Saturday, April 17, 2010

Freedom of Speech vs. Freedom from Influence

CBCP vs. Celebrity Endorsers

I was on my way home from the University of the Philippines Diliman this Tuesday, when I heard on the radio, specifically on DZMM Pasada Sais Trenta (630khz), the interview of Karen Davila and Vic de leon Lima with actor, comedian and game show host Willie Revillame on why he supports Nacionalista Party Presidential Candidate Senator Manny Villar, and the issues that surround Villar’s presidency and Revillime’s support to the candidate.

Unfortunately or fortunately, this article is not about why Willie Revillame supports Manny Villar, or what were his answers to questions on the issues that surround that support.

Admittedly, that is an interesting topic all together; but what struck me the most during that interview this afternoon was when Karen Davila asked Willie on his thoughts on the statement of the Catholic’s Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) regarding celebrity endorsers who have a perceived notion to be womanizers. It went further by identifying him as one of those endorsers.

Recently, the Catholics Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) issued a statement against, or categorically stated that they are against politicians using celebrity endorsers who are perceived to be “babaero” or womanizers, and allegedly pointed specifically to Nacionalista Party (NP) presidential candidate Senator Manny Villar’s endorsers as such.

As everybody has seen on the TV, print, and other advertisements and personal endorsements, these personalities include award-winning actor and comedian Dolphy, world renowned boxing champion Manny Paquiao, and actor, comedian and game show host Willie Revillame – at least they were the ones who were being indentified, according to TV Patrol World’s reports.

Freedom of Speech, Freedom from Influence

If the CBCP says that the Nacionalista Party's endorsers have a reputation of being womanizers then I would dare say that they are being anal, judgmental and bordering “pakialamero,” or one who meddles in everything, even in affairs of the government.

Freedom of speech goes both ways. I am generally against hiring celebrity endorsers to boost a politician’s campaign, but what the CBCP did was off. It’s just that the bishops, more often than not, think of their “social status” as power and that they have every right to speak against the government from a pedestal (or if we identify with olden times, a pulpit) and to brand affairs of the government as good or evil, Christian-like or otherwise.

I agree, in principle, to the reaction of NP Vice-Presidential candidate Senator Loren Legarda that the level of the campaigns [of both parties and other candidates] in the upcoming elections has sunk very low.

I think that there should be no one person who, or entity that, can judge the character of an individual and try to affect others’ perception or impression of that person without knowing him or her fully first. It’s not even enough reason to judge or label a person if you are just an acquaintance, or, sometimes, even casual friends.

More so, I think that there should be no one who can judge someone’s intentions, for the Filipino nation and its people with malice; this does not exempt religious (priests and bishops), given their sensitive positions in Philippine society.

Filipinos must vote wisely

The Filipino people can observe, more so us from the media and online community, that if not the candidates, their supporters, have resorted and relied on mudslinging and black propaganda to either boost their campaign or bring the other candidates campaign down.

I must admit that this is not only true to the Liberal Party, but also to the Nacionalista Party, to other parties, candidates and their supporters, both in the national and in the local scenes.

Campaigns for the national and local elections should focus on platforms, principles and issues, and not bashing character, maligning integrity, and questioning intentions of the candidates and people who support them.

Let their person, their records, and the people who know them best speak and stand on their own merits. It is each and everyone’s job and responsibility to present all the facts, and at the same time, get and scrutinize all the facts.

In the end, it is we, the people, who will decide the fate of our own selves, this government, and ultimately, this beloved nation we are all living in.

Freedom of Speech vs. Freedom from Influence was written and published at BLOGWATCH - The Philippine Online Chronicles


  1. mas marami nga ang mga paring babaero...pero mas maraming paring lalakiro...

  2. look whose talking....linisin nyo muna ang bakuran nyo, and daming babaerong pari..

  3. Unfortunately bong, at the end of the day, if a candidate wins short of commiting legal error, he still wins, regardless of how unethical albeit legal his campaigns were. Uso rin ang block voting, lalo na sa INC. Sinabi ng isang INC na friend ng mom ko, whoever they endorse daw, most likely mananalo given the widespread reach of INC. Ewan lang... :))


  4. 2010 is not much different from previous elections... pera at pera ang umiikot... at nandyan pa rin ang mudslinging making the CBCP remark of womanizing endorser pale in comparison... it's high time that voters exercise their discretion and look at issues, real issues, and how the candidates stand on these issues taking into account the congruency of words and their actions...



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