A sense of honor and responsibility

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IN locally produced movies, congressmen are often portrayed as the worst kind of public officials. They are depicted not just as arrogant and rude, but worse, as murderers and syndicate leaders.

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Sometimes, they are not even addressed as congressmen, but you would know they are because of the special car plate No. 8 used in the films.

In the ongoing Metro Manila Film Festival, one of the movies features a congressman who is behind a ponzi type of investment scheme, while another film shows a philandering lawmaker.

A lawmaker may also be characterized in films as a hoodlum, thug, hooligan, trouble-maker and law-breaker. Governors and mayors are similarly portrayed, but less frequently as congressmen.

That is probably because of the number of high-profile cases and incidents of abuse involving congressmen.

There are almost 300 congressmen in the Philippines, including party-list representatives, 81 governors and at least 1,712 municipalities and cities across the country.

Officials in higher positions are less frequently illustrated as the bad guys in the same way that they are demonized in social media networks.

But just the same, our basic government institutions and the judiciary as well, have a serious image problem. We wouldn’t be seeing this kind of movie portrayals if we don’t witness them happening in real life.

Our public officials, elected or appointed, exhibit this sense of entitlement, that they deserve certain privileges and brag about that. They forget that they are public servants.

More than rejoicing over the victory of Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach to regain for the Philippines the Miss Universe crown after 42 years, public officials, particularly politicians, should draw an important lesson on why they deserve the people’s votes, from the beauty titleholder’s response to the final question on why she deserved to win.

“To be a Miss Universe is both an honor and responsibility,” said Wurtzbach. “I will use my voice to influence the youth. I will shed light on [worthy]causes like HIV… show the world that I am confidently beautiful, with a heart.”

Compare that with the answer of Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez: “I’m positive that I should be the third Miss Universe from my country because I have attributes of a Latin woman, a woman from Colombia, and a Miss Universe.” It was oozing with confidence, but sounded arrogant.

Miss USA Olivia Jordan said: “I should be the next Miss Universe because I’m so driven. I want to work to bring equality toward men and women.”

Wurtzbach’s statement was deeply meaningful. A Miss Universe crown is not just something to be proud of; it is not a symbol of entitlement, but an honor and a responsibility.

She said she wants to show the world that she is “confidently beautiful, with a heart.”

During election campaign periods, almost all politicians claim to have a soft heart for the poor and the homeless, but once elected, they only have their self-interests and the welfare of their families, relatives and friends in mind.

The promises of being honorable turn to dishonorable deeds. The sad reality is that most of them still get re-elected.

Politicians fool voters because we don’t seriously take our right to vote. We don’t take public service as an honor and a privilege. We allow the culture of entitlement to prevail among public servants, instead of the public having that sense of entitlement from those who had sworn to serve them in accordance with law.

Public officers must observe the laws, and not be the first to break them. Public service means self-sacrifice to serve, not a privilege of being served.

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4 Comments

  1. The media is supposed to be the reflection of life..Often they show congressmen n caricature Some times when one looks at the actions of some –it is not far of the mark ..Take the actions of Clinton foe example

    With great power comes great responsibility …

    David M Meyer (PhD Psych}

  2. Well sometimes art reflects real life ..What we see in the movies often is the caricature of the real life situation.

    But when your read and see on he media…People like Clinton..Who after being found to have lied –goes on as though nothing had occurred

    .Seems like the movies are not far off the mark!.

    Power corrupts absolute power ;corrupts absolutely

    David M Meyer (PhD psych}

  3. In the old Philippines Free Press, Filipino congressmen were aptly depicted as CROCODILES.

  4. There might be a connection between the huge amount of uneducated and uninformed voters and the politicians who get reelected despite being involved in scandals.
    Having a inept, incompetent, subservient Justice system plays right along with having masses of uneducated voters.

    Most of the uninformed have faith the agencies with honorable names like a Dept of Justice that will keep a eye on the wrongdoers and bring to justice anyone who breaks the law and trust of the people, they are of course very wrong.

    The Justice Dept is nothing more than enforcers for the ruling party, instead of arresting the thieves in the government they protect them even after the Supreme court ordered the Dept of Justice (De Lima) and the Ombudsman (Morales) to investigate the misuse of the Pork barrel and DAP funds.

    “In July 2014, the Supreme Court struck down both the PDAF and the DAP as unconstitutional and ordered the prosecutorial arm of the government to investigate and prosecute all those involved in the manipulation and misuse of the same. That entire year passed without the Ombudsman or the Department of Justice complying with the SC directive.”

    “Of the 19 senators who each received P50 million or more from DAP to convict Corona, not a single one has been investigated. On the other hand, some had the effrontery to investigate others for alleged corruption”

    The more uneducated people there are the easier it is to manipulate them.
    Maybe that’s why the government only spends 2% of the budget for education.