Actor Leo Martinez recently gave some scathing remarks about other actors running for politics in the elections in an interview on 24 Oras. Although I personally disapprove of some people running (such as Manny Pacquiao), I don't think we can say that actors or other "popular" people shouldn't run because they are actors. First of all, it is their right to run, ill-advised or not. And secondly, you should judge each candidate on a case by case basis. I think Mr. Martinez is belittling Filipino entertainers by generalizing that all of them are not qualified to run -- it's almost ironic that he said it being an actor himself. So if actors are so stupid, why should we listen to him? Also, it's like saying Pedro the head of the jeepney driver's association of Malabon cannot run for mayor simply because he is a high school dropout. Perhaps he didn't finish high school because he had no money -- but that doesn't mean that he is not a good leader. What makes one qualified for office anyway? An education? And as Mr. Martinez suggested, management education? I think he has forgotten that the smartest and most educated Filipinos ran the country to the ground over the past 50 years. What we need are individuals, actors or not, who will put the needs of their constituents first before personal ambition. I would rank that first before any Yale degree any day.
The problem with Philippine elections is not the candidates per se, but cheating. If the Philippines had a more secure electoral process, then Gloria Arroyo wouldn't have been elected. Mr. Martinez is misguided by raising the alarm about entertainers in politics. An overwhelming majority of the traditional politicians in the country are not actors. He should be more worried about those guys who cheat their way into office year after year, than Richard Gomez becoming Senator.