THERE seem peculiar similarities between the Olympians—the 12 major gods who lived on Mt. Olympus and ruled the world—and the Senate of the Philippines. In Greek Mythology, human fate depended on the whim of the gods. When there was turmoil among them, one should expect nothing good. In her book, Mythology, scholar Edith Hamilton said the gods were the reverse of human benevolence for the most part.

A celebrated rivalry within the Olympians was between Zeus, the supreme overlord, and his brother Poseidon, the proud ruler of the seas. Their sibling rivalry was often rooted on the desire to usurp each other’s status and power. Another was between opposing gods Athena and Ares who were both deities of war.

Imagine the thunderstorms, tsunamis and earthquakes brought upon humans caught between the fighting and despite all of these, who regularly have to give taxes—or rather offerings—to the gods!

Though not as majestic in proportion, the Philippines also has her own version of Olympians. It is not hard to see the hot-headed Zeus in Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, and, likewise, Poseidon in Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano.

The two senators’ long-running bickering and debate, rooted from God knows what, have gone beyond logic and reason. They now dig up personal dirt to throw against each other.

Cayetano criticized Enrile’s treatment of the minority and got personal, criticizing Enrile and his former chief of staff, Gigi Reyes, for their alleged close ties with former president Gloria Arroyo and the Tingas, his wife Lani’s political rivals in Taguig. Enrile, on the other hand, went as far as to disclose a P37-million debt allegedly incurred many years ago by Cayetano’s late father, senator Rene Cayetano, who died in 2003.

'FYU-JON' of hospitality and design

Meanwhile, two other senators—Miriam Defensor Santiago and Panfilo Lacson—are in the verge of pulling each other’s hair off. Lately, Santiago has insinuated that Lacson was a homosexual following threats of incriminating evidence, according to Inquirer. Even Athena and Ares would laugh at the juvenility of these two.

Although the drama has its entertainment value, the lawmakers’ constituents are the ones who suffer the most in the end. People don’t pay taxes to watch television and see their elected senators throwing dirt at each other. It’s more entertaining to see Zeus and Poseidon hurl thunderbolts and waves at each other, or Athena and Ares cross spears, than adults act like children—and worse, one of them is already 88 years old.

But what do you expect, really? The upper chamber is composed mainly of either movie stars or descendants of political dynasties. As midterm election approaches, Jack Ponce Enrile—son of the Senate president—and JV Ejercito, the brother of Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, are running for the same position as their kins’. Outgoing senators Manny Villar and Edgardo Angara will try to have their wife and son, respectively—Cynthia Villar and Juan Edgardo Angara—take over their “legacies.” Cayetano will run again to retain his post, together with his sister Pia Cayetano, who’s also in the Senate! Meanwhile, callow Paulo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV tries his best to look like his grandfather in an attempt to deceive people into thinking his abilities are parallel to the late Benigno Aquino, Jr.

It is quite alarming that quite a number of our top leaders—and those seeking high positions—unabashedly violate simple rules. Article II Sec. 26 of the 1987 Constitution prohibits political dynasties as “the State shall guarantee equal access to opportunites for public service.” But the provision against dynasties is not self-enabling; it can only be activated by legislation, which of course our lawmakers wouldn’t bother.

Benipayo urges moral renewal

In short, our lawmakers and politicians make a mockery of democracy to which they owe their power to. This reflects the dynamics of Philippine politics and explains why there are Zeuses, Poseidons and petty gods in the Senate. The country needs competent leaders who would set a good example to their constituents. In contrast, what Enrile, Cayetano and other lawmakers are petty and a debasement of democracy.

People should be critical how their vote come May 2013. No one wants malevolent Olympian gods for leaders. Let myths remain myths.


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