If Kids Could Vote

My five-year-old niece was watching TV when the ubiquitous Manny Villar ad came on. She readily started singing along with the annoyingly infectious jingle: Nakaligo ka na ba sa dagat ng basura? Nagpasko ka na ba gitna ng kalsada?

The other day, she saw another political ad, this time by Eddie Villanueva. Her lolo asked her who the candidate is and she confidently answered: “Manny Villar.”

Villar’s efforts at self-promotion are nothing short of astounding. He goes on Wowowee and gives away houses, he bombards television airtime with numerous ads, his giant billboards and streamers are everywhere, his online ads even pop up on Yahoo Messenger. The guy’s media blitz is inescapable. You could live in a cave and you’d probably still see his face plastered on stalactites.

If my niece could vote, she would definitely go for Villar mostly because he’s the only candidate she knows. She’s clueless about the C5 controversy and how the senator allegedly benefited from the road project. They don’t discuss these things on cartoons and noontime shows.

She wouldn’t find it ridiculous that he’s got both Bongbong Marcos and Satur Ocampo on his senatorial slate. Her parents weren’t even born yet when Martial Law was declared and ideological contradictions are far from her concern at this time.

She wouldn’t even care to ask how exactly Villar plans to fulfill his Messianic promise on his ad: Si Manny Villar ang magtatapos ng ating kahirapan. It’s enough that he’s got a catchy jingle she could sing along with.

The law sets the voting age at 18. But in choosing who to vote for, a lot of people in this country are just like five-year-olds.

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