Corruption for real and reel | Inquirer News

Corruption for real and reel

/ 06:42 AM February 24, 2012

In a news story, actor Leo Martinez summed up his decision to continue portraying a corrupt congressman in film and TV with the quip “my role as a corrupt congressman has no term limit.”

Martinez, a director of the Film Academy of the Philippines, is perhaps in the best position to rebut a recent House resolution filed by one congressman telling the film and TV industry to stop portraying legislators as corrupt.

In justifying his portrayal of corrupt congressmen, Martinez, who earned fame by portraying Congressman Manhik Manaog in the defunct program “Mongolian Barbecue,” said he also portrayed corrupt governors, judges and senators.


“Art mirrors life,” he said. House Resolution 2140 was filed by Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. to urge the local movie and TV industry to minimize, prevent or stop typecasting lawmakers as corrupt and committing crimes.


The congressman apparently was smart enough not to file his proposal as a bill knowing that it would draw fire not only from the media industry but also the public, who know a thing or two about what their congressmen are doing behind closed doors.

Gonzales doesn’t have to look far for examples. His neighbor in the province, former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, is under hospital arrest facing charges of plunder and electoral sabotage.

Interesting that the bill came at a time when the Senate impeachment trial is ongoing, when some congressmen are prosecuting a Chief Justice accused of betrayal of public trust and corruption.

A corrupt judge was what the late actor and former presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. fought against in three memorable films: “Kapag Puno na ang Salop,” “Ako ang Huhusga” and “Hindi Ka na Sisikatan ng Araw.”

The judge, as acted out by Eddie Garcia, epitomized what Filipinos see in some, not all, public officials; that they are corrupt and crooked as the criminals they are trying to prosecute.

That impression has never gone away even with the “tuwid na daan (straight path)” administration of President Aquino III.


It is precisely this mind-set that this current administration is saying that it is trying to change through an anti-graft campaign, highlights of which include the ongoing impeachment trial and the prosecution of Arroyo.

The burden of erasing the stereotype of crooked lawmakers lies in congressmen themselves.

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They have no business telling the media industry how they should be portrayed before the public.

TAGS: corruption

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