Social satirist Jun Sabayton viewed political satire not as a mere form of entertainment but rather as a tool to raise the Filipinos’ awareness of the country’s issues.
“Kasi ‘pag masyadong seryoso, hindi gaano kumakagat sa isip ng masa. Naglalagay kami ng mga ‘pautot,’ kaya ito nagiging nakakatawa, pero ang importante, may tumatatak sayo tungkol sa issue,” Sabayton said. “Nag-eeducate kami gamit ang political satire. Nagpapatawa kami para din madaling maintindihan [ang mga ito] ng masang Pilipino.”
Sabayton says it is a combination of slapstick comedy and advocacy that aims to let the people face the social realities in our country. However, the Tv5 personality explains political satires do not guarantee change in our society.
“Kahit papaano, mas gumagaan ang buhay kapag tumatawa tayo, Hindi ako nag e-expect na babaguhin ng political satire ang lipunan natin. Gusto lang namin na sana makita ng tao ang mapait na katotohanan.” said Sabayton.
In addition, political satires in any way, he claimed, can either make or break the people involved.
Sabayton reminds the people that media ethics should always be observed. He said people should always limit their jokes in order not to offend other people, race, or religion.
Political satires are however not new to Philippine culture. The director and Tv5 personality said comedy and sarcasm have always been natural to Filipinos.
“Nasa dugo natin ang sarcasm at comedy. Natural tayong magaling mang-insulto. Hindi natin matatanggal sa dugo natin ‘yan. Kaya ka lang naman nang-aasar dahil may gusto kang patunayan.” he said.
Sabayton adds political satires could also trigger the nationalism and patriotism of the Filipinos, noting that Jose Rizal and Marcelo H. Del Pilar used satires to uncover and reveal the social realities happening in the country before.
“Isa pa, kaya lang naman ang tao ay mahilig mambiro at nagiging mapang-asar dahil may gusto silang i-uphold na standards at dahil may pinaglalaban sila,” Sabayton said.
Freedom of expression
Sabyton admits he notices the growing popularity of political satires. He said that the reason behind it is the youth and the social media.
“Dumadami ang nakakapansin sa mga ‘pautot’ namin dahil sa mga kabataan at sa hilig nilang gumamit ng Facebook at Twitter,” Sabayton said. “Pero natutuwa kami nila Lourd, Ramon at RA. Ibig sabihin lang noon, hindi pa tayo ninanakawan nang karapatan nating magsalita at mambara.”
Furthermore, Sabayton sees Filipinos are still fortunate to live in a country where free speech exists.
“Kahit papaano may exercise of free speech at may exercise of democracy. Kahit papaano nabubuhay pa rin tayo sa malayang lipunan,” he said. “Dapat nating alalahanin [na] ito parin ang number one nating sandata. Maling pumatay ng tao, [kaya] mang-asar nalang tayo.”
While free speech is still welcome in our country, Sabayton encourages the people to speak up. He says the youth should not feel fear when speaking up for the truth. “Huwag kayong matakot pero hinay-hinay rin. May karapatan tayong magsalita, pero wala tayong karapatang maging bastos.”
‘Para kay Juan’
Meanwhile, Sabayton said political satires are for the Filipino people. He describes it as an advocacy that affects the people from both the upper and lower classes.
“Itong mga ginagawa naming ito, para sa kapwa nating Pilipino. Mayaman, mahirap, bata, matanda, kurakot, bayani, artista o magbabalot, para ito kay Juan,” he added.
Sabayton said their concept of political satire eyes the involvement of the masses. “Hindi bobo ang tao. Ang mga tambay, naiintindihan nila ang mga sinasabi natin…kaunting push lang naman ang kailangan sa kanila,” he said.
He then assured that the people will be seeing more of “Bayaw” even after the national elections.
Amid the criticisms, Sabayton said he will continue bashing dishonest and corrupt politicians.
“Normal na may naaasar at napipikon pero wala kaming babaguhin sa ginagawa namin. Lalong hindi kami titigil. Bayaw is Bayaw,” he said.
Confident, he said he was already expecting the criticisms. He explained that they did not put up “B.A.Y.A.W.” to please the people but to educate them. Should he feel nervous, Sabayton answers, “Hindi nga natakot si Rizal.”
On student apathy
Sabayton called out the generational claim of student apathy as unquestionable. He said people see students as apathetic individuals because of the different generations the people came from.
“Hindi na ako magtataka na iniisip ng ibang tao na walang pakialam ang mga bata sa mga nangyayari sa Pilipinas. Iba na kasi ang hilig nila at iba rin kung paano nila tinitignan ang mga bagay bagay,” Sabayton said.
While claiming the existence of student apathy, he believes that the youth is not completely apathetic. If so, the youth would not have reactions about his shows. “Kung wala pakealam ang mga kabataan, bakit sila ang isa sa mga malakas makapag-react sa mga palabas namin? Sila ang may maraming comment, minsan mababaw pero alam mong may pakialam sila”
Likewise, he says that the youth, in number, are their largest viewers and supporters.
Sabayton believes the involvement of the youth to political satires help eradicate student apathy. He says if they participate and continues to react to it, the image of being apathetic individuals may slowly disappear.
“Hindi kailangang maging aktibista ang mga kabataan para patunayan na sila ay may partisipasyon sa mga nangyayari sa ating lipunan. Sa patuloy nilang pagabang at pagreact sa mga political satires, imposibleng maging mangmang pa sila sa issues ng bayan,” he added.
Politics in 2022
Should Sabayton run for the national elections next 2022, he clarified that he will not. He said being ‘Bayaw’ is enough, and he does not see any interest in entering politics.
“Magulo ang buhay politika. Hindi ko naman hinangad seryosohin ang pagtakbo. Ang gusto ko lang ay maging parte sa isang adbokasiyang nagpapakita ng katotohanan,” he said.
Sabayton also called himself an artist that is openly expressing himself through his advocacies and humour.
He adds that if he then decides to run, he will not be like ‘Bayaw’ or any other political candidate that they imitated in their segments. K KRYSTAL GALYE DIGAY