‘Face-value politics’, artista power in Camarines Sur

Actors Coco Martin and Sharon Cuneta
Actors Coco Martin and Sharon Cuneta

By Joey Natividad
Special Correspondent

TIGAON, Camarines Sur (BicolToday.com/2-Mar-2013) – This time it’s “face-value politics”. Warm handshake with the “artista” and the candidate, a photo session with promises of FaceBook photo posting.

Camarines Sur is gradually shifting from “intelligent politics” to “face-value politics”, a trend that insults the intelligence and sensibilities of the electorate – a kind of political bankruptcy , critics claimed.

Last December showbiz teenage idol Coco Martin came to endorse actor Aga Muhlach.

This week Sharon Cuneta made the rounds in this town and adjacent areas. More “artistas” are coming, the names of Willie Revillame, Angel Locsin, Regine Velasuez-Alcasid, and other popular names are being floated by Aga Muhlach’s handlers to delight the “masa” crowd and expect the mob to deliver the winning votes on May 13.

The “artistas” are coming to Camarines Sur to support Governor L-Ray Villarfuerte and actor Aga Muhlach’s bid for a Congressional post.

Sharon Cuneta, Aga Muhlach and Charlene Gonzales-Muhlach over the week made the rounds on “barangay visits” which were already “packaged” as a variety village-level program that included slapsticks comedy, petty contests, dance-and-music numbers that came out from any TV-variety show format, minus the usual products endorsement.

As usual, bigger “masa” crowds came, as expected according to plan by Muhlach’s handlers. The crowds have been told that more “artistas” are coming. This guarantee more fun and bigger crowds.

To “reward” big crowd gatherings, giving of foodstuffs, mostly consisting of 2 kilos of rice for 1 day consumption, were the finale of the event.

Critics lamented that “face-value politics” of using showbiz celebrities reflect the bankruptcy of political vision and agenda among candidates and that, they lack principles of governance to convince the rural voters.

“Muhlach is hanging on to showbiz popularity and good looks to get public approval, while he has no development agenda and vision to present,” said an observer who commented that “face-value politics” insults the intellect of the “masa” voters.

“Nowadays, the “masa crowd” is no longer stupid that they can be enticed by 2-kilos of rice giveaways, and a warm handshake from an artista that include a photo session with promises of FaceBook photo posting,” said a teacher, who refused to be named.

“The people need vision, a reasonable and doable development agenda among upcoming leaders,” he said.

To avoid violating COMELEC rules on electioneering, the barangay visits were carefully packaged as part of the regular constituency visitation program by the Camarines Sur Provincial Government.

Critics said the activities are part of the scheme to prop up Migz Villafuerte into the governor’s post, a position to be vacated by outgoing Governor L-Ray Villafuerte, Migz’s father. L-Ray is poised to fight incumbent Congressman Dato Arroyo, son of former President Gloria Arroyo, in the 2nd District.

Opposing L-Ray’s plan to propel 24-year old Migz into the governorship is outgoing Congressman Luis R. Villafuerte, L-Ray’s father, who is also running for the governorship, a position already held by him several years back. The old Villafuerte, veteran in top-level politics, is campaigning for Wimpy Fuentebella, who is Muhlach’s opponent in the 4th District congressional race.

Muhlach is supported by the Villafuertes, L-Ray wing. The governorship is being hotly contested by Grandpa Luis and grandson MIgz. The old Villafuerte is allied with the Fuentebellas, a strange honeymoon since the two have been at odds with each other for 3 decades. [BicolToday.com]

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