“My God, who doesn’t have a girlfriend these days!” exclaimed the erstwhile-married congressman, currently embroiled in a very public controversy pitting not just himself against another philandering congressman and former friend, but their respective girlfriends.
Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the finest specimen of Filipino masculinity, the man who can do whatever he wants with impunity: shoot, kill, steal, curse, plunder, take a mistress or five, sire a multitude of children, without really giving a hoot about the consequences of his actions might have on the fabric of his family, if not society at large, how they shape and perpetuate prevailing attitudes that are dangerously outdated, not to mention insidiously demeaning to women, yet accepted as completely normal.
When, in the early days of his scandal-ridden presidency, Joseph Estrada’s latest paramour—a flight attendant, I believe—was revealed, I recall reading in the papers how the young woman’s friends and even parents had encouraged the liaison, believing that her being the nth mistress of a powerful, albeit morally dubious, man would elevate her social status and guarantee her and subsequent children from the relationship a measure of financial security.
One could argue that a certain opportunism is necessary, even smart, in order to break through the lack of social mobility that still exists (perhaps to a lesser degree these days) in our society. But what about the much-vaunted Filipino values, which, based on the comportment of the current president and his band of sycophants and enablers, appear to be rooted in myth more than in reality? Those values are constantly being eroded and subverted every day, which makes one wonder if they ever really existed.
What exists, however, is the continued sense of entitlement that men in the country enjoy, and the complicit participation of women. Congressman Alvarez dismisses the fact that he is cohabiting with a girlfriend while still legally married to his wife in a country that does not allow divorce, saying it’s not grounds for disbarment, and carries on in the House of Representatives like it’s no big deal. Senator Leila de Lima—whether you like her or loathe her—sleeps with her driver and she is publicly shamed, branded a woman of questionable morals, whose sexual history becomes fair game and fodder for all who devour scandal with finger-licking delight like it was salted egg potato chips.
Alvarez willPost too long. Click here to view the full text.