Lately there has been much talk about GMA’s lavish and extravagant dinner at a New York French restaurant – Le Cirque. It was reported in a New York Post article and it had raised the indignations of several people – some even part of the US trip delegation. Although the Palace downplays the lavish dinner by saying that a congressman footed the bill, the fact still remained that the Presidential entourage consumed an almost Php 1M dinner and it attracted international attention.
I have no problems with GMA dining in some fancy French restaurant like Le Cirque. For all I care, she has every right in the world to enjoy the luxuries the world can offer her. What I do not like about what she did was that it was blatantly done in the eyes of international media – like as if she wanted the world to know she can dine in such a fine restaurant. For a president of a third world country, that is unacceptable. She represents a country where majority of the population cannot even afford a decent meal 3x a day; where a large percentage of the population goes hungry day in day out. How can she take it in her conscience to make such a blatant announcement to the world (by her actions) that she, a president is no less than an elite in the country, and is able to wine and dine in style and luxury despite the obvious throes of the country.
I’m led to remember my previous adoration of the communist and socialist way of living. Or maybe it was just the ideal that I really liked. The thought that everyone received resources fair and square was a comforting thought – no one would be too rich or too poor. But then history and the recent book I’ve read (The Commissar’s Report by Martyn Burke) made me realize that the ideal never really becomes the real. The idea of communism or socialism – which is basically equality – will never be realized because the people in this world are too greedy and to self-absorbed. No one or a very few percentage of the population are really self-less enough to give up their own self-comforts for the sake of the underprivileged majority. If we look at society, even those who do charity are still living life in luxury. There could never really be equality in this world.
Yet still given that reality, I don’t think that what GMA did was excusable. Again she made a blunder during her regime that has brought shame to this country. Again she needs to make another apology to the nation – if the country can forgive her, or if the country even cares enough for her apologies. She should have known that being President made her vulnerable to the prying eyes of the public and being in a foreign land made her a feistier target for reporters – here and abroad. She should have learned to behave herself.
It didn’t matter whether it was the taxpayer’s money that was used to pay for the bill, which probably was even if it was a congressman who paid for it, what mattered was that they were representing a country struggling with issues of food and starvation and there they were – enjoying a sumptuous meal that could feed thousands in their native country. What does that implicate of our politicians – supposedly public servants?