Outtakes

Exclusive: Comelec to be privatized

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MANILA–Media giant ABS-CBN will acquire the Commission on Elections as part of the Aquino administration’s privatization program, a highly placed source in the network revealed during an exclusive interview with Outtakes.

The source, however, emphatically denied that the deal has anything to do with stopping ABS-CBN star Kris Aquino from leaving show business again.

Turning over the Comelec to the private sector is in line with the administration’s plans to privatize Philippine General Hospital and other public services. The source said the deal “is in the spirit of Presidential Proclamation No. 50, which prescribes privatization to improve efficiency and provide better quality service, among other things.”

When the government couldn’t pay its $28 billion foreign debt in 1983, the World Bank and IMF conditioned new loans on the privatization of government enterprises. President Corazon Aquino issued Proclamation No. 50, and privatization proceeded apace under President Fidel Ramos, converting power and other utilities.

But the Comelec deal is the first to involve a political institution.

“It’s all about efficiency, what with the Comelec under criticism for slowness, defective computerization and so on,” the source said.

The ABS-CBN takeover of Comelec is just “a logical step now that elections and entertainment are indistinguishable,” he explained. “So why not abandon all pretense and just formally combine the two–and let professionals run things for improved efficiency and better quality service?”

A thin line

Political observers have long noted the thin line between politics and show business. Candidates sing and dance for audiences in political rallies and seek endorsements from stars.

Kris Aquino’s well-publicized domestic spat, while showbiz material, was a political embarrassment for her brother, the President.

Senatorial candidate Chiz Escudero’s sugary love affair with Heart Evangelista and his ugly feud with her parents—all televised–run like trailers for “Romeo and Juliet.” The squabbling Ejercito/Estrada brothers are like Michael and Fredo Corleone in “Godfather II.”

According to UP political science Professor K.C. Nacabayad, the adage “Politics is show business for ugly people” isn’t true in the Philippines at all, where screen idols and other beautiful people have always successfully run for office. “It’s called Philippine exceptionalism,” he added.

The highly placed ABS-CBN source concurred, saying the voting public “eats all that showbiz stuff up” while ignoring the competing platforms or policies of the candidates.

Voter-education programming

So, under the privatization agreement, the network’s new Comelec Division will produce high quality voter-education programs, using showbiz as a medium of mass communication. Already in development ever since the network and the administration signed an MOU are the following pilots:

“Tiangco Unchained” shows UNA campaign chief Toby Tiangco in action, taking no prisoners, scorching the earth, mercilessly attacking and counterattacking his Liberal Party enemies. And he does it with not a hair out of place.

“Grey’s Lobotomy” a medical drama set in a psychiatric ward where certain senatorial candidates are treated for saying inexplicably crazy things like Filipino nurses need not be good because they are content in being “caregivers” or room nurses abroad.

“Breakpast” is a remake of candidate Bam Aquino’s old morning talk show but this time showcasing his talent as an amateur magician. Houdini-like, he will try to break free from a seemingly inescapable association with the corrupt Gloria Arroyo administration.

“Real Senators of Quezon City” is a reality show featuring a down-and-dirty, all-claws-bared catfight between Senator Miriam Santiago vs. her colleagues Juan Ponce Enrile and Ping Lacson. Warning: involves graphic depictions of political skulduggery. Parental discretion is advised.

Inspired by successful American dance shows like “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing with the Stars,” ABS-CBN is producing “So You Think You Can Legislate.” It tests the nimbleness of political candidates. Sure, candidates can do Gangnam-style in their rallies, but do they realize that it takes two to tango? Can they do the arm twist, the flip-flop, Cha-Cha and walk-the-talk? Let’s see.

“The Unbearable Lightness of Binay” is a moody telenovela about the angst of some ordinary voters who are attracted to senatorial candidate Nancy Binay because of her parentage–but are bothered by her empty resume.

“Fathers Know Best” is a comedy series about a rectory of zany priests who give sex advice to impoverished parishioners. The bishop makes them lead the Church’s campaign against candidates who supported the Reproductive Health Law, because they’re real experts on the subject. Not only do they know the Bible, but they’ve also known someone biblically. Hilarity ensues.

And how about the Comelec’s computerization problems? “Oh, that? We’ll ask a call center for expert advice,” said the source, a senior executive in the network’s custodial department.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Bjdc

    The latest news is that the president is also considering the privatization of Malacanang.

  • http://www.facebook.com/william.legaspi William Legaspi

    Latin American countries are taking back their previously privatized entities, while Pnoy is quite busy in giving out our national treasures to bloodsuckers…ito ba ang “daang matuwid”????…

  • Jephti Somosot

    Privatize everything, in exchange, we demolish all private banks and create a Government bank that gives out loans with reasonable interest.

  • koolkid_inthehouse

    WTF. Donkeys on a crapping rampage again.

  • A. H. Forrester

    Hahaha………hilarious ! Perfectly fitting show titles. Reminds of Mad Magazine !

  • NAGMAMARUNONG

    ABS-CBN to take over COMELEC? Ayos ang buto-buto para sa mga EJERCITO/ESTRADA,and their cohorts. Sigurado na from PRESIDENT DOWN TO BARANGAY CHAIRMEN. Open O-SESAME – JACKIE EJERCITO ESTRADA LOPEZ.

  • WeAry_Bat

    Aahh haha ha ha I forgot what tab I was going into after lunch break. I was aghast for the first five paragraphs until I came to this:

    “a logical step now that elections and entertainment are indistinguishable,”

  • VoxPopuli888

    To the others who thought the privatization ofCOMELEC to be true, spell SATIRE. and Google the definition, too. :)

    Good one, RCC! This is hilarious!

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