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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Making of A President

I chanced upon seeing this very old email forwarded in 2004. Unfortunately though, I could not trace the original source. Anyway, during that time, the country was focused with the 2004 National Elections- with GMA, FPJ, and Ping as the main protagonists.



There's an old movie called "The Candidate", starring Robert Redford and Peter Boyle. It was made in 1972. And it is about Bob McKay (played by Robert Redford), a young and idealistic lawyer who is coaxed by a scheming Democratic Party campaign manager (played by Peter Boyle) into running for the US Senate in the state of California.

The movie is less about McKay's motivations; rather it focuses more around how a nobody is molded by the campaign manager, admen, press agents, and media czars into a formidable candidate.

There are some parallelisms between the movie and what's going on with the 2004 Philippine presidential elections. What's interesting is how a person with no political past is molded, packaged, and delivered to the electorate. In 2004, the Philippines might just witness the making of the first media President.

The movie is a good case study for advertising majors and brand managers alike. You focus on the raw and winning characteristics of the product (McKay) and shape these characteristics into advertising sound bites and moving images. And once the mouse trap has been created, the world just beats its path to your door (politicians jumping on the McKay band wagon).

That's the power of media, fortunately and unfortunately. The elements of our first media president is at play here: First is a candidate (Fernando Poe Jr.,) who has the charm, name recognition, sincerity, looks, and no political history; a candidate who can actually play the part. And then you add the campaign manager (Senator Tito Sotto ) whose background is in the media (TV, radio, and movies). You have a financier (Danding C, who cannot win an election but wants to be the king maker, decision maker and the power behind the throne). Finally you have an omnipresent media that constantly feeds data and images into the psyche of our society.

When this movie was shown back in the 70's, the one scene that one will remember the most was the final scene, the final line. After all the manipulations, the speeches, the issues, and the political alliances have been established, McKay in fact wins the elections.

In the final scene where he realizes that he had finally won, McKay pulls aside his campaign manager for a brief private meeting and asks, "What do we do now?" Even Dolphy said something like that, when he was asked to run for an elective post. "Eh kung manalo ako, ano ang gagawin ko?".

There's no moral lesson in the movie. It is purely a commentary of what the political landscape was all about. Thirty years after the movie was first shown, those insights still ring true. My only hope is that the final scene never plays itself out in real life.

"Charm can take you to the Presidency; leadership will keep you there."


Now it's 2008, and four years later, a lot had happened in the Philippine Political scenario.

Of course, all of us know that GMA won a slim margin over Da King, with the question forever in the minds of the Filipino as to what really transcribed concerning the Hello Garci scandal.

Da King FPJ eventually died years later. And the call for the President's resignation has never ceased as of today.

Should FPJ have won the presidency, what would have happened?
Has those people who helped GMA to the top position regret anything?
What would have been the scenario today if there was a change in the course of history?

And now, with less than two more years to 2010, the nation is again faced with the task of choosing his President.


  1. yah, epay's canteen has changed a lot. including the prices. i missed some of the ulam they sell when a plate of rice only costs P1.

    perhaps you have heard of me. i was quite "well known" in clsu during my time --- both on the good and bad sides. thank you for visiting my blog.


  2. thanks also for visiting.

    oh, and by the way, i should say that you really are good at taking shots.

    keep it up, bro.


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