Volume III, Number 15. 15 August 2021.

The circus known in the Philippines as the Presidential Elections has begun. From now until May 2022, seasoned politicians, showbiz and sports personalities and other wannabees will dance, sing and bamboozle their way to be the next President of the Republic of the Philippines.

President Rodrigo Duterte and his cronies fired the first shots when they staged a coup d’etat within their own ruling party PDP-Laban. World boxing champion Sen. Manny Pacquiao, feared as a rival for the presidency, was ousted as PDP-Laban chairman. Duterte’s camp is set to declare sycophant Sen. Bong Go as their candidate for President and Duterte himself as candidate for Vice-President. The smear operation against Sen. Pacquiao is expected to turn nastier in the coming days.

Former movie actor Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso, very popular with his constituents, is also feared as a rival to the Duterte autocracy. No wonder he’s suddenly a target of Duterte’s smear operation.

Meanwhile, unrepentant butcher Sen. Panfilo Lacson and comedian Sen. Vicente Sotto III have thrown their hats into the ring as candidates for President and Vice President, respectively. Sen. Lacson has already begun taking potshots at Duterte’s officials, accusing the Department of Health, Philippine National Police and National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict of “misuse” of public funds.

We are not amused. Beyond the hilarious song and dance routines, the election circus is nothing but an act played exclusively among rival factions of the economic and political elite. Dramatic spiels about becoming President for the poor and oppressed Filipinos will become blood-thirsty expletives against the protesting masses after the elections. Grand promises to end poverty, landlessness, unemployment, government corruption and political dynasties will become soft whimpers just a year after the elections. After all, it is not about who best represents the interests of the Filipino people. It is about who can best represent and defend the interests of US imperialism and the local ruling classes of landlords and big comprador bourgeoisie.

The election circus highlights neocolonialism and the bankruptcy of democracy in Philippine society. It throws a spotlight on the conflicts within the local ruling classes and cracks within the oppressive and repressive ruling system. It provides ample opportunity to raise the consciousness of more Filipinos to the scam of the song and dance routines. That the oppressed working people must forge ahead on the revolutionary path to national liberation, democracy and long-lasting peace.