Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion

By: Jose B. Maroma Jr.

THIS proverb has been held as the yardstick against which the conduct of leaders is to be measured. It goes back in time to an incident where Julius Caesar divorced his wife Pompeia because of rumors linking her to another man, Clodius.

Although no proof of guilt was ever established and Clodius was eventually acquitted, Julius Caesar divorced his wife just the same, saying that “my wife ought not to be under suspicion.”

I wish our public leaders, elected or appointed, observed the same code of honor. To our dismay, ours is a society where the privileged commit malfeasance and merrily wiggle out of accountability by using wealth and influence to bend rules, hide behind legal technicalities and rely on patrons who cover them with impunity.

Appointees to high public offices don’t hold themselves accountable to the people, only to the powerful masters who appointed them.

Cabinet members involved in scandals sing the same tune, “I serve at the pleasure of the President. I leave it all up to him.” In Tagalog, “manigas na kayo lahat, nakasandal yata ako sa pader.”

I wonder how the children of high profile controversial officials react to all the adverse publicity. I have always hoped that offsprings provide a moral force which should moderate the covetous ways of their fathers.

In an article, I once painted a scenario where, over breakfast, a young girl smarting from the furtive stares of classmates, would sidle up to her father and lament in hushed tones, “Dad, it hurts.”


(The author is happily retired and spends most of his time observing and writing on various political and economic issues.)