While the Filipino public is amused by the news on the love interest of RP’s bachelor president, publicity on his private life will work divisively. People are interested about this news regardless of its moral implications. The sweet stories may turn tragic later on, when the public is no longer satisfied to how the country is governed.
At the height of the campaign period, a city councilor was his love interest. There were also news of marriage plans, whether Noynoy wins or not. Such romance filled the headlines, tabloids and broadsheets turned up like showbiz magazines.
Now the focus is on the President again, on his new love interest. The Philippine media is said to be linking him with his stylist Liz Uy, who is 22 years younger than him. The President had admitted to the press that he had parted ways with Shallani Soledad, who appeared publicly in support of his campaign for the presidency. Now Uy is in the picture of his love frame. Given the volume of work that he has to as the President, he admits that he has little time to attend to his private life, but he admits he has been spending time with Uy as their schedules would permit.
Communication is indeed performative. The media is using this angle to make news about the president. Such news is simply palatable to the public, although it is lacking in critical value to help in improving the quality of life of the Filipino people. The news focus on this private and personal issue is performatively divisive working for and against the President’s image and the libertarian role of the media.
Traditionally, the Philippines never had a bachelor president, until Noynoy. In this case, some may think that a wife or life-partner is necessary for a president to govern a country. This thinking is irrational. Cory Aquino was widow, and she was able to run the government in her term. Marcos had a wife, and it was Imelda who was blamed by many as to the problematic state of the Marcos government. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had her husband with her in the Government, and the first Gentleman was linked in the issue of ZTE scandal.
The private life of a public figure, is surely an interesting beat for news maker. This is what paparazzi do with the many other public figures and celebrities. Inching one’s nose on one’s private life is, I think a universal behavioral tendency. Such a culture persists because the media is able to create the storyline and the news frame that the public would pay attention to.
With this kind of media attention, we can understand how poor is the taste of the viewing public and how the poor the media standards are in terms of newsmaking. As to the media, the attention they give to the issue of the love interest of the President lacks depth and critical views. Instead, the media touts on insignificant things as to national development. If this continues, the media is not playing its emancipatory role to advance the people’s knowledge and consciousness.
The President’s love interest is his personal affairs. Leave it that way. As to the President’s publicity officer, this issue must be straightforwardly answered. If the bachelor president is of a marrying type of guy, he would have married even when he was not the president. If he desires to be single that is his choice. The media should focus more on issues that are significant to the Filipino people. That is a way for them to serve the nation and their fellow citizens. The media need to elevate their consciousness of what counts as national news.
Coming out like pyrogenic for relationships by having one partner after another wreaks criticisms. Feminists groups may criticize this as a moral and cultural breach. To the president, publicity of having one woman after another regardless of the contexts of the relationships he had, could be misunderstood as machismo if not promiscuity. The Filipino people remains to be largely traditional and conservative in its views of relationship. The “romantic show” needs justification in the end, if the ending of that show is not suitable to the audience, the trust to the main character will decline.
A country’s leader doesn’t have to be sweet lover, and a true man is not measured the woman by his side. I have no idea, neither the interest to understand what happened to the president and his girlfriend. In the same way I am not interested in his affairs with his stylist as to whether they are dating or not. But thin splicing these romantic affairs of a public figure, makes me wonder what kind of boyfriend is the president, or what kind of a woman are those ladies? Further it makes me think what is his construct and values for relationships that he could not keep on it or he could easily change his taste for a woman? But that is his private affairs, I am just thinking out loud here as to what I hear and watch from the news where he is also a performer.
The president who gets the media attention, should remain conscious that he is not keeping a showbiz career like that of her sister Kris Aquino. He, as a leader of this country, is a model for the young generation. He represents the country and it is through his actions and words that other country finds meaning to the image of the Filipino people. What he projects to others, is probably his and his alone, but in some way, this projected image is understood by others as the image of the Filipino people.