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Friday, May 3, 2013

Which Is It, Dingdong?

Celebrities and politics - married in this country.
(Courtesy of

While waiting through another lengthy commercial break during American Idol last night, I channel-surfed for awhile (I knew I had at least 4 minutes to do so) and was stopped cold  by a political advertisement.

(Courtesy of

An advertisement for the partylist Buhay, which is going to be represented by Irwin Tieng (who voted against the then-RH Bill-now-Law), and appearing in the same commercial, actor Dingdong Dantes.

Wait a minute, kapeng mainit.

What was Dantes doing in this commercial? I distinctly remember him and his on-and-offscreen sweetheart, Marian Rivera (a celebrity in her own right) endorsing the RH Bill just a few months ago. It made an impression on me because I know that these are the golden children of TV station GMA 7, both stars of the stations many telenovelas and other shows, and I secretly wondered whether their job security would be compromised by coming out in favor of a bill that was grandly opposed by this country's Catholic hierarchy. Let's face it: the big stars don't get to where they are by rocking the boat, but by being cute, likable and mainstream.

My memory being not what it used to be, I decided to get an actual news item that confirmed this recollection of Dingdong being supportive of the RH Bill, and all I have is a article, using a Manila Bulletin item, with the headline "Dingdong Dantes is pro-RH but is against abortion." and you can view the article here.

As anyone who follows politics in this country knows, Buhay party-list is associated with Mike Velarde, leader of the El Shaddai religious sect, as well as former Manila mayor Lito Atienza, both of whom are clearly vocal in their opposition of the (now) RH Law. If I remember correctly, one of their stated objectives in running (as party list) this time around is to try to have the RH Law repealed. And who can forget what Atienza did, forcibly foisting his Roman Catholic beliefs on the entire city he was mayor of then, by only authorizing natural family planning methods in all public - that means "supposedly secular in a democracy" - health centers, and banning modern methods because they conflicted with his personal choice of religion?

Normally, I wouldn't care what celebrities endorse. I don't follow showbiz news, and I loathe it when these stars parade the latest car or bag they purchased (really, an obscene act in a country like ours). If they use their faces and bodies to induce people to buy a particular brand of soap or drink the latest diabetes-inducing carbonated concoction, it wouldn't make a dent in my own life.

But when they lend their support to political causes that can potentially set this country backward, after more than a decade of painstakingly pushing for measures like the RH Law, and when you factor in the Supreme Court decision to prevent its implementation, I cannot help but be indignant of this careless and wanton use of celebrity power - and you better believe it, in this country, that translates to real power. Because these stars - some faded and longing for glory, some just jumping the bandwagon - can help get themselves or others into elected positions that will reverse our country's economic and political direction, for decades to come.

Ano ba talaga (which is it going to be), Dingdong? 

By saying that you're pro RH then, and now supporting a party list known for opposing the same measure...well, that would make you a shoo-in for the world of politics. Which is remarkably the same as the current world you reside in, where you say what people want to hear.

But with direr consequences for this country.

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