PLS patronize pirated DVD's so that the Filipino movie industry will die & we will no longer have actors, actresses, nor their spouses running for public office. Pls pass.
It's stupid because it gets the argument backwards. Actors are running in droves for public office precisely because the movie industry that once nurtured them and gave them a semblance of a profession (or a "career," as they are wont to call it) is now dying, if not dead. Stomping on it when it's down, grinding it to dust, would only spur the remaining denizens of this once-proud community to crawl out of the woodwork and use the only edge they have over professional politicians--their popularity--to grab every available grubby seat in government and turn our politics into one big movie studio.
I have no love lost for movie stars becoming politicians, but the solution to keep them from jumping into the political arena is to lure them back into the movies, and that means resuscitating the business side of the industry that undergirded the making of those flicks. Recall that during the golden years of Philippine movies, when various local studios were producing some 300 titles a year, actors in politics were the exception, not the norm. But of course. Work was plentiful for them in front of the cameras, there was enough gravy to go around in the insular, rarefied world they inhabited, so why bother with the much seamier undertaking of politics?
It was only with the industry's gradual decline beginning in the 1990s that the distressing spectacle of actors crossing over to public governance became, first a trend, then a stampede. Movies were becoming scarce, the old monolithic studios had broken up and were being replaced by TV networks, audience attendance was falling, the old cinematic formulas weren't working anymore. Many actors found themselves jobless, or at least wracked with insecurity at the prospect of becoming one. However, they did have one thing that every politician and his grasping cousin would kill to have: name recall, sometimes even after many years of having been inactive in showbiz.
Joseph Estrada showed them the way. This actor had spent many years as mayor of a small if wealthy suburb--an anomaly, in fact, at a time when actors in politics were a tiny number. When he ran for senator, his best years in the business were far behind him. Yet for a has-been, he was a smashing success at the polls, eventually becoming Vice President and finally President. Proof that name recall, built from heroic celluloid images that lit every movie theater of the archipelago, guaranteed a good showing at the polls--what political hacks would soon term "winnability."
With no discernible future in showbiz, what are actors to do but think they can cash their "winnable" popularity in the form of a public title? Of course the reality is much more nuanced than this: Quite a number of stars have imploded at the polls--kamusta na, Phillip Salvador and Rudy Fernandez?--which goes to show that name recall alone is no good when it's up against, say, politicians with more money, machinery and a taste for ruthlessness--or with a flair for acting more "showbiz" than the real movie star.
But let not these actors kid us and themselves. Boo to anyone who says he or she is running for office "to serve the people." Up yours! You wanna serve, then ditch your comfortable digs and be a social worker. Otherwise, don't blame us for thinking that you're declaring yourself fit for mayor or congressman only because showbiz hasn't been that rewarding for you these days.
The bigger sin for me lies not in these actors, but in the politicians who have bought in on the trick for their own self-serving reasons. When the Current Occupant (thank you for the term, Garrison Keillor) practically pees in her pants running after the likes of Cesar Montano to join her senatorial ticket, who do you damn, Mr. Montano or his patron who's supposed to know better? Who's the more insidious character in this sorry set-up?
Dolphy, true to his stature as one of the last great links of the film industry to its once-mighty past, seems to be among the very few sensible showbiz lights left, given his avowed refusal to join the celebrity horde invading government. A class act. But then, he can live off the millions he's made from his iconic longevity. Not everyone in show business is as savvy or sensible, or with prospects for a long-haul career, especially now.
Revive the comatose Philippine movie industry, make it a viable business again where everyone is busy-happy-half-drunk just as in the old days, and more of Dolphy's distracted co-workers (not all) will wake up from their political delusions and resume being the pampered, adored artista that they all love to be. (Take your pick: Richard Gomez onscreen, or on the Senate floor?) Until such time, bored movie stars trooping to the Comelec, attended by their tongue-flicking political Svengalis, will be a sight every election season--and God help us all.