Manny Calayan's bid in Congress draws flak

Posted at 03/25/10 12:54 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Cosmetic surgeon Manny Calayan on Thursday defended himself from criticisms that he is not fit to be a nominee of the party list group Alyansa ng Media at Showbiz (AMS).

“I've decided to join the Alyansa ng Media at Showbiz because it suits me as a celebrity doctor. And now is the time to help our country, our colleagues in showbiz industry as well as the doctors,” Calayan said in an interview on ANC’s “Headstart.”

Calayan was criticized for not knowing the smallest members of the media and entertainment industry such as cameramen.

Even AMS’ founder Romy Suzara was surprised that Calayan, along with veteran actor Leo Martinez and radio broadcaster Rolando Lakay Gonzalo, is representing the group in Congress.

Suzara said Calayan is not even an original AMS member.

“Kilala ba niya ang mga taong nasa likod ng camera? Kilala ba niya mga radio announcer, kilala ba niya ang mga nagtratrabaho sa media? Wala siyang malay dito,” Suzara said.

During his Thursday's interview, Calayan brushed off these criticisms.

He pointed out that knowing someone in the entertainment industry should not be the basis in determining whether he is qualified to become a nominee or not.

“The important thing here is to deliver our objective and mission to the showbiz people, the media and the press,” he said.

The doctor also blasted arguments that people from the entertainment industry are not considered marginalized.

“Ninety five percent of the media and showbiz people are marginalized because when [you look at those] in showbiz who are not sikat (famous) anymore, look at their housing, health benefits, wala. So, what we’re planning in Congress is to [give] celebrities nice livelihood in the future, medical and hospitalization also,” he said.

He added: “ Showbiz is not forever that’s why we are in Congress. Para matulungan sila sa housing nila in the future.”

As for the issues raised by Suzara, Calayan said he is leaving it up to the AMS’ board to resolve them.

Party list groups have until Friday to submit the names of their top 3 nominees to the Commission on Elections.

Nominees of party list groups for the May elections include Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, El Shaddai leader Mike Velarde and children of politicians. Reports from ANC and Mario Dumaual, ABS-CBN News