How to Handle a Political Scandal: A Manual for Aspiring Politicians

Check your soul at the door, you won’t need it where you’re going.


( You’re minding your own business and making a business out of politics when suddenly, to quote Kanye West, BAM! A scandal rocks your mansion and the media is at your gilded gates, waiting for an explanation to your then-secret-now-public screw up.


If you’re considering a career in politics, you have to be prepared. Consider this a safety briefing, like those pre-flight messages from the cabin crew so you know what to do when the plane goes down. Fasten your seatbelt while we walk you through the tricks of the trade, courtesy of our very own elected public officials.





1. "Innocence" is Bliss: Deny, deny, deny!

Peg: Senator Bong "Pogi" Revilla

Maintain innocence at all cost, at all times. If they have your signature on public documents, claim that all of it is forged and hire a "handwriting expert" to prove this fact. If you are married, ask your wife to stand beside you in your battle for the "truth" and have her say something more controversial to make you seem relatively more appealing.



2. Go Down Swinging: I’m taking you all with me!

Peg: Senator Jinggoy "Sexy" Estrada

Imagine that you and your fellow politicians live in one block. Imagine that a cat knocks your garbage bin and all your trash spills on the road for everyone to see. Instead of wasting time sweeping it up, go inside your house and grab a bat. Start whacking your neighbor’s bins to topple them over and show the world that you’re all rubbish inside.





3. Ad Hominem Ad Infinitum: This time, it’s personal.

Peg: Senator Juan Ponce "Tanda" Enrile

Similar to "Go Down Swinging" but, because you have more experience, you know that singling out a target or two works better. While "Go Down Swinging" is like a grenade that damages whatever is in its blast radius, you’re a classy sniper-saving your bullets for the right moment. The caveat is that your targets are probably just as cunning as you are, so be prepared with witty insults to hurl while you fight for your own version of reality. Call them "paraschizocondriac" or ridicule them using savage imagery like "They are cats pouncing on poor cockroaches. Yes, cockroaches are pests and are a menace, but must they be pounced upon!? If you step on us, do we not crunch?"


4. Silence is Golden: I invoke my right (against self-incrimination).

Peg: Janet Lim-Napoles

Whisper to your lawyers as frequently as possible and then say "I invoke my right" repeatedly. You’re not going to gain your dignity back, but on the brighter side, they hate you so much that they can’t possibly hate you more. When you’ve completely obliterated your own personal integrity and dignity, not much more can be done to harm you.





5. Employment Harakiri: Get out (honorably) while you still can.

Peg: Ruffy Biazon

There’s no need for any blood to be shed when you make a graceful exit. Just surrender your badge and keep your honor.

Sidenote: Being recently unemployed gives you a lot of free time and you may opt to write a book about your experiences (although it "won’t be a tell-all").



6. Disappearing Act: Make like Houdini and vanish.

Peg: Senator Lito Lapid

Just don’t say anything. The Filipino people are forgiving. Need proof? Bongbong, Imelda, and Imee Marcos are all currently in power.




7. Cease and disease: Work on getting a non-lethal health problem.

Peg: Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo


Start eating chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate. And drink gallons of soda. Work your way to being diabetic, it’s your ticket out of a hearing. Or smoke about three packs a day and get lung failure or something. If you’re desperate, stab yourself with a needle dipped in HIV-positive blood. Don’t worry about dying. Remember what your mother told you about masamang damo.

Sidenote: This is colloquially referred to as "The Wheelchair Defense" but that’s so last year. You can do so much better.


8. Trigger Happy: Utilize both hands in finger-pointing.

Peg: President Aquino

Rally for teamwork because teams are great. Always talk about solidarity. It’s good to have people behind you can turn around and point a finger (or two) at someone when something goes awry.





9. The Road to Redemption: Prove your worth.

Peg: Manila Mayor Joseph "Erap" Estrada

We’ve already mentioned that the Filipinos are forgiving so when you (eventually) get re-elected, show off. Dazzle them so much that they forget you were once convicted of plunder.


10. Don’t be a bitch, be an underdog.

Peg: Manny Pacquiao

You can pull this off even if you’re a millionaire. Appeal to the masses by presenting yourself as one of them. Be Mister Palengke, maligo sa dagat ng basura, get a girlfriend so gorgeous that you look, ordinary. If you play your cards right, you might just get a tax exemption despite having a tax evasion case.

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