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Now come Heneral Luna, Nazi fan and space invader

02:13 AM October 16, 2015

BREAD and circus may be a staple in Philippine politics, but pop culture and local movies reigned supreme at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday, as more contenders filed their certificates of candidacy (COCs) before Friday’s deadline.

Seemingly stepping out of the country’s history books and the latest top-grossing Filipino movie, a stern “Hen. Antonio Luna” led “Andres Bonifacio” and “Gabriela Silang” through a crowd that asked if a movie was being shot on location.

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Country above all

No such luck. The three were representatives of the leftist party list group, Bayan Muna, dressed in costumes from the Philippine Revolution and the ephemeral First Philippine Republic.

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The group’s first nominee, incumbent Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, came as the temperamental Heneral Luna, with second nominee activist Teddy Casiño as Bonifacio, the Supremo of the secret society Katipunan that led the armed revolution against Spain in 1896.

Third nominee Hope Hervilla, a journalist, was Gabriela Silang, who took over her slain husband’s role in leading an uprising against Spain in Ilocos Sur in the 1700s.

Their supporters came as bolo-wielding Katipunero fighters and First Republic infantrymen, and carried placards that appropriated memorable lines from the “Heneral Luna” movie: “Bayan o Sarili? (Country or Self?) Bayan Muna!”

The other placards read: “Bayan o Dayuhan?” (Country or Foreign Powers?) and “Bayan o Iilan?” (Country or a Few?).

“Our group clearly states its program: country above all; country first before one’s self,” Casiño said. “There are too many modern-day Buencaminos and Paternos in government who have to be exposed and rebuked,” he added, referring to the villains in the movie.

‘Anak ng Panday’

Not to be outdone, supporters of Sen. Grace Poe and her running mate, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero III, who filed their COCs in the afternoon, carried banners that read, “Anak ng Panday,” the blacksmith’s daughter, a nod to the “Ang Panday” movies in the 1980s that starred Poe’s late adoptive father, Fernando Poe Jr., known as FPJ, “Da King of Filipino Movies.”

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Romerico Padua, 44, of Parola Compound, Tondo, Manila, said of Poe: “She is Panday’s daughter; she will do what FPJ could have done for us. She will fight for the poor like Panday did in fighting against evil.”

FPJ, whom supporters believe was cheated by his main rival, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the May 2004 presidential race, died in December that same year.

‘Hitler of this generation’

Calling himself the “Hitler of this generation,” Jose Larry Maquinana, 41, wore on his shirt a swastika patch, the symbol used by the Nazi party. Led by Hitler, the Nazis became notorious for the genocide of approximately six million Jews during World War II.

Maquinana, who filed his COC for President and vowed to protect the country against foreign invaders, said he had ties with the Nazi movement.

“I will raise the strongest technology for defense in all structures,” Maquinana said, adding that the swastika on his shirt was the realization of what was stated in the Bible. He did not elaborate.

An “intergalactic space ambassador,” a man who believes he is Lucifer and a retired policeman who just wants his pension, also announced their bid for the presidency.

Allan Carreon turned up at the election headquarters with the words “intergalactic space ambassador” emblazoned on his shirt, and told voters he was receiving wise counsel from aliens. “The aliens have given me the will to run for president,” Carreon said, adding that he is a member of the Intergalactic Earth Ambassadors.

If he gets elected, he wants Wi-Fi to be enjoyed by Filipinos nationwide, he said. “I only need to talk to the intergalactic (ambassadors),” he added.

One of Carreon’s potential rivals is the heavily bearded Romeo John Ygonia who said he preferred to be called “Archangel

Lucifer,” adding that he was running on the orders of his “master.” Asked who his master was, he cryptically replied: “He is dwelling in my heart.”

Exodus to promised land

Another presidential aspirant, Arturo Pacheco Reyes, fancied himself as Moses as he vowed to lead “an exodus to the promised land of tomorrow.”

Reyes said he also wanted to “legalize” the four seasons in the Philippines, “so that we can adjust to the four seasons of winter, spring, summer, and fall of America, (and) we can get rid of the rainy and dry seasons.”

Another candidate, Marita Arilla, 70, claimed Divine Intervention. “I will run for President as an

independent candidate bringing the banner of an absolute monarchy that is the unlimited power of God,” said the retired school teacher.

Retired policeman Romeo Plasquita, 61, had more modest ambitions. “I am not suited to run for President. I don’t have money and I have no personality,” he told reporters as he registered.

He said he was running because he had not received his pension for five years now, and government officials had ignored his requests for help. “They will pay attention to me (now) because I am a presidential candidate,” he added.

60 for President

More than 60 people had registered as presidential candidates by Thursday morning, according to election officials, though only three are regarded as genuine contenders: the ruling Liberal Party’s Mar Roxas, opposition leader Jejomar Binay and independent Grace Poe.

Many others are believed to be nuisance candidates, although Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said it was too early to pass judgement.

After investigations, the Comelec would disqualify candidates who planned to “make a mockery of the election system,” or who had no real intention of running, he said.

Comelec Chair Andres Bautista was more blunt. “We don’t want to give a free pass to people who just want to get public attention,” he said. With a report from AFP

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