Telltale Signs: Damaged Culture Breeds Idiots

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Philippines Vice-Presidential candidate Jojo Binay.

Barely 10 days before the May 2010 Philippine presidential elections, vice-presidential candidate Jojo Binay found himself 9 points behind in the polls to front-runner Mar Roxas when photos of him cavorting in Australia with his mistress surfaced in the Internet. Binay readily admitted the extramarital affair to the press offering the excuse that he was “just a human being capable of committing mistakes”. Binay went on to win the vice-presidency.

Having an extramarital affair can prove politically fatal in the United States as former U.S. Sen. John Edwards learned after the National Enquirer exposed his dalliance with filmmaker Rielle Hunter, with whom he fathered a child. Edwards was forced to withdraw from the 2008 race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In the damaged culture universe of the Philippines, however, such indiscretions are considered normal. Despite widespread public knowledge of his philandering ways, former Pres. Joseph “Erap” Estrada still placed second to Noynoy Aquino in the 2010 presidential elections. His official Wikipedia biography even lists his children with Dr. Luisa “Loi” Pimentel, Guia Gomez, Laarni Enriquez, and Joy Rowena.

Erap is not the only philanderer in show business. In her Philippine Star column this past week (“Cuckoo Clans”), Yoly Villanueva-Ong wrote that Dolphy (Rodolfo V. Quizon), the King of Comedy, has 18 children with six different women. Dolphy’s autobiography confirms that he has 6 children with Engracia Dominguez; 4 with Gloria Smith; 4 with Pamela Ponti; 1 with Evangeline Tugalao; and 1 with Alma Moreno.

But there is a dark side to having “mass-produced” children with multiple partners.

As Villanueva-Ong wrote about funnyman Dolphy, “nobody thought it was funny when one of (Dolphy’s children) burned down the home of a showbiz mogul, setting ablaze the wife and children. Another son was in drug rehab, a younger one was involved in an accident that got his girlfriend killed. Recently, a grandson was charged with attempted murder.”

Myrna Lim

San Francisco neighborhood activist and cable TV host Myrna Lim, who almost became the first Fil-Am to be elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors when she narrowly lost to Gerardo Sandoval in 2004, is well aware of this dark side because a Dolphy son was involved in the murder of her older sister, Mila, more than 30 years ago.

Myrna recounts that in 1980, her sister was involved in a loving relationship with Dolphy’s daughter, Sally Quizon. At the time, Mila was leasing the Granada movie theater in the city’s Excelsior district and showing Dolphy movies when one day, thieves barged in to the theater and held up the moviegoers. “As they were leaving”, Myrna said, “one of them shot my sister Mila who was just standing by the concessions”.

San Francisco’s famed detective team of Earl Sanders (later S.F. police chief) and Napoleon Hendrix tracked down and arrested the two Filipino killers who then confessed that the robbery was a ruse whose main purpose was to kill Mila. The killers pointed to Freddy Quizon, Sally’s older brother, as the man who hired them to kill Mila and who even participated in the robbery. Before an arrest warrant could be issued for him, Freddy Quizon fled to the Philippines.

Another of Dolphy’s sons, Dolphy, Jr. was convicted of arson in a fire which claimed the lives of six persons, including the children of former actress Mina Aragon. Dolphy, Jr. was sentenced to life imprisonment but was later pardoned by former President Joseph Estrada, Dolphy’s close friend.

Next week marks the second anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre which was perpetrated by the clan of Gov. Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr, who officially has four wives and over 30 children. Two of his sons, Andal, Jr. and Datu Unsay, are charged with presiding over the brutal killing and rape of over 56 people including 31 members of the Philippine media, on November 22, 2009.

The latest crime involving “mass-produced” children was the October 28 killing of Ramgen Bautista, also known as Ram Revilla, reportedly upon the orders of his own younger brother, RJ, and sister, Mara (who fled to Turkey). They are three of the 81 children of former Sen. Ramon Revilla, Sr., who regularly invites all of his children to his annual birthday party to make certain that they all know each other to prevent a romantic relationship among them that, he fears, may produce idiots.

What moral values are imparted to the 81 children attending his birthday party?

Incest is bad, infidelity is not. Neither is not participating in the raising of your children as long as you regularly give them money, like the 1 million pesos a month Revilla gives to each of the 16 families he maintains.

They also learn that the Catholic Church will readily look the other way if a politician opposes the Reproductive Health (RH) bill. In fact, Ramon Revilla Sr. may well be the perfect poster model for the biblical instruction “Go forth and multiply” most favored by the celibate bishops.

In her column, Yoly Villanueva-Ong wrote that “it is hard enough to raise good children with a complete set of parents. But without a watchful mother and father, what are the odds that mass-produced kids will ever reach their full potential? Patriarchs who use their descendants like trophies that attest to their manhood better rethink their legacy while they still can…Nothing makes up for the missing guidance that parenting requires.”
“Children who grow up untended like mushrooms are likely to repeat the cycle of broken and dysfunctional family life,” she warned. Some of these untended mushrooms may even grow up to commit grisly crimes.

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