Thursday, August 20, 2009


Reading recently an old magazine featuring former French President Francois Mitterand, with pictures of him and his illegitimate daughter named Mazarine who was then about 20 years old. Indeed, unlike the British who delight in reporting on the peccadilloes of their royals, the French have always kept mum about the hanky-panky of their top officials. Under French law, it is illegal to publish photographs without the permission of the subject especially if he or she is a public figure.

The reports from Paris about the Mitterand lass who had been kept from the public eye would have surely tittilated local circles, where dangerous liaisons of public figures are staple fare each and every day of the week. Pinoys love to brag that in this country, the public official and business tycoon who does not have backstreet affairs are the exception. They will tell observers that Filipino voters support candidates with fascinating reputations for their machismo. Joseph Estrada was the perfect example. The more he flaunted his extra-marital affairs and his illegitimate children, the more votes he obtained. It was certainly wrong and immoral, but it delivered for him what he needed from the citizenry.

For Pinoys certainly love to relate how their leaders, from Jose Rizal to Jose Pidal, are famous lovers. Pinoys will even argue that this is the reason why some men are great leaders. While the nation awaits Erap's "announcement," will he again flaunt his paramours to the delight of the masa, or will he be a "proper presidentiable" this time around and get down to serious business of governance? It's now a waiting game.

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