The ‘joy’ of being an election candidate

By Alex P. Vidal

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”—Ernest Benn

UNLESS they are plain and simple nincompoops, candidates in the May 9, 2022 election—nuisance or serious—should be aware of their chances and be able to anticipate their fates.

A candidate for any elective position with a rationale and objective mind knows if he is winnable or his chances are nil, especially now that the official campaign period is about to start and some of them are still eating the dust in the credible and legitimate surveys.

The irrational and closed-minded candidate believes in his own invincibility and will normally refuse to acknowledge he can lose.

In his thinking, he’s always on top and nothing and nobody can beat him in any contest or election. Thus he will never lend credence to survey results—unless favorable to him.

If he lags behind, he will bellyache and discredit the surveys. They can only be credible and realistic if he is the one leading.

These types of candidates are detached from reality. They are used to being hailed and glorified in public because of their past achievements that earned them applause and glowing recognition.

To some extent, they believe their lofty standing in society can be translated into a glorious public approval and sure victory in any election.

The superstar complex that gobbles up their egos gives them extra energy and confidence and bolsters their belief there’s no way the voters will not give them a resounding win.


We theorize that presidential candidates Manny Pacquiao, Isko Moreno, Ping Lacson, and Leody de Guzman are actually aware if they’re riding on a one-way trip train or in the luxury ship.

They haven’t been doing well in the surveys but have been brimming with confidence like Cyrus’ son Cambyses and Darius’ son Xerxes giving pre-campaign speeches left and right all over the archipelago, unfazed by the phenomenal popularity of the two leading presidential contestants, Vice President Leni Robredo and former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

It’s too early to conclude, but all indications, analyses, circumstances and recent events have pointed to only one direction: another possible down-the-wire finish between Robredo and Marcos Jr.
It looks like the Robredo-Marcos Jr. rivalry in the 2016 vice presidential race will be replayed in the May 9, 2022 presidential election.

As for Pacquiao, win or lose, it seems he is only enjoying what he is doing while going around and hooping from south to north vice versa shaking the hands of his legions of (mostly boxing) fans and watching them shriek as he waves and hands them cash for no apparent reason other than “to share my blessings.”

It’s normal for the former boxer to wish for the stars and entertain the possibility of winning the race to Malacanang but if he won’t make it, we see him going back to the ring and “reviving” the career that gave him wealth.

Money doesn’t grow on trees, but for Pacquiao, an instant $2 million for a megabuck duel with any UFC star or the current champions in the WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO and other alphabet boxing bodies is easy to collect as long as he isn’t yet 60. Mark our word.


Moreno knows his numbers. Win or lose, he stands to rake in millions of pesos from the “proceeds” of his unspent campaign kitties. He has been in this ballgame when he ran and lost for senator in 2016. He may be overrated, as his critics are saying, but he isn’t dumb.

The fact that he can afford to “sacrifice” his position as mayor in the country’s most glamorous and celebrated metropolis for a tenebrous presidential bid, something sizable must be clanking loudly somewhere for the former showbiz heartthrob in the event he decides to retire from politics.

Lacson and de Guzman, of course, know their cards can’t form a beeline to the treasure island. Their campaigns might be uphill, but they are needed in the race to add life and substance to the discourse.

Unlike Moreno and Pacquiao, who were propelled in the race owing to their backgrounds in showbiz and sports, respectively, Lacson and de Guzman come from the upper crust of the political spectrum; and they aren’t pushovers.

By being there—to be seen and heard by the Filipinos from all corners of the globe—waging marvelous crusades and inspiring the hoi polloi to rise from obscurity and being underdog in life, is already a victory, something they probably couldn’t achieve if they were only running for village chiefs.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)