“Men build too many walls and not enough bridges.” ― Joseph Fort Newton
TORONTO – Angely Pacis is one candidate you would have second, even third, thoughts voting for. That is my honest assessment after watching her interact with people, myself included, in the last several weeks.
Her credentials are impressive, mesmerizing even. She’s a lawyer, and according to her website, she studied at McGill University, Université de Montréal, Harvard University and Osgoode Hall.
Such qualifications, I believe, make her a shoo-in for the position of Member of Provincial Parliament (of Ontario) that she’s aspiring for. But then, she has to be voted into office in provincial elections next year.
So, campaigning for the precious votes from now till election time is the ultimate test. She either makes or breaks it; it’s all up to her despite her team that appears to be so narrow-minded as to put her in a cage.
It’s not a good sign for one seeking public endorsement. It could only mean that she could be dictated to by the men and women trying to market her as a wholesome, trusted and representative candidate.
When she was chosen in December 2016 to be the official candidate of the provincial Conservative Party for the Mississauga Centre riding, I thought Filipinos in the Greater Toronto Area are now coming through. A person that much qualified would surely elevate the Filipino community.
I wasted no time in contacting her for an interview. Filipinos worldwide ought to know that in this part of Canada, a candidate of Filipino descent stands a good opportunity to change how mainstream Canadians look at Filipinos.
Regrettably, she did not respond to the first request. A second email request in March 2017 was unanswered. The third request in May 2017 was replied to, but not by her. Instead, a campaign legal advisor named Michael Citrome responded “At this time, we will not be conducting video interviews. I invite you to please reach out closer to the election date in 2018”.
That was disappointing. It seems that their game plan is to orchestrate media releases that would spiral upwards and peak as election day comes. Understandable, but I’m not part of their PR machine.
Citrome further explained: ” . . . it is our campaign policy not to address questions of a speculative nature or provide specific information on campaign strategy, so we are unable to respond to your (below) questions”.
I can’t do anything. Then four weeks later, I thought I had a chance when she, unexpectedly, appeared at the “Salo-Salo” at Earl Bales Park hosted by Philippine Independence Day Council on Saturday, June 10, 2017. I approached her and asked if she had time for a quick interview. She refused.
Then she walked around the gathering, introduced herself to the few people at the picnic table and even partook of the food. She spoke basically to an empty park, enjoining people to come out of the shade to no avail. (Video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XgoDKBiIBg).
On that same day, I went to Nathan Phillips Square where Filipino Centre Toronto was having its “Pistahan sa Toronto” in observance of the 119th Philippine independence day on June 12. I was quite surprised when I saw her there too.
Earl Bales Park and Nathan Phillips Square are very much in Toronto, geographically removed from the Mississauga Centre constituent seat that Pacis wants to represent in the Ontario provincial legislature. The park and the square are favorite havens for Filipino community gatherings.
As I’ve tried four times already to get her to talk, I decided to just listen to what she was going to say at Nathan Phillips Square. Sometimes I wonder why a candidate, no better than the average Juan or Juana, is given a seat of prominence in most, if not all, Filipino events. Well, it’s a Filipino thing, the hospitality and courtesy.
FCT organizers obviously allowed her to talk to the not-so-many people celebrating at the square. As she rambled on about her candidacy, the one important answer to my questions begun to emerge.
She introduced her team, and asked the members to come up the stage. And oblige her they did, the Toronto version of the yellows, among them, Guy Camacho and wife Livvy Camacho, and Ruffy Romano. The rest are not known to me. (Video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LD-F5uu43oQ).
I have a problem with this. At this early stage in her campaign, Pacis is already projecting the image that she’s not her own woman. I have reasons to believe that her refusal to be interviewed is a decision by her team and not by herself. I think she’s being insulated from media that can’t be controlled by her handlers.
Why do I say that? Well, at Earl Bales Park she told me that “there’s already a lot about her in the media” which impliedly means she did not want me to add any more to what’s already safely published in the local press. That’s bigotry.
She is probably not the one discriminating; rather it’s the people around her who imprison her in their own political prejudices and personal animosities. That said, Pacis may unknowingly be imbibing her team’s ill will towards media that refuse to lavish praise on her.
As a Filipino by birth, I want Pacis to succeed and perhaps lift us from the unpleasant characterization by Tobias Enverga, a member of the Senate, that Filipino Canadians “are known . . . most of all, for being the best at karaoke” (videos at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNhl-SRW–0and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFNAMLr-qgc).
As a Canadian, however, I withhold my support for the simple reason that her politics is anathema to Canadian values of respect, inclusion, and tolerance. #