, none was as heroic as Romulo’s.
After leaving public service, the notorious Mocha Uson decided to run for public office through a party-list that calls itself “AA Kasosyo” whose aim is said to be “to help Filipinos particularly overseas workers become successful entrepreneurs”. In recent past, Uson boasted of millions of social media followers whose “likes” obviously did not translate into votes as her party ranks way below - no. 72. The top spot is held by ACT-CIS, a group to be represented by one of the Tulfo brothers who are (traditional) media heavyweights.
But what would probably be the most telling influence of traditional media on voting behavior is that a party called “Ang Probinsyano” is in the 5th place in the race and quite a feat for a group that joined the elections for the first time with practically unknown nominees.
Coco Martin (aka Cardo Dalisay) and Kris Aquino will make a formidable team next time.