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When DNA guides your vote

07 March 2016

Ni Vir B. Lumicao

Like it or not, but biology is in play in the current campaign for the May presidential election. That’s the impression we get from the way candidates for leading government positions – or their campaigners, PR men and spin doctors -- run their campaign.

In this nastiest facet of the democratic process called election, everything from bad genes to pigmentation to zygotic anomalies is dug up to feed debates and mudslinging that characterize the once-in-six-years presidential race.

Filipinos are damn good in this type of intramurals, such that even long before campaigning had officially started, presidential hopefuls who charged early or figured highly in various surveys were launched higher by avid fans or got shot down by merciless memes on social media.

We’ve seen a daily dose of complexion-driven boosters for some candidates and diatribes against certain players. Naturally, the favorite targets are those perceived to be the best and the worst in a war that has no middle ground: praises are heaped on those deemed to be the most deserving; condemnation befalls the most distrusted.

Early bird Jejomar Binay has been bashed for having “a soul as dark as his skin” because of his alleged greed and gluttony, so from a biological point of view, he may possibly have symptoms of hyperpigmentation and indigestion. Or he could be in the process of molting when he lined up for Ash Wednesday’s sacramental, although an unfriendly post on Facebook showed his face charcoaled all over.

Then, just as the voting populace was beginning to tire of acid attacks, diminutive dark horse Grace Poe came into view and was immediately targeted for her allegedly questionable nationality and dubious lineage. Her detractors lost no time resurrecting the gossip that she was a foundling whose genes, so they said, could be traced to the deceased dictator.

This DNA-probing episode soon gave way to brickbats being thrown at testosterone-loaded Rody Duterte from the South for his non-stop cussing and braggadocio ways. But his brave announcement that he would rid the Motherland of crime and corruption turned him into an instant star, with raves from despairing denizens drowning the protests of the pious.

Little has been said in a negative way about Miriam Defensor Santiago, who, despite or maybe because of her reported Stage 4 cancer condition, seems to have silenced even her harshest critics. Whether this deferent silence can convert to votes will only be known on Election Day. 

Her running mate, the fallen despot’s son Ferdinand Jr., is finding the Facebook page a hostile laboratory for an attempt at induced public amnesia, especially since Filipinos marked last month the 30th anniversary of the “People Power” revolution on EDSA.
Bongbong seems to be getting help, though, from demographic data showing that the median age of the 102 million Filipinos today is 24.4 years old, hence, the young voters do not have an idea of what it’s like to live under martial law.

Still, this brings no comfort to the global campaigner of administration candidates Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo who says the only way to continue the success of Benigno Aquino III’s “Matuwid na Daan” doctrine is to vote for the Yellow tandem.

In a country where the culture of corruption has taken roots, said Loida Nicolas Lewis in a forum in Hong Kong last month, those who deserve to be elected are the ones with good DNA.

“You have to have it in you na hindi ka magnanakaw. You were brought up by parents with the right sense of ethics,” she said.

With good-DNA bearers Roxas and Robredo at the helm, the Philippines, through the “Matuwid na Daan” doctrine, is expected to achieve First World status by 2022, said Lewis.
So, if you are still confused about who to elect for the top two positions in government in the coming elections, selection can be as easy as a taxi ride to the voting precinct. In fact, Lewis has a handy advice.

“Ask the taxi driver and he will tell you: ‘I don’t like a thief, I don’t want a murderer, I won’t vote for an American and I won’t go for someone with Stage 4 cancer.’ Eh di sino pa ang iboboto?” said Lewis.

Indeed, in the final analysis, even in the evolution of politics Philippine style genetics and Darwin’s principle of natural selection have a role to play.
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