Aren’t Goma, Pacman violating the SPIRIT of the law?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2007-02-06
Language and words take on different meanings and context through time with different people and literal interpretations often distort the essence or spirit of the law. It is for this reason that there’s that crooked and wily search for loopholes and technicalities in the language or letter of the law so that it can be manipulated to suit personal agenda.

By keeping within the spirit of the law, we declare our honest respect for social order, fairness and commitment to uphold the values that sustain and uplift a nation and its people. But we have opportunists in our midst who will force a literal interpretation of the law to promote a deceptive, self-serving agenda. Showbiz stars and boxers in public office
When the likes of showbiz personality Richard "Goma" Gomez and sensational boxing champion Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao aspire for public office, we can see what can happen when we just obey the letter of the law.

The law allows minimum requirement for a citizen to offer himself as a contender for an elective position. But those who made the law did not intend this to enable the incompetent, the inept and the morally unfit to use their mass popularity to access political privilege and power intended to serve the people. Many of these showbiz and sports personalities who take advantage of the letter of the law to propel themselves to public office are either unprepared for the task, morally unfit to hold public office or both.

In the case of Richard Gomez and Manny Pacquiao – now aspiring to be senator and mayor of General Santos City, respectively – we have to question their capability to assume those positions.

What has Richard Gomez done to assure us that he is qualified to make laws? What previous responsibilities and positions has he held to offer us some way of measuring his capability and competence to be a legislator? Does he have the academic preparation or at the very least, some semblance of knowledge of what it means to be a senator of the land? I don’t recall hearing him say or do anything that has a bearing on any relevant or significant piece of legislation. Have you?

Even worse issues confront Manny Pacquiao. Other than showing himself to be master of the ring, does Manny Pacquiao have any idea about running a big and promising city like General Santos? Does he even have any idea about city council legislation and public administration? These are complex tasks that a crisp right cross or sneaky left hook won’t accomplish.

What about their moral qualifications? So far, I have not heard anything derogatory about Richard Gomez on the moral issue. But I have heard a lot from very reliable sources, from media and people who have dealt with Manny Pacquiao up close and personal that puts serious questions about Pacman’s being morally fit to hold public office.

Just a few months ago, Manny Pacquiao was the center of controversy regarding a paternity suit for an alleged illegitimate son. Interestingly, he did not deny the affair with the woman but he kept mum about whether he was the father of her child. Isn’t adultery the more serious crime compared to the reckless siring of a love child? After all, Philippine laws do protect the rights of illegitimate children but clearly penalize adultery.

After the third fight with Erik Morales in Las Vegas, Pastor "Boy" Saycon (who saw the fight earlier with Chavit Singson) was aghast when he saw Manny Pacquiao blow a $10,000 bet on the gaming table, money that came from a Japanese admirer who wanted to give it as a gift to Pacman’s wife. How can we forget Joseph Estrada’s costly gambling habit that made governance his biggest casino loss ever and how the nation have had to eventually pay for it?

Even more recent, Pacman was in deep trouble for signing two conflicting contracts with top international boxing promoters Bob Arum and Oscar de la Hoya. He blamed his lawyer for that. But what will happen when he is mayor of General Santos? Can he go on blaming fall guys for what would constitute wanton disregard of basic fairness and obligations in contract transactions? Saviors needed, not more trapos
What our country needs are real saviors, men and women of probity and the right fit for top elective as well as appointive public offices. The last things we need are new plunderers who will just be helping themselves to the public funds.

Richard Gomez and Manny Pacquiao may have the purest intentions but if they do not have what it takes to do the job, they will just end up as added burdens to the Filipino taxpayers. Not only that, but they will be putting out of public office more suitable contenders who could be the truly honest and capable public servant the Filipino deserves and needs.

This tendency to elect popular showbiz and sports personalities who don’t possess the moral and technical qualifications provides a far worse threat to our stability. It can only worsen our already desperate leadership crisis. The inherently corrupt and immoral character of the trapo (traditional politician) is certainly undesirable but compared to the showbiz political wannabes, the trapo has at least some degree of management capability.

The showbiz and sports political aspirant can end up just as corrupt and yet will not be able to provide the most basic service listed in their job description. Have we forgotten what kind of a president Joseph Estrada was? Under Estrada, the economy and the Philippine peso plummeted. The stock market crashed owing to the BW stock price manipulation by his cronies. And let’s not forget, we even caught him dipping his fingers into the jueteng kitty.

What momentous legislation have Lito Lapid, Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada initiated and contributed since they got elected senators?

Lipa City Mayor Vilma Santos was an exception to the long line of ill-equipped public servants that came from the ranks of showbiz. Before and after her election, the performance of elected showbiz personalities was generally forgettable and regrettable if not dismal.

In fact, it is the gruesome prospect of a showbiztocracy that provides the proposed shift to a parliamentary form of government a modicum of acceptability.

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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