The Commission on Audit released its finding that in a span of 10 years, the National Food Authority has lost more than P100 billion from huge rice imports and the policy of buying high, selling low and storing long.
Did a lot of people take note of any of these and other developments in President Aquino’s administration, including the reforms in a corrupted Armed Forces? Not. Most likely, not as many as those who read – and remembered – that Aquino had a beautiful date at the Hotdog reunion concert, and who, the day after, learned who the date was.
There’s nothing unique or odd about people’s curiosity about the love life of the country’s first bachelor President, who is 51 years old. Romance is the best escape, yours or somebody else’s. Who isn’t a sucker for a great love story? We all stopped to watch the William-Kate wedding, didn’t we?
However, Aquino doesn’t relish the fishbowl existence, especially when it comes to his love life. (In fact, who in his/her right mind does?) That’s his oft-repeated sentiment by now, which many people accept and respect, and still more don’t quite understand. (If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen, they say, or something to that effect.)
It is truly tragic if the message getting across to the people is about Aquino’s love life, not what his administration is doing.
At 51, president or not, Aquino is set in his simple ways and wants—he loves listening to his music collection, he loves dining out, he loves long drives. His predecessors must have had grander, if not more notorious, desires and urges, so if the people and media cut them some slack as they pursued these, why not give Aquino the same elbow room for his private time? After all, to begin with, he doesn’t have private time in the true sense of the word.
In fact, we believe, what Aquino feels strongly about is not only his loss of privacy, but that of his date, as well. He’s always said he feels sympathy for the woman who, overnight, loses her privacy and is stalked by media day and night. “Kawawa talaga,” he would say.
He’s often said that it’s nearly impossible to develop a relationship – or even get to know a woman – in the center of this media circus. How can he even have a love life, in the first place, at the rate things are going?
Another way of putting it: How can media report on the presidential love life when there’s none developing to begin with, when the President could barely get a (personal) life going?
Is media going overboard where coverage of Aquino’s love life is concerned? (Okay, look who’s talking…) Just how nosey should the nosey media and the people be?
To answer this, we took a random poll, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the nosiest. Here’s what people say.
We polled 84 respondents, six of whom did not assign a number, and several of whom said “zero,” even if it wasn’t on the suggested scale. The most common response was 1, with 17 responses, followed by a safe 5, with 13 responses.
The average when computed: 4.3 – on the average, the people we polled would like to keep out of P-Noy’s love life. Looks like we may not be as nosey as we think.
1—Only because he has expressed his desire to keep his love life private.—Franco Sarmiento, lawyer
7—Since P-Noy is still in the dating stage, I find it unfair for his date to be on the front page of a newspaper, especially if that woman is a lady and not a public personality. It becomes a different matter if he is in an exclusive relationship, where I think a nosey 7 should suffice—just enough to get to know a potential First Lady and focus more on pressing issues.—Lulu Ledesma, writer
10—Matters of his heart are also matters of the state. Who he loves can affect the entire nation.—Bevs Dalton, writer
3—He deserves his privacy, we shouldn’t condone nor encourage being nosey and frankly, it’s none of our business!—Chickee Banzon, wife and mom
0!—Ces Guerrero, makeup artist
3—Only report it if he’s dating someone who is cause for conflict of interest.—Miguel Nacianceno, photographer
10—Because I’m so tsismosa and I want to know if his love life is interfering with our nation’s affairs.—Dadang Desiderio-Tesoro, teacher
6—I think he is entitled to some privacy, but at the same time he’s a public figure, so the media is also entitled to ask questions!—Angel Constantino, editor
5—I personally don’t think they should be so nosey, because he deserves some privacy. —Mitzi Parungao, entrepreneur
10—When he became President, everything about him became public, as well. Kung si GMA before, hindi nakaligtas si FG and her kids. More so with a single guy, his sisters nga walang ligtas, siya pa.—Ge Joson, professor
4—The President himself may not inspire much confidence, but his office demands dignity and respect. The word here is discretion. Or better yet, P-Noy should stop this juvenile dating merry-go-round and concentrate instead on working for the good of the nation.—Jing Lejano, writer
7—Just enough to know bits and pieces, but since he is president , he doesn’t have a choice.—Pat Dy, photographer
5—I mean, he is the President, so the public does have the right to know—to some extent—who is getting into the presidential bedroom, so to speak, but he is also entitled to some privacy, which is a basic right.—Kristine L. de Castro, school administrator
1—They should leave that alone unless it’s obvious that it’s affecting his work. Otherwise it’s nobody’s business, I think.—Kat von Einsiedel, editor
1 or even 0—It’s his private life; let’s give it to him. What media should do is check what he does and does not do as the country’s president. Maybe when he’s engaged and getting married, that’s the time media can cover.—Ruby Gan, co-owner of Myth and Schu boutiques.
8—Coming from the saying “behind every great man is a woman,” one can’t help but be curious (and anxious) as to whom the president of the country is dating. A woman’s influence on a man cannot be overly underscored.—Edwin Tan, designer
3—I think there are more important things than his love life or who he is dating.—Dix Perez, photographer
7—I think the media has every right to be nosey, but it’s up to P-Noy whether or not he wants to answer. Personally, I don’t care! Haha.—Chinggay Labrador, writer
To be honest, I’m not interested in his love life. I’d be more interested in who he was dating if he was an amazing president.—Pee Roxas, writer
0—We elected a President, and not a celebrity. I don’t think we should be privy to his personal affairs. Now, if he decides to get married, I’ll give him a huge discount!—James Reyes, fashion designer
P-Noy should appreciate that when he ran for president and won, his private life became a public concern—his health, smoking habit, love for fast cars, closeness to his school buddies, his love life and dates—whether or not it has a direct bearing on the performance of his duties, is now open to public scrutiny by the media and the public. We cannot put it on a scale of 1 to 10—there must be no prior restraint nor censorship. The limit, however, must be what the law prohibits under our libel laws, i.e. no malicious intent, there must be justifiable motive, no public imputation of a crime or wrong-causing dishonor. Said the Supreme Court on a long line of cases, “public officials should not be onion-skinned!”—Lorna Kapunan, lawyer
8—Media should be nosey with P-Noy’s love life because he’s a public official, and we know that having a girlfriend can influence one’s thinking.—Raymond Villanueva, fashion director
5—Every thing should be done in moderation. It’s normal for reporters to talk about his love life, but no need to feature where he dates and other details anymore.—Judy Yu, vice president, Laneige Philippines, and VP-finance, Hyundai Elevator Services Phils.
8—Why not? He’s our mini royalty. Makes public office interesting. A bit of quick, fun news once in a while is good.—Sheree Gotuaco, owner of Ensembles, Freeway and Solo boutiques
1—Kawawa naman yung tao, kinakalbo na, wala pang syota. Malaki na sakripisyo ni Noy para sa bayan, huwag nang dagdagan.—Apa Ongpin, businessman
5—Because front pages should be reserved for more serious matters. But P-Noy should show more consideration for women, and not be a predator of young singles.—Anna Leah de Leon, writer and activist
1—With due respect to the President, I think we should all maintain a safe distance from his private affairs. After all, he is not a showbiz celebrity whose fame is for our amusement. We shouldn’t cross the line.—Barge Ramos, designer
0—None of our business. We should be more concerned about what he is doing for us and our country.—Vita Sarenas, owner, Finale Art File
4—His love life is not a matter of state, so he must be accorded some form of personal space and privacy. He is, after all, a bachelor. Some light news about it will do—unless, of course, he’s dating a power politician.—Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez, model and jewelry designer
Between 1 and 3—As long as P-Noy’s love life doesn’t interfere with his public life, then the press should keep a distance.—Wig Tysmans, photographer
2—That would be reasonable. But we are such suckers when it comes to chismis about love lives. Eh kung yung kay Prince William na hindi natin kaano-ano, sinundan natin, si P-Noy pa. But I wish media would cover more important stuff.—Ces Quesada, actress
8—As “headservant” of the country, we have a right to know who occupies his heart, other than the Filipino people. This person can influence and affect P-Noy’s decision-making. When laws are not implemented, I want to know what keeps him busy, who diverts his attention. Why not a 10, though? I’m giving him space to fall in love as a normal human being.—Candy Pangilinan, comedienne
2 to 3—I think that the President should be entitled to some privacy as it pertains to his love life. Unless there is a threat to national security or his work is adversely affected, what he does with his love life should really be none of our business.—Crickette Tantoco, marketing manager, Payless ShoeSource
5—If it affects national security or budget allocation, then I guess we can scrutinize all we want. But seriously, I think there are more important things we need to focus on (and he definitely has more things on his plate, as well) rather than fuss over whether or not he clicked with his date. Let’s leave the decoding of his love life and his potential paramours up to him.—Zo Aguila, editor in chief, Cosmopolitan Magazine
1—Filipinos in general are curious to a point that we become nosey. We love to read and watch how others live their lives. As media, you can be as nosey to the max but report only the truth. As citizens, I think 1, since love is something very personal. We need to give the President honest-to-goodness privacy.—Ronald Pineda, Folded & Hung CEO
2—Only as an FYI, not as a national pastime, please.—Marissa Andal-Zamora, bag designer and exporter
9—Whether the President likes it or not, his love life—who he dates, what he does in his personal time, how he conducts the affairs of his heart—reflects his values, priorities, state of mind, sense of judgment, level of maturity and capability to govern. He is no longer an ordinary citizen, and he is accountable to the people above all else. Media coverage of his personal life is a matter of national interest.—Paul Henson, journalist-TV executive producer
5—It’s none of their (or anyone else’s) business. Yes, they can write about other people’s love lives, based on what they see, but scooping too deep is very inappropriate and very personal.—Jackie Abueg, CSB fashion design student
1—Because love life is private, and relationships are a personal matter and should not affect public affairs—Anna Canlas, Preview Magazine editorial assistant
5—Putting a person’s relationship in the spotlight puts unnecessary pressure on the two people in question, in which case another would-be match bites the dust.—Eunice Lucero, Preview Magazine associate editor
5—If stars are able to exploit media for personal gain and PR, I think it’s only fair that the favor goes both ways.—Miguel Vazquez, preschool teacher
1—Because someone’s love life should be kept intimate. It’s a sacred thing! Pinoy media or the public should mind their own business and focus on their own love lives. My heart says 1, because it’s his personal life and none of our business. Even the President is entitled to his privacy. But then again, reality says 10, because the job of the press is to be nosey, especially in all aspects of the lives of public figures.—Jackie Aquino, fashion director
1—Please give the guy a break! His personal life shouldn’t be the center of attention. There are other issues that affect the general public, and those are the ones that merit some media mileage.— Jill Sandique, pastry chef, Delize
2—What P-Noy does with his personal life is his business. As long as he runs the country with heart, mind and soul we shouldn’t care what he does on his own time. However, I said 2 because some people need a break from the problems we hear and read about every day.—Marla Tañada, owner, Café Mediterranean
3—Even a public figure like the President should be awarded a fair amount of privacy vis-a-vis his love life. For as long as his romantic life does not interfere with the way he runs and represents the country, let’s cut him some slack. Bottom line is, we are all human beings on the same journey called life. There are so many things the media can focus on, like not being too nosey.—Joey Prats, chef, Symphony Sweets Gourmet Desserts
10—He is a public servant and figure. It truly is a matter of great or national interest how he conducts himself, who influences him and his decisions. Who the future First Lady will be is important because she will play an important role on how our country will be shaped. Case in point: Hillary Clinton, Mike Arroyo, Imelda Marcos. The first spouse holds a great deal of power to influence a leader of a country.—Miguel de Alba, Alba’s Restaurant
6—P-Noy’s love life is private, but because he is the leader of our country, we also want to be aware of who he is dating. For example, excuse the term, but if he’s dating a whore, then we should protest. It’s human nature that we find his love life such interesting news.—Kathy Santos, Happy Living Wines
0—People should not be too nosey. P-Noy’s lovelife should not make any headlines.—Karla Magbanua, Claycakes
1—It’s none of our business. The focus should be on his effectiveness as a president, not on his love life.—Vicky Pacheco, Chateau 1771, Sentro, Portico and Sidebar Café chef
5—P-Noy’s love life is purely for entertainment value. Nothing more.—Maribeth Santiago, Chocolate Confection
6—P-Noy, like all of us, is entitled to his privacy. I think we should try to give him space. However, as President and a public figure, such news is welcome, amid the many bad news we read in the newspapers each day.—Rita Dy, Singapore Airlines marketing head
9—So that P-Noy will be very, very careful in choosing his First Lady. Knowing that all eyes are on them will serve as a deterrent to commit wrongdoings. Unlike other presidents, he has the benefit of choice.—Cory Untalan, The Cru Kitchen
6—My basis is the ideal number of hours of sleep for a human being, which is eight hours. That’s 30 percent of his time. Plus two hours bonus playtime—40 percent na ang kay P-Noy. That’s the free window he ought to have away from media—sleep time and play time. Media should not expect P-Noy to bare himself, like his sister does. And I don’t want to know if or when he snores, drools, farts or makes biglang kaliwa! I just want media to tell me what will make me admire and respect my President so that I can support him for the sake of this star-struck, media-victimized bading country.—Nancy Reyes Lumen, editor in chief, Cook Magazine
0—That’s his life. Personal na ’yan.—Peter Nic Rodriguez, Bistro Candon Restaurant, Ilocos Sur
1—Leave him alone in that department. Instead, let’s support him as he tries to make the Philippines a better country.—Letlet Veloso, fashion designer
1—How come we need to “run” our President’s personal love life? He asked for privacy in this area that he is trying to figure out. Give him space and time.—Nina Lim-Yuson, founder, Museo Pambata
1—I think even if he is President, he is still human. He deserves space and privacy. His job is not an easy one. He deserves to be happy, too.—Janice de Belen, actress and TV personality
2—With a cool, fast car and a top government post, the media is now his only excuse for not getting the girl.—GJ Jimenez, Banapple Bakery and Café
2—Let’s not develop a culture of paparazzi like in Europe for public officials, especially when it comes to love life.—Daki Fernando, American Hospitality Academy marketing director
5—P-Noy is a public figure. But then, the media should only go as far as P-Noy will allow them to get into his love life to respect the woman’s privacy. Unless, of course, she doesn’t mind. All people, including media, want privacy.—Bong Daza, politician and businessman
10—If it is entertainment or showbiz writers doing the snooping, then it’s a 10. Chismis is chismis, and he is a well-known personality. But, as for front page or main section newspapers, I think only 4 because it’s good to inject some humor or light news in that serious section.—Ma-an de Ocampo, Quattro Grill
3—We shouldn’t be obsessed with how he conducts his love life, but rather how he conducts the affairs of the State. More business than pleasure.—Susan Joven, PR practitioner
2—I would like to think that it will not make the country any better if I find out that our president is dating KC Concepcion, for example. So, just leave him alone and let him date. He’s a normal/single guy, after all.—Annie Ringor, PR practitioner
8—As President, he is a public figure and so everything that goes on in his life, professional or personal, is “news,” and will be covered by media. It comes with the territory.—Olive Limpe-Aw, president, Destileria Limtuaco; publisher, Asian Dragon magazine
1—President Noy’s love life should be respected, just like how we want ours to be, whether we are in media or ordinary citizens. We owe it to him as President to respect his personal affair. So I say 1, being least nosy, whether you’re in media or a Filipino citizen.—Pen Roque, marketing executive
7—If I want to be nice to Noy and 9—if I want to be realistic.—Virgie Ramos, the woman behind Swatch
3—People should just know enough to simply add a human or mortal dimension to the Office of the President.—Pete Felix, property development executive
6—When you take on a public position, your life becomes public. But with all the problems our country faces, there must be more important things aside from the President’s personal life. If a publication can’t do that, then they’re nothing more than a gossip column.—PJ Enriquez, photographer
4 or 5—They could tone down their frenzy. Of course the public is interested! Of course we feel we are entitled to know. But media hype distracts from the life and death issues of the nation and trivializes the pressures that have come to bear on the President. Show some respect please!—Conchita Razon, writer
5—Interested, but not nosey.—Lydia Castillo, writer and cook book author
10—But I will not call it being nosy. It’s the right of the citizen to know, him being a public figure, more so him being the President.—Louie Cruz, the off-the-shoulder party organizer
5—It can affect his performance as a public official, so only to that extent.—Jovy Cruz, executive
6—We should give him some room for private time.—Bonjin Bolinao, PR practitioner
8—Media must get the news out, but to a limit.—Taj Tajanlangit, boutique hotel proprietor
3—He is a public figure, but his love life is not as important as the affairs of the state.—Elvira Araneta, writer/editor
3—He should be left alone and given a little distance.—Gigi Perez, housewife
1—Because it is personal and none of anyone’s business.—Candy Cruz, businesswoman
5—The media should know if it’s a matter of national security, but not to the point of invading his privacy.—Baboo Mondoñedo, artist
Even though the public has the right to make its leaders accountable even with what they do in their private lives, that right shouldn’t be abused and must have its limits. Those who go beyond that right of demanding accountability would be nothing but a bunch of rumor-mongerers seeking gratification for their malice.—Daniel Palma Tayona, visual artist, creative director of Center for Art, New Ventures, and Sustainable Development (Canvas)
As long as Noynoy tries to become the best President, the public shouldn’t care about his private life!—Edwin Wilwayco, artist/top abstractionist
Kahit ano gawin niya, basta mapaunlad niya ang Pilipinas sa mabuting paraan, walang pakialam ang publiko. Hindi naman siya Diyos para maging perpekto. At ang tao, huwag na rin makialam sa mga tsismis. Pakialaman na lang nila kung palpak ang ginagawa.—Farley del Rosario, one of Nokia’s 10 Most Exciting Young Artists, 2009
I guess the public could only be nosey if that particular slice of his private life would affect delicate decisions he would have to make in running the country. I mean, we’ve got to respect the man’s privacy, much like we want our own privacy respected. But still, the President has got to consider what others might think or say, especially when crossing the line on matters of national interest.”—Dan Lerma, physician and visual artist