FASTLANES: Tom Cruise and Mr. ‘Paezible’

CEBU CITY (MindaNews/19 February) — Three regions in a weeks is backbreaking but encouraging.

Campaigners of other candidates who were our friends from previous elections tease us for being all-purpose campaign workers. Well-to-do candidates do have full staff. They have teams of media relation officers, protocol officers, close in writers and photogs, security and executive assistants. They travel in long caravans.

The entourage of Coop Natcco party list Rep. Cris “Mr. Coop” Paez, who is running for senator under the administration’s Daang Matuwid slate is composed of three do-it-all staffers.

But when Cong. Paez takes the stage, we all take pride as he always breaks the house down with the jokes he weaves into his serious political agenda. Paez, a three-term congressman is an expert in cooperativism and development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

The laws he authored are no joke. The latest is Republic Act 10477 or the Credit Surety Fund Cooperative Act, which would empower MSMEs to borrow from banks even without a collateral.

He was also one of the principal authors of the extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, the Cooperative Code of Philippines, among others.

I had wracked my brains how to break into the mainstream news, especially the big TV and radio networks and broadsheets with no PR budget to speak off. After the grand rally in Iloilo City last Feb. 9, I remembered the giant billboard put up by a supporter at the Sta. Rita, Bulacan exit of NLEX, portraying Tom Cruise telling Paez that his senate bid is Mission Impossible, to which the congressman retorted: It is Paezible.

A netizen took a photo of the giant billboard before it was taken down at the start of the official campaign period and posted it on Facebook. In no time, it went viral. Some comments were good, actually out of amusement. Many bashed the congressman for intellectual property rights issues. Others suspect, the congressman splurged millions for the billboard. One even estimated that the price of having Tom Cruise as an endorser ranged from 1 to 3 million dollars.

On our way to the Bicol region last February 11, we discussed strategies while cramped in Cong. Paez’s Starex van. We crossed our fingers and wished the Tom Cruise billboard photo will become more viral in social media and penetrate mainstream media as news. We agreed to make ‘Paezible’ as the congressman’s tagline.

On our way to Iriga City, Camarines Sur from Daet, Camarines Norte early morning last Feb. 12, I tried typing “paezible” on Google search. And lo and behold, on top of the search was “Tom Cruise: I’m Giving Senate Candidate a Filipino Pass.”

It’s an article from wrote:
“Tom has gone on the attack against people who use his name and likeness without permission, but his longtime lawyer, Bert Fields, tells TMZ, “Since the ad’s meant to be funny and doesn’t imply an endorsement, I’m sure Tom’s not going to assert the right to protect his name and likeness.”

Since, we have gotten our fair share in political news.

It is still a long way in the campaign. But with each day reaching out to the voters, offering solid platform of livelihood and jobs creation through cooperatives and getting warm responses, things start to become ‘paezible.’

In the press conference in Talisay City, Negros Occidental last Feb. 16, Senate president and re-electionist Franklin Drilon said, no one will be left behind in the Daang Matuwid slate. In fact, Drilon said, with the very warm support they are getting in their sorties and the Liberal Party machinery revving to full speed, a “12-0 win for the Daang Matuwid senate slate is paezible.”

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