Tuesday, March 29, 2016

WTF

published 23 February 2016

Lately we’ve been hearing a lot more comedy from our politicians than we are supposed to. Expect more of this in the coming weeks in the runoff to May 9.
The more sober option is to see a comedian give his take on politics—which is what Jon Santos does in WTF—Wala Talagang Forever (sa Malacañang), running this month until early March at the Marriott Grand Ballroom at Newport City.
Santos first comes in as pop icon Madonna, who is set to visit the Philippines this week. Madonna slips into the country a week ahead, instead, because she is scared she would not make it in time for her Rebel Heart show due to the traffic. Filipinos do have a lot of heart, she says—and it seems we see it get broken all the time, not out of love, but out of politics. 
In comes Miriam Defensor-Santiago, the bright one, too bright, it is hinted, saying we keep electing dumb people into office. Of late, Miriam has been attuned to the youth because of her pickup lines, but at the same time she says today’s young people rely too much on apps—even in finding the suitable person to date.
Benigno Aquino III is deciding which items to take along with him to his home in Times Street. He looks forward to leading a quiet life again. As he rummages through the items, his memories rush in. He exits the stage convincing himself he has not done that bad a job after all.
And then, Grace Poe, prim and proper in her immaculate long-sleeved shirt and pearl earrings. Poe subjects herself to a question-and-answer session but ends up invoking the name of “Poe” and the legacy of her adoptive father in every response, whether it makes sense or not. 
The rivalry between Jejomar Binay and Mar Roxas is shown in a video clip. Roxas says no drama, but weeps as he remembers how in 2009 he was asked to step aside in favor of Aquino in the presidential race, and how he lost anyway to Binay after his supreme sacrifice.
It turns out he is afraid, not of his short and dark rival, but of his wife—the former broadcaster Korina Sanchez who desperately wants to be first lady.
Another clip shows Vilma Santos resisting offers from presidential candidates to have her as their running mate. In the end she gives her coveted yes only to Mother Lily—so sick is she of politics that she decides to return to show business, full time.
Dionisia Pacquiao then ballroom dances her way to the stage, accompanied by her dashing DIs. She defends her son Manny from his bashers from the LGBT community. According to her, Manny owes them his boxing prowess—did he not perfect his moves by punching the gay people in their town when he was younger?
In the end, the flamboyant Mrs. Pacquiao assures the audience that her son has given up his senatorial ambition. He is no longer running in May —he will just wait for 2022 to run for the presidency. 
And then Jon Santos, as himself, appears on stage and makes an A-to-Z recitation of the ills that plague our country: from Abaya to Zika. In the end, he makes us confront what it is in us that has consigned politics to the circus that we know it to be: Filipinos’ hearts, so forgiving, so routinely distracted, so easily swayed.
It’s a comedy, and people are erupting in guffaws, but the tragedy is so clear. We must vote well, lest be become our own punchline. A WTF moment, indeed.
adellechua@gmail.com

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