Comic book 'heroes' during the 2016 #PHVote campaign
MANILA, Philippines - Filipinos love reading illustrated versions of stories, and the best time to resurrect them is during the election season.
During the campaign period, several issues of political comics that depicted candidates as superheroes surfaced.
A comic book that tells the life of Liberal Party (LP) presidential bet Mar Roxas – from his entry into politics up until he got President Benigno Aquino III's endorsement – circulated across the internet in March. Titled “Sa Gitna ng Unos (In the midst of disaster),” a portion of the booklet drew flack for depicting Roxas as a hero during the Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) crisis.
Roxas has been hit for his alleged incompetence in the aftermath of the storm. National government has been criticized for the alleged slow pace of its disaster management efforts during the crisis – from response to rehabilitation.
In April, netizens mocked Roxas through comic strip memes after he inaccurately quoted a line from DC Comics superhero Batman during the 3rd and last Comelec-sanctioned presidential debates in Pangasinan.
Poe comic books
Senator Grace Poe's camp also released its own comics titled “Ampon man maaring maging Pangulo” (A foundling can become president) that illustrates the presidential candidate's life.
It highlighted Poe's poignant life story in cartoon form, bringing her rise to power and presidential bid to light.
Though informative, the comics became controversial due to a lifted photo that showed members of the University of the Philippines’ (UP) organization Babaylan in one of the pages.
The group said they are not affiliated with Poe's campaign, criticizing the use of the photo withour their permission.
"UP Babaylan does not officially endorse any presidential candidate, but we have been very vocal in asking everyone to vote in favor of human rights, non-discrimination, and equality," UP Babaylan clarified in a statement.
Meanwhile, Pugad Baboy illustrator Pol Medina Jr used his satire to take a swipe at vice presidential bet Senator Bongbong Marcos.
The special edition compilation that was released in a Martial Law forum in April, reminds the forgiving and forgetful Filipino people about the horrors of Martial Law during the regime of Senator Marcos' father.
Comic books are an old and popular form of campaign paraphernalia, used either to promote or discredit candidates. In 2013, for example, a comic book which heavily alluded to Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla, criticized the then gubernatorial candidate over his alleged misallocation of funds for an anti-drugs campaign.
For some, comics may just be a medium for entertainment, but for others, it is a way to retell or distort a story. – with reports from Timothy Justin Emata and Aina Licodine/Rappler.com
Timothy Justin Emata (Xavier University) and Aina Licodine (Far Eastern University) are Rappler's student interns
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