(A longer version of this piece was delivered February 13, 2004 at the Third UP public lectures on the Philippine Presidency and Administration)
The arroyo government came to power in 2001 on the twin mandate of efficient and honest government and the rejection of traditional politics in favor of the new.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was aware of that mandate, and it was in fact the main theme of her inaugural speech on January 21, 2001. Among other promises, she committed herself to the development of a politics that would focus on party-based platforms rather than personalities, and the making of a government that would try its best to address at least some of the most urgent problems of the country, particularly its poverty.
The story appeared in the entertainment pages where it belonged, but was far from entertaining.
Interviewed by an Inquirer entertainment reporter, film director Carlos “Carlitos” Siguion-Reyna and actor Richard Gomez had almost the same message. A Supreme Court decision on the Fernando Poe Jr. citizenship case adverse to the actor could have dire consequences.
“Political prostitute” doesn’t quite cut it as a metaphor for politicians, particularly the Filipino variety.
A prostitute dispenses sexual favors for cash, and in that enterprise ends up with multiple partners. In certain societies like ours where the self-righteous reign, prostitutes are derided as destroyers of morality and as enemies of the family because they supposedly lead otherwise honest and faithful husbands into sin.