Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Problem with Celebrities Endorsing Politicians

I don't watch teleseryes voluntarily. My only exposure to them is brought about by my mom's incessant "tampo" whenever I change the channel. She would always say "ito na nga lang kaligayahan ko (this is my only source of happiness)". Of course, I have no choice whenever those words are said and simply surrender the remote of our living room TV even if she has a TV of her own in her room.

Don't get me wrong. Sometimes, teleseryes can be entertaining. But to enjoy them fully, you have to endure tons of advertising. That's the deal breaker right there. I was tempted to watch Pangako Sa'yo because it brings out a lot of memories of the early 2000's when I was forced to watch it because of my mom. But the commercials really sucked the enjoyment out of watching the show.

Commercials suck. They ruin shows for me. But I won't go as far as saying that I hate them. I mean, they do serve a purpose even though I frown upon certain types of commercials like the ones promoting medicine. They inform us of new products and to top it off, the salaries our talented actors and production crew receive mostly come from them. They have their benefits. I don't like watching Alden Richards and Yaya Dub promoting Mcdo three times in a span of five minutes. But at the same time, I understand it.

However, this level of understanding I have for celebrities endorsing products is not present in political endorsements. I usually hate it when celebrities endorse political candidates.

Now, don't misinterpret me here. I love that celebrities are politically aware. I understand that they have a voice and they have the right to promote someone who they believe can mold this country into a prosperous land. I don't blame these celebrities at all. There are just some things about some celebrity endorsements that screw up our already flawed democracy.

What do I mean by "these celebrities"?

My biggest problem with celebrities endorsing politicians is that we don't really know which ones are genuine endorsements and which ones are mere advertisements. The Brgy. Ginebra basketball team can endorse gin-bulag without me expecting them to actually drink it. They earn millions of pesos a year and we're supposed to think they actually drink gin-bulag? Come on.

Celebrities endorsing products do not require any defense. Anne Curtis can say she likes GSM Blue. Bela Padilla apparently likes San Mig Light. But in reality, these celebrities were chosen by the products. These products believed fully in their endorsers. The endorsers, on the other hand, only believe in the product up to a certain level. That belief in the product won't keep Bela from drinking whatever beer she prefers.

This lack of belief is what irks me whenever I see celebrities endorsing politicians. I don't mind celebrities endorsing products they kinda believe. But once they endorse people for positions that would change the country, they need to be completely behind the person's ideals. They have millions of fans following their lives and they have the ability to influence a few voters. They should keep that in mind when endorsing politicians and only endorse if they are fully aware and fully behind the candidates.

If you think I'm hastily antagonizing the practice of celebrities endorsing politicians, here's a video:

 Juday:And I for one also maybe one way or another believed in her also

Why did Juday endorse Madrigal when she herself is not sure if she completely believed in Jamby?

Celebrity endorsements should not be taken seriously. Unfortunately, it's hard to set aside the fact that these celebrities have strong drawing power. I mean, there's really no study showing their efficacy in getting a politician elected. But if campaign masterminds are willing to pay millions of pesos, just as the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism once reported,  to get these celebrities then who am I to tell them they are wasting money? 

I love it when celebrities become politically aware. I love that Jim Paredes is very open about his belief in the Liberal Party even though I don't fully agree with the LP leaning so hard on PPP's when it comes to major infrastructure. I love the conviction Chito Miranda has when tweeting or posting about Duterte even if I don't appreciate the lack of respect Duterte has for human rights. These are the political endorsements I can appreciate. They are fully behind their candidates and there's no doubt that they are gonna vote for these politicians. Even though their criteria in choosing the candidate are different from mine, at least I know what they are.

Unlike Paredes' or Miranda's endorsements, the ones  we see on TV seem like any other commercial for snacks or appliances. They are hollow and perfect metaphors for our ailing democracy. If celebrities really want to support candidates, they should do it like Paredes and Miranda - void of cheesy song or meaningless one-liners. If they are willing to go on TV and promote their candidates, they should be willing to go on TV to explain why and be scrutinized justly in the same way Miranda and Paredes have exposed themselves on social media. But of course, their parent TV stations won't risk their stars' image being damaged by potentially looking foolish on TV.

Celebrities have political power. They exercise it whenever they tell us which brand of milk to buy or which food joint to check out. Once they exercise it in the realm of governance, their views need to be scrutinized just like the views of their candidates. If their managers won't allow them to go on TV to discuss political matter, at least they must share their views on social media so we can scrutinize them.

The risk for celebrities in endorsing should be correlated to what they are endorsing. If they endorse a brand for something as simple as washing the dishes, then the risk for them should be low. When they endorse someone for something as important as the person who will shape the present and future of the nation, the risk for them should skyrocket.


  1. I'm glad that Filipinos are now more politically aware and wiser than they were before. I guess this is one reason we can be thankful for media especially social media. Words spread easily and faster. Information can be delivered in a click.

    Agree with your points. May mga fans and follower ang mga celebrity so they need to be careful what or who they endorse. They are great influences of society whether they like it or not.

    1. Showbiz personalities are never held responsible for their political ideas. Our culture of "respect" may be to blame. Maybe it's our fear of discussion. Either way, if celebrities are willing to prance around wearing their candidate's shirt, their political ideals should be critiqued. I love Apo Hiking but that won't stop me from questioning Paredes' belief in the LP. And him vigorously defending his stance is the kind of political participation I can appreciate.

      Thanks for the comment and sorry for the late reply... happy holidays...