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Opinion

Sex scandals

FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas - The Philippine Star

The scandal of the decade, so far, is the resignation of David Howell Petraeus, as director of the Central Intelligence Agency after an FBI investigation uncovered his extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. The discovery ended a star-studded career.

Petraeus served as CIA director from September 6, 2011, until his resignation on November 9, 2012. Prior to his assuming the directorship of the CIA, Petraeus was a four-star general serving over 37 years in the US Army. His last assignments in the Army were as commander of the International Security Assistance Force and commander, US Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A). His other four-star assignments included serving as the 10th commander, United States Central Command; US Central Command, and as commanding general, Multi-National Force-Iraq. As commander of MNF-I, Petraeus oversaw all coalition forces in Iraq.

The resignation comes as a shock to some Filipinos, in view of the fact that sexual liaisons among Philippine government officials have not resulted in their resignations or firing from office. In our culture, we smile at the number of children bred out of wedlock by senators and congressmen, we turn a blind eye and deaf ears to bigamous relationships, and glamorize mistresses.

Googling on the Internet reveals the cruel hands of United States legislators and the media on pressuring public servants to resign after discovering their sexual relationships other than their legal spouses. The most infamous of cases was that of American president Bill Clinton who was impeached by the House, but acquitted by the Senate by 10 votes in 1998, for his sexual relations with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.

Just to mention a sprinkling of scandals, Republican Representative Newt Gingrich resigned from the House after admitting in 1998 to having had an affair with his intern while he was married to his second wife, and at the same time he was leading the impeachment of Bill Clinton for perjury regarding an affair with his intern Monica Lewinsky.

Republican Representative Robert Livingston called for the resignation of Bill Clinton and when his own extramarital affairs were leaked, his wife urged him to resign and urge Clinton to do likewise.

Republican Jack Ryan dropped out of the Illinois Senate race after his wife, Jeri Lynn Ryan of Star Trek fame, filed divorce papers alleging he had taken her to “bizarre clubs” and asked her to have sex in front of other people. Ryan’s Democratic opponent, Barack Obama, easily won the Illinois seat.

Nearly two years after acknowledging an affair with a former campaign staffer, Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) resigned amid a Senate ethics probe.

*      *      *

Vice-President Jejomar Binay has been quoted as saying he does not believe in prohibiting dynasties. “Why should there be a law to prohibit someone who is qualified [from running] when the people want him [elected]? The real spirit of democracy is the will of the people — vox populi,” he told reporters during his birthday celebration recently.

The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), which Binay leads, is fielding his daughter Nancy in next year’s midterm Senate race. Binay’s wife, Elenita, served as mayor of Makati City after his term expired and the current mayor is his son. His daughter Abigail is a congresswoman.

“Let us uphold and not frustrate the will of our countrymen,” he said. “I repeat, if the candidates are honorable and the elections are clean, anybody can run. If they ban dynasties, what next, prohibit the non-influential and the uneducated from becoming candidates? Everybody should have equal opportunity.”

Binay said what gives political dynasties a bad image is the use of violence and overspending just to ensure that a family member is elected to office.

*      *      *

My column on political dynasties drew a number of comments from readers. For brevity, I am printing portions of their e-mailed messages.

One is from a “disgusted” American married to a Filipina and residing in Subic. He writes, “As an American citizen, I am both appalled and amazed at the way the politicians in this country shove their dishonest protocol down the people’s throats. It reminds me of the blatant attitude of the previous administration and their antics. 

 

 

“These politicians are the blight of this country. Not only are they keeping this country down but they are training their offspring in their ways of keeping it down and in their pockets. It is a continuous assembly line producing inferior products.

“What I am suggesting as a powerful tool against political dynasties is a published “Political Family Tree” consisting of all members of both the Senate and Congress. This would be in a graphic tree form that would start at the top of the tree and show their names along with their position titles. The branches would show all their relatives and their positions along with those who are presently running in the upcoming elections. This would really knock the socks off of the voters. 

“Note: The attendance records of both the Senate and Congress might be included and would raise some eyebrows and influence more intelligent voting. A certain boxing “hero” comes to mind on this issue and the start of another dynasty.

“This graphic tree would give the common voter a better idea of who the king pins are just by counting the relatives on the branches. This would be a simplistic way for them to make sane decisions in their voting rather than the usual name identification voting of the present dynasties, instead of the real worthwhile candidates trying to set their roots.”

* * *

I’m flattered that the nationally famous writer Jimmy Abad wrote: “I’m very glad over your column on ‘Putting an End to Political Dynasties.’ Writes Jimmy: “ I’m not sure there’s such a ‘Congressional Reform Act of 2013’ — maybe it’s just one more expression of a dream or ideal for our society. It has, it seems, gone “viral.

* * *

Clem D. Ruiz of Paranaque does have a program for a “Congressional Reform Act of 2013. “ 1) There should be no pork barrel. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. Envisioned citizen legislators should serve their term(s) then go home and back to work. 2) Just like the President, senators and congressmen should be elected to a six year term, with no reelection.”

* * *

I received several emails reacting to my column Tuesday on former Senator and Philippine National Red Cross Chairman Dick Gordon’s proposed measures to address the “alarmingly high incidence of crimes” committed by motorcycle users. Below are capsulized messages.

From Howard Mckay:

“A serious criminal will not be deterred by a requirement for bigger number plates or numbers on his helmet. He will probably steal a bike and paint the number on a cheap helmet, or even steal one. He might even put a ‘lost plate’ sign on the bike.         

“As for the plates, it took me seven months to get a single plate for a bike I imported. You have some ‘fat chance’ of getting this government to produce millions of new plates that would be required.          

“As for helmets, I have eight bikes. I would need eight helmets. That is ridiculous. Also, a factor always overlooked, is that modern helmets preclude painting on the grounds that the chemicals will weaken the protective properties of the shell.          

“How about some proper training and a proper test for motorcyclists? You should see how hard it is to get a bike license in the UK, or even nearby Hong Kong. It takes months and you have to attend an approved motorcycle training school and spend many hours riding under the supervision of a licensed instructor. Here in the Philippines, as you know, you can get a license without even having sat on a motorbike.’’

* * *

My e-mail:[email protected]

vuukle comment

BILL CLINTON

BINAY

CONGRESSIONAL REFORM ACT

EMSP

MONICA LEWINSKY

PETRAEUS

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