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‘Budots’

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Among the senatorial candidates who got the most bashing and lashing in social media was senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla. He took the 11th seat in the senatorial bout and was proclaimed three days ago.

“We have always beheld the electoral candidates as celebrities, making it easy for film, TV and music personalities to win in an electoral contest as we have seen in the past and present because of their given media edge and base.

He danced the “budots” towards victory. “Budots” is a fast beat dance sequence originating from a barangay in Davao City, usually a street craze among “tambays” or those nothing-to-do boys and girls hanging around corners and in public areas. President Rodrigo Duterte was captured on video dancing “budots” with kids when he was mayor of Davao City years back.

As the saying goes among PR practitioners, positive or negative publicity, still it is publicity.

A friend told me that the postings in social media of all the funny and nasty versions of the “budots” campaign ad of Senator Revilla definitely saved millions of pesos in campaign costs for the senator. Even kids would dance as if by cue when they hear the campaign ad on television.

In fairness to Senator Revilla, the millennials of the cyber world and social media netizens should have been informed that dancing the “budots” or his acquittal from the charges of plunder are not all there is to the senator.

He has a long history in efficient and effective public service being vice-governor, governor of Cavite, chairman of the Video Regulatory Board (VRB), then twice senator in 2004 and 2010, where he topped the tills, making him most likely a presidential candidate for the 2016 elections, which many people believed was one of the reasons why he was pinned down on the pork barrel issue.

In this 2019 elections, all the Revillas who vied for positions won — a testimony of trust from their constituents.

There is no denying that the “Budots” campaign ads, particularly on TV and social media, boosted the victory of Senator Bong.

Of course, practically all candidates have to learn to do some dance steps and spit out some musical notes during their election campaign sorties. People are already expecting them to do some crowd appeasing stunts on stage, so the audience would have reasons to cheer and scream their names.

We can’t help it. That has always been the culture of elections in this country. We have always beheld the electoral candidates as celebrities, making it easy for film, TV and music personalities to win in an electoral contest as we have seen in the past and present because of their given media edge and base.

Being endowed with a naturally pretty or handsome countenance is already an added edge.

Other candidates would still have to do some consultations with beauty experts or with Dr. Vicki Belo or Adobe photo editor to improve their faces on screen and posters.

Some in fact, are unrecognizable once you meet them in person!

Some candidates in the past would capitalize on their relationships or marriages with celebrities for effective campaign impressions on people.

“Mr. Vilma Santos” was adopted by Senator Ralph Recto in one contest and he won, so did Senator Francis Pangilinan who enlisted a variant of his name at the ballots as “Mr. Sharon Cuneta,” while Senator Chiz Escudero’s popularity was further catapulted with his much-hyped marriage to actress Heart Evangelista.

And our lips are mum over the mega win of mayor-elect Vico Sotto, toppling the Eusebio’s in Pasig City. His being a son to celebrities definitely helped him, obviously.

We can still brand this election sub-culture as political immaturity, but that is how the cookie crumbles. In the recent elections, almost 60 percent of showbiz celebrities came out triumphant.

We cannot foresee any radical uprooting of this election culture in the future. Guns, goons, gold, guts during the election period are still work in small scales.

However, today, it is mostly of gold and glitter.

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