The vast majority of Filipinos do not want to change their National Anthem to a satirical song which makes fun of current political scandals, according to Remy Santos of East Asia Media Group. Students, activists, social media denizens, and others have mounted a populist effort to make “Janet the Pork Barrel Princess” an officially sanctioned song, somewhat lower in stature than ‘Lupang Hinirang’, which has been the national anthem since the island republic gained independence from Spain in 1898.
Composed by Principe Lovely, the song is a parody of “Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer”, and pokes fun at public figures involved in the scandal referred to locally as the Pork Barrel, which involves the misappropriation of government funds for private purposes. One video variant of the song can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbSUyYmefJw.
The scam involves apparently fraudulent misuse of the P.D.A.F. (Priority Development Assistance Fund) which refers to moneys allotted to lawmakers for special projects, usually in their home districts. For at least ten years these funds were allegedly channeled into fake NGOs set up by private businessmen and women, allegedly including millionaire Janet Napoles, who has become the public face of the latest scandal. The NGOs had ostensibly commendable goals, like agricultural research and natural gas exploration, but much of the money went unaccounted for and is assumed to have been pocketed by Senators and Representatives. Napoles was arrested on August 28, and has so far refused to name who received P.D.A.F. money under her control.
The parody mentions no last names, but does claim that ‘Janet’ gave politicans 2 billion pesos, channeled through fraudulent foundations. The song has appeared and disappeared on various video upload sites since late December, and at one time was the no. 9 song in the Philippines, as measured by number of downloads per minute. Already parodies of the parody are appearing, and it appears that Filipinos will be having video fun at their government’s expense for quite a while.
[Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a registered trademark of Character Arts, LLC]