MANILA, Philippines — Thieves cannot be lawmakers.
Otso Diretso senatorial candidate Romulo Macalintal clarified on Tuesday that he was not discounting the ability of movie actors to become capable lawmakers, but what he was saying was that those who have stolen from public coffers do not have the right to run for public office.
“Mr. Jinggoy, hindi ko tinatawaran ang kakayahan ng mga artista. Iginagalang ko iyan […] Ang aking sinasabi ay hindi karapat-dapat tumakbo sa Senado o manungkulan sa anumang departmento ng pamahalaan ang isang magnanakaw,” the election lawyer said in a statement.
(Mr. Jinggoy, I am not belittling the ability of movie actors. I respect that. What I am saying is that thieves should not run for senator or serve in any government department.)
“Sinuman na magnanakaw sa ating pamahalaan, sa anumang departamento ng ating pamahalaan, hindi dapat tinatangkilik ng taumbayan (Whoever steals from government coffers in any department should not be supported by the people in elections),” he added.
The opposition senatorial candidate, who vows to champion the welfare and rights of senior citizens and persons with disabilities, mentioned Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and Mayor Richard Gomez as among the celebrities who performed well as public servants.
Macalintal’s statement came in the wake of former Senator Jinggoy Estrada’s claim that an actor-politician like him has filed more bills than the “yellow” senators, obviously referring to members of the once-ruling Liberal Party.
“Sabi nila, bakit raw boboto ng artista? Bakit hindi? Nakita naman niyo, ang inyong lingkod, nakapag-file ng anim na daang panukalang batas, ” Estrada said at the Hugpong ng Pagbabago’s (HNP) campaign sortie in Vigan City on Monday.
(They were asking why would they vote for an actor? Why not? You’ve seen for yourself, I’ve filed 600 bills.)
The senator who was accused of plunder added: “Oh ngayon tignan natin ‘yung track record nung ibang mayayabang na dilaw dyan. Ilang batas ang pinasa nila? Wala pa yatang singkwenta. Tapos sasabihin nila walang karapatan ang mga artista na manilbihan bilang isang Senador ng ating bansa.”
(Let’s see the track record of the arrogant ‘yellows.’ How many bills have they passed? Maybe not even 50. Then they’ll say that actors don’t have any right to become a senator of this country.)
During a campaign sortie in Iligan City last Feb. 13, Macalintal admitted that they are not famous because they have no record of stealing.
“Ang sabi nila kami raw ay hindi kilala. Hindi nga kami kilala dahil Otso Diretso hindi kilalang magnanakaw (They said we are not famous. But we are not famous because the Otso Diretso bets are not thieves,” he said. /ee