Two major sex scandals have dominated the headlines around the world the past few weeks. The first one involves resigned International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss Kahn (who was charged of sexually assaulting a chambermaid in a New York hotel), while the other one involves former California governor and Hollywood superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger, who admitted having a 14-year-old lovechild with his family’s former housekeeper.
The parallelisms are obvious: both cheated on their wives, and because of it, their once-promising futures are now in limbo. DSK, for instance, is said to be a leading challenger to Nicolas Sarkozy in next year’s presidential elections in France. Schwarzenegger’s bid to revive his movie career (and to remain as a political figure), on the other hand, received a serious blow. Just a few years ago, some Americans are even suggesting amending the US constitution to allow the Austrian-born former bodybuilder to run for resident! It seems like Westerners have a low tolerance for politicians involved in sex scandals – quite the opposite from the reality here in the Philippines.
Being exposed to the Filipino public as a wife cheater does not end most of the time one’s political career. Let’s think of Filipino politicians with illegitimate children. We have the likes of Ferdinand Marcos, Bong Revilla, and even Manny Pacquiao. And who can forget the late Fernando Poe Jr.’s admission of having lovechildren during a 2004 interview at the height of his presidential campaign? Public servants are supposed to observe high moral standards in their lives, as far as Republic Act ___ is concerned. But that ends there. The reality is that we Filipinos are too permissive when it comes to cheating husbands.
How many times have we heard the justification “normal lang sa lalake ang mambabae” (“It is normal for men to try different women”)? In fact, in a macho society like ours, having mistresses and lovechildren is sometimes treated like a badge of honor. This is crazy. If men can manage to stay control and be on top (no pun intended!) of everything, why can’t they control their sexual urges? Lest I forget, this writer is a man who believes in gender fairness.
We have a skewed sense of morality. Our bishops condemn the giving condoms to the public and teaching of sex education for high schools, but they can’t speak out against womanizing politicians. If all of them can be booted out of public office, we’ll probably lose half of our elected officials.