Why would a scatterbrained 32-year-old unmarried mother, scandalously linked to a succession of unsavoury married men, believe she could become a senator? First, because she is the daughter of former president Corazon Aquino. Second, her colourful background is not a drawback, it is a qualification. Kris Aquino recently told an American reporter she would run for the senate in 2010. The senate, which votes on treaties, laws and impeachments, is known as a breeding ground for Philippine presidents. Her professional experience amounts to hosting a TV quiz show, starring in a string of badly acted films and appearing in various commercials. By the current standards of politics, that is an impressive CV for becoming a senator. In the Philippines, winning public office largely turns on a single issue - popularity - and nobody is more popular than entertainers. The point was best made by the election of former action star Joseph Estrada to the presidency. His then vice-president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, won by shamelessly trading on her close resemblance to a famous entertainer named Nora Aunor. The current senate roster shows an abundance of talent - but of the kind found in a variety show. They include a former comedian known for his toilet humour; yet another ex-action movie star; a former professional basketball player not renowned for his erudition, and two TV newsreaders who specialised in infotainment masquerading as investigative journalism. One senator won by harping on the fact that she is a sister of murdered opposition leader Benigno Aquino (Kris' father). Two male colleagues rode to office on the names of their wives, both famous movie stars. Senators Loren Legarda and Noli de Castro have had no scruples about bringing their old jobs with them - they continue to host TV shows, in a violation of ethics, if not law. Writing about this, former senator Rene Saguisag asked: 'Out of a population of 80 million, who continue to go forth and multiply like rabbits, can we not pull out of some hat 24 full-time public servants in the senate?' With entertainers consistently pulling in the most votes each election, it seems voters do not care about who is elected, as long as they are popular. It is as if Filipinos have finally realised that about the only thing they can get from their senators is a little entertainment. If this is so, Ms Aquino will be an invaluable addition.