• No, no, no to showbiz bets


    This is a follow up to my column earlier this week where I asked if it would be best if only those who paid income tax should be allowed to vote.

    The piece drew an unusual amount of replies, mostly positive. But someone who disagreed with me accused me of being an elitist.

    For the record, I am most definitely not an elitist. An extremist, maybe, but not an elitist.
    At my age, I’ve seen enough of the country’s political system to realize that we need extreme change in order to become a true democracy. I thought that Edsa 1, the real Edsa, would have changed the system enough for a real valid democracy to emerge.

    Twenty seven years later and I’m still waiting. In the meantime, the situation seems to be deteriorating. It’s bad enough that we have a bumper crop of showbiz figures running and winning for elective posts where they do not have any qualifications.

    The political dynasties of eons ago are still very much around, and the few that have been soundly defeated—like the Jalosjoses—are being replaced by newer and ever less qualified ones—like the Pacquiaos.

    Know what the foundation of the Jalosjos dynasty was?

    Believe it or not, it was showbiz. Patriarch Romeo Jalosjos began his career as a TV man, and became mega rich when his small company found the winning formula for noontime TV success. The long running Eat Bulaga was a Jalosjos brainchild, and he earned a pretty penny from the show that he was able to enter politics with a bang. Somewhere along the way, he decided that it was OK to have sex with a minor, which was his undoing.

    As for Pacquiao, he may be better known as one of the greatest pound-for-pound boxers of all time, but his fame skyrocketed when he became active in showbiz. Not just local showbiz, but the US scene as well.

    He also became a top product endorser, and had his own game show to boot. No wonder he entered politics. It was a natural progression for him, not unlike Jalosjos.

    There were a number of lesser lights who tried to get elected. The saddest of the lot must be Richard Gomez, the one-time matinee idol who has never kept secret his ambition to go into government service. Again and again, he has run for various offices, failing each time.

    Recall that he once ran for senator, and he was serious about it. This week, he lost in his bid to become mayor, while his wife won a second term as congresswomen.

    Someone should put him out of his misery. Maybe he can be appointed Philippine ambassador to North Korea?

    Yet another faded matinee idol who again ran in my home province of Batangas is Christopher de Leon. And again, he lost. Previously, he wanted to be vice governor to Gov. Vilma Santos, who was his frequent co-star in romance and drama films of the 70s and 80s.

    If there is a reason to impose a ban on showbiz figures running for public office, two words should suffice – Anabelle Rama.

    The Cebu electorate taught her a lesson that she should never forget. Being the wife of a matinee idol of the 60s, and mom to a daughter and a son who is half of a set of twins who are big stars of this decade did not qualify her for any public post.

    Maybe movie stars should just pool their resources and seek a party-list seat next time. Just as long as they stop running for senator, governor, vice governor, mayor, vice mayor and . . . uh . . . president?



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