Imee and irony

Sun.Star Pampanga - - TOPSTORIES! -

IMEE Mar­cos, the daugh­ter of Fer­di­nand Mar­cos and who is run­ning for se­na­tor in the com­ing elec­tions in May, is cur­rently on the de­fen­sive in so­cial me­dia for her aca­demic record claims. What has be­come ironic is that she and the Mar­cos fam­ily, in­clud­ing the name­sake of her fa­ther Fer­di­nand “Bong­bong” Mar­cos Jr., have the bet­ter so­cial me­dia pres­ence among the cur­rent crop of politi­cians.

So­cial me­dia is where the Mar­coses have been wag­ing a bat­tle to re­vise his­tory, specif­i­cally the nar­ra­tive of the dic­ta­tor­ship years. Many of those whose pres­ence in so­cial me­dia got big like Mocha Uson, Sass Sas­sot, RJ Ni­eto of Think­ing Pi­noy, etc. at one time or an­other beefed up the Mar­coses’so­cial me­dia ma­chin­ery.

The Ro­drigo Duterte pres­i­den­tial cam­paign in 2016 ben­e­fited im­mensely from the Mar­coses’ so­cial me­dia ma­chin­ery. Would Duterte have won the pres­i­dency with­out the Mar­coses link­ing up with him in 2016? That’s a good ques­tion to ask, con­sid­er­ing how puny the Duterte cam­paign or­ga­ni­za­tion was at the be­gin­ning.

The Pres­i­dent may have ac­tu­ally ac­knowl­edged that help with his proBong­bong Mar­cos state­ments dur­ing the cam­paign and af­ter he (Duterte) won. It was when Duterte be­came pres­i­dent that the body of the for­mer strong­man, kept in a crypt for so long in Ilo­cos, was buried at the Libin­gan ng mga Bayani. Imee’s sen­a­to­rial bid has also got­ten the sup­port of pres­i­den­tial daugh­ter Sara Duterte and her Hug­pong ng Pag­babago.

What Imee and the Mar­coses may have failed to reckon, how­ever, is that so­cial me­dia is such a large plat­form it can’t be con­trolled by any one en­tity, no mat­ter how much money one in­vests in en­larg­ing one’s pres­ence there. The so­cial me­dia that ini­tially served the Mar­coses well in the early years of their re­vi­sion­ist cam­paign is now also mak­ing the Imee cam­paign bleed.

Bong­bong was the first among the Mar­coses to ben­e­fit from so­cial me­dia when he al­most won the vice pres­i­dency in 2016. His so­cial me­dia ma­chin­ery waged a some­times bru­tal cam­paign against Leni Ro­bredo and her group, whom they col­lec­tively re­ferred to as “di­lawan.” Ro­bredo still won the elec­tion but her run­ning mate Mar Roxas fell.

Ro­bredo’s win showed that the com­bi­na­tion of re­vi­sion­ism, fake news and slan­der is still not enough to put a good (wo)man down. Those can also be de­feated by truth and ob­jec­tiv­ity

which soon pre­vailed as Filipino vot­ers even­tu­ally ma­tured in the use of so­cial me­dia. Now Imee must have felt like 2016 was eons ago, with her so­cial me­dia ma­chin­ery marginal­ized.

Imee launched her sen­a­to­rial cam­paign well, then things turned sour as soon as so­cial me­dia got wind of her false claims. She first claimed, in her biog­ra­phy posted on Face­book, to be “one of the first fe­male grad­u­ates from an Ivy League school— Prince­ton Univer­sity, grad­u­at­ing with hon­ors.” Fur­ther dig­ging showed Imee did not fin­ish her de­gree in that univer­sity.

So­cial me­dia feasted on it, and on her other aca­demic achieve­ments claim. When Sara Duterte at­tempted to de­fend her, even she ended up be­ing sub­ject of ridicule. How times have changed.

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