DURING a Senate forum last week at the University of Baguio Gym, all so-called "new blood" senatorial candidates were asked the Miss Universe question: What makes you special and what difference would you make if you make it in the Senate?
Most of the senatorial candidates gave your platforms and programs from the lofty to the down-to-earth. Some gave their lofty qualifications and educational attainments.
But one candidate turned around the question and answered, What makes me special is my ordinariness.
Then he gave the reasons why: his being raised by a single Mom, his insistence on using public transportation and his vow of poverty, chastity and obedience.
He got the loudest applause, considering his name did not ring a bell until the debate. Even his name gathered only a page in Google.
Now come to think of it. He calls himself "ordinary" but he is right in saying he is actually special because he is "ordinary."
This is the only qualification where most of the other senators fit in: A Philippine Senator must be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least thirty-five years of age, able to read and write, a registered voter, and a resident of the Philippines for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election.
This exempts, among others, Manny Pacquiao. But once he puts himself in the senatorial ring, Pacman is ordinary in his "specialness."
First, if we go by the "vow of poverty," it would mean that any Juan, Pedro and Maria can be President. But that was never the case. how much does it take to get a senatorial seat? Latest estimate said at least P100 million. Failing that, you need rich backers.
One candidate once said that he went to eight provinces in one week. How did he do it? He claimed a "friend" lent a helicopter. Other candidates have their own private helicopters and jets.
Compare that with a "new blood" candidate who was so tired and hungry before the Senate Forum that he was seen eating ensaymada while being asked a question. He later said that his team just came from Tuguegarao. What constitutes his team? Two vans.
One senatorial candidate owns a fleet of buses. How can this new blood compete with that?
Vow of chastity? You gotta be kidding! Even PNoy, who's single, can't claim that. Most of the marriages of potential candidates were arranged, meaning they are married to other political families. If they only dream of ruling their province, they are married to another political family within that province. If they plan to rule the country, they have to marry in a far but vote-rich province. Even mistresses are chosen that way now.
Vow of obedience? Who are you fooling? There is no longer party loyalty; politicians turncoat to the ruling party or whoever can bring the goods. They easily disobey if their wishes were not granted.
So when this new blood mentioned his three vows, you can almost hear the snicker from the other candidates all over the country. The tragedy is that the whole country laughed at him as well.