[OPINION] Ask Senate hopefuls to show pictures of their libraries

What drives you to join politics?

This came to me when I opened my Facebook last week and saw all these epiphanies on my wall on what inspired them to run for public office. What drives you to join politics?

Of course, it is easier to run for a private office, especially if you have the key. If not, you can always knock.

My mind skipped the parts where they say they ran for the country and all those lies. I would rather look at their photos when they filed their certificate of candidacy, because those are real.

Well, we drove all the way to Laoag, hoping to get a last glimpse of Imelda Marcos' run, only to learn that her lawyer filed for her.

In the past, when she was there, it was theatrical. Whenever we covered her then, she would go to the Batac Church, light some candles, visit the Marcos mausoleum, and then file her certificate of candidacy.

Some indeed have the flair for running for public office.

In Baguio, Jose Molintas and his LP group came in yellow – except for Nick Aliping, their congressional bet, who has to run in red because that is his totem color,

This left Ryan Mangusan, the mayor's aide, in a quandary. Everyone who knows Ryan knows he loves wearing red even when he was young. But he is running as councilor under the Timpuyog party, so he has to wear green. Ryan in green is not Ryan. Hope he still wore something red.

I remember a magic lipstick which an aunt proudly demonstrated before – it's in the color green, but when you dab it in your lips, it magically becomes red. That was the only time in my life that I noticed lipstick.

Grace Poe came with her mother Susan Roces when she ran anew for senator. Wouldn't it have been nicer if she rode a horse and wore a leather vest? That way, people would connect her with her father, FPJ aka Panday.

The Cayetanos, in fairness, had a flair for entrances. Pia came biking because she is a triathlete and has to flaunt it. Her brother came in a moped, driven by Bong Go. Bong Go came with Duterte.

Comelec knew about the spectacle, because they set up the filing for senators on a stage, with 3 tables. From afar, it looked like a televised chess or scrabble game during the semifinals.

And then all the provincial Comelec offices had a photo wall where the candidates were made to pose after filing, supposedly for recording purposes.

I hope next time they bring props, like giant mustaches, sunglasses, and wigs, and they have 5 seconds to choose their outfit.

Maybe they can add political props, like ballot boxes, envelopes or ampaos, babies to kiss, guns, goons, gold, flags, jetskis, skeletons in closets, mud, blackouts, stars, stripes, small mushrooms, horse heads, Russian hackers, trolls, spinning toys, knives, knaves, and lots of cash.

The way the Tibetans choose the next lama is to have babies choose 5 objects among the pile in front of them. The one who chooses the right 5 objects ascertained by the priests will be The One.

I don't know if we can do that with our presidents. But I hope that at least sometimes, one would choose a toy that would turn out to be a landmine, so they could be maimed if unlucky.

I hope joining public office could be this perilous.

I heard a proposal that only those who finished college should run, which is stupid, because everyone should be free to run. There are out-of-school youths who are more politically capable than a roomful of AB Political Science graduates.

I'd rather that all senatorial candidates bring a picture of their libraries, and then the Comelec registrars would go to their houses and inspect if the books were really read, with all the dog ears and notes on the margins.

But some can buy used books, so Comelec should authenticate handwritings and highlighters.

Did they classify their books by subjects or colors? The number of books, as well as the quality, should matter.

Many can fake it so well, acquiring collections for prestige purposes, so the registrars should go ahead and take 5 books randomly from the shelves.

For the first and second books, the candidates would have to make a two-paragraph essay about them. What is it about? If they say they just got it, why did they buy the book? Was it the cover? The author?

The third book would be judged according to Obama's reading list.

The fourth would be spread with both covers on the end of the table. The page that is most open would be the basis of testing. If it was the dirty page, so be it. Danielle Steele or Stormy Daniels? At least we would know what titillates them.

The fifth book would be placed in front of the candidates. A page would be folded or torn or drawn, and the reaction on their faces or hands would be observed. Did they flinch? Did they cry? No reaction?

The results should be published, and a group of bibliophiles would make their choices. Those who were outed to have not read a single book – or in the case of Pacquiao, to have misread a single book – would be chained in real libraries and made to stay inside for 3 years. – Rappler.com

Frank Cimatu is a veteran journalist and poet born, raised, and based in Baguio City.