Books and Movies Reviews

There Ought to be a Law

THERE was an interesting article in our Metro section last week. That was the one that said movie fans might no longer see Vilma Santos and Lito Lapid on the silver screen. Not unless they want to give up being mayor of Lipa City and governor of Pampanga province, respectively. Apparently, there’s a provision in the Local Government Code that says mayors and governors “are prohibited from practicing their profession or engaging in any occupation other than the exercise of their functions as local chief executives.”
But for this to happen, the group that has raised this issue mustfirst win its case in court. Happily, that group, the Social Justice Society, is composed mostly of lawyers. They have cited Joey Lina as respondent for allowing Santos and Lapid to appear in movies.
I’m rooting for them. I’ve been arguing this for a long time now, and for all categories of public officials.
The usual justification for senators in particular — the Senate now having the dubious distinction of harboring the biggest number of fugitives from the silver screen, the hard court and television — is that there is no law against it. Well, at the very least, there is no law against people defecating in public too. Or at least there is no law specifically citing it, though there’s one reproaching, and penalizing, scandalous behavior. There is no (explicit) law against it because none is needed. It is common sense. You do not normally expect anyone to relieve himself gleefully, or disconsolately, against the wall.
As it turns out, however, there is a law against public officials doing sidelines. If there’s a prescription against local government officials reverting to their previous roles, in more ways than one, there should be one as well against national officials doing so. The principle applies equally, if not more so, to them. The principle applies as well to senators and congressmen who continue to host shows on television or do c


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