by JM Ragaza
“What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.” –Salman Rushdie
The President is turning out to be one of today’s hottest internet sensations, but all for the wrong reasons. For every presidential blunder or eyebrow-raising policy, expect a torrent of internet memes and quick and brief rejoinders from netizens who utilize various social media platforms to express their dismay over the President.
Creative, critical, and yes, offensive. But rightfully so. With a president who has in many occasions shown indifference, crassness and sheer insensitivity, these memes are one way of reminding the President of who he is in the watchful eyes of the public.
Let’s get to know Noynoy Aquino and his presidency through these memes which have become viral in the world wide web.
- Spot the difference
The message of Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines was all about mercy and compassion, especially to the poorest of the poor. With the President beside him on several occasions during the Papal visit, netizens were quick to make comparisons. One is a religious and state leader who because of his daring criticism of anti-poor government policies has turned out to be one of the most charismatic political and religious figures history has ever witnessed. In stark contrast, we have our President who, just before the Papal visit, has initiated a barrage of anti-poor developments such as fare hikes in public transportations and public utilities. In this viral meme, the Holy Spirit seems to be in agreement with the comparison.
- So Kasalanan Ko Na Naman
Ako ang nakikita, ako ang nasisisi, ako ang laging may kasalanan. This probably is the most played track on the presidential playlist. It is a line the President is so used to spewing that it reveals how allergic he is to the word accountability. Not only does it tell how onion-skinned the president is when it comes to facing criticism, it furthermore shows how naïve he is to the powers and functions of his office. Of course, Mr. President, in our system of governance, your office holds so much power its misuse and abuse is directly attributable to you.
Everyone loves a President who makes his people feel that he is right there with them especially in times of grief and tragedy. Sadly for us, based on a long list of occurrences where the President was conspicuously absent, empathy does not seem to be one of his virtues. In fact, the President has made it clear that he doesn’t attend the wakes of people he does not personally know, even if it was a Filipino victimized by the government’s own military policy. But he was there when celebrity couple Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera tied the knot. He also showed up during the much-publicized interview with comedian Vice Ganda. In other words, the President is everywhere, except in the place where he needed to be. This lack of empathy (or a twisted sense of priority, to be gentle about it) was in full display when instead of attending the rites for the 44 policemen who died in a failed government-sanctioned operation, he attended the opening ceremony of a car manufacturing factory.
If the term is in UrbanDictionary.com then it must be really popular. Coined by youth activists, this verb is used to describe the act of doing exactly nothing or basically just slacking off when the circumstances warrant a person to act at the soonest possible time. It has reached the level of notoriety achieved by the adjective “Imeldific” which has been used to describe the lavish lifestyle of former First Lady Imelda Marcos amid a backdrop of extreme poverty among the people. Youth activists invented the term as a means to protest government inaction on tuition and fare hikes and the unchecked human rights violations occurring under the Aquino presidency. The term has become so popular that it pushed Aquino’s public relations team to release photos of a working president.
- Kasalanan ni Gloria
Five years into his presidency and PNoy is still stuck in the past. Noynoy blames almost every blunder or misfortune of his administration to the evils that his predecessor left in Malacanang and every nook and corner of every government office. Frozen’s Elsa has a message for President Aquino: Let it go. Let it go.
- Napoles-PNoy Make-up Transformation
PDAF Scam Operator Janet Napoles and Noynoy Aquino do have some similar facial features, but this viral meme does not merely aim to point those similarities. At the height of the pork barrel controversy, Janet Napoles was the face of corruption, the Pork Barrel Queen who pocketed millions of public funds through her bogus non-government organizations. Creators of this meme, however, wanted to highlight that the President himself, through the Disbursement Acceleration Program, legitimized the creation of presidential pork barrel funds all under his sole discretion and use.
- Separation of Kris and State
You have to give it to Kris Aquino. Most of the time, she does a better job than all of PNoy’s Press Secretaries combined. When the President is under fire, expect an engaging and emotional Kris to defend her brother. Before Noynoy’s rise to political power, Kris was already one of the most influential celebrities of the country. With PNoy at the helm, Kris became an almost inescapable, prominent fixture in Philippine society. But the Kris-Noynoy memes do not merely describe the influence of the presidential sister over her brother. More appropriately, they demonstrate how the landed and elite Cojuangco-Aquino clan has been calling the shots.
- Noy the Puppet
Whether it be the President portrayed as a dog subservient to its American master, or an American puppeteer pulling the strings to control a President depicted as a puppet, these memes perfectly describe the relationship of the Philippines and the United States. Evidenced by lopsided military and economic agreements, President Aquino continues the tradition of blind subservience started by his predecessors, a tradition which has long been destroying our national sovereignty or identity.
- Mom and Dad
It’s what propelled him to presidential victory and it’s what he continues to capitalize on to secure his popularity—his parent’s legacy. Unfortunately for Aquino, the people have grown tired of his same old script. Mom and Dad won’t be there to save the day for him when the shit has finally hit the fan.
10. Kapal ng Balat
When it comes to criticism, the President is onion-skinned. When it comes to the interests of the common people, however, his is a skin too thick peeling a potato would be too much easier. Riding on the popularity of the Princess Sarah Patatas memes, this meme accurately captures the President’s failure to fully comprehend the daily struggles faced by millions of poor Filipino families.