Freeman Cebu Business

Politicians: For service or business?

FULL DISCLOSURE - Fidel O. Abalos - The Freeman

In business, to safeguard company assets, internal control system is established and made sure to be adequate. To ensure success, the internal control system is structured to have both basic and supervisory controls.

With this in mind, the company’s organizational structure is so designed that each person does not handle incompatible functions. It is established in a way that the internal control’s cardinal rule of segregation of duties is well observed and checks and balances are assured. On top of these, most companies made it a policy that their personnel are rotated periodically to ensure that the work of another person shall be reviewed and accountabilities established upon turnover.

To some extent, some companies even make it a policy to have unannounced leaves or forced leaves on custodians of funds or those with influences over some company funds just to make sure that should anomalies exist, they could no longer tamper evidences.

The same should have been true (or even more) in public service. This is so, because what these public servants deal with are publicly-owned funds or our money.  But with a congress and, worst, local government units ran like family-owned corporations by our government leaders (who have made sure their family members are in key positions, whether by election or appointment), the internal control aspect of governance is set aside.  Consequently, corruption pervades and has remained unabated.

Truth to tell, weeks after the filing of certificates of candidacy ended, except for the level of greed that certainly shoot up, the usual scenery dominated - the same old political clans (the trapos) and entertainers who are either running for reelection or are returning to the political arena after a painful loss. They’ve made election their own and their positions their businesses or livelihoods to bank on.

This negative scene is very ironic for a positive exercise as election. As we all understand, election is a formal decision-making process by which we, as a nation, shall choose individuals to hold public office.  Presumably, therefore, we must rejoice for the state-bestowed free hand to choose than bearing dictator-controlled twisted arms.  Certainly, because in the end, he’ll (the dictator) get his wishes not ours.

However, such situation (dictatorial) doesn’t exist anymore. Obviously therefore, the reason isn’t downright associated with it. Truth to tell, the primordial concern is in our kind of electoral process. That is, from filing of candidacies where nationalities and addresses are even faked, to counts of ballots that could be possibly rigged. Within this span, there are real concerns about the kind of campaign that ranges from “swiftboating” to vote buying.

Therefore, just as imminent as the sun rises again, vote buying will just be as prominent, thus, the need for lots of money. As campaigns will entail huge expenditures, ranging from cost of travel to advertisements, the need for heaps of it is clear as daylight. So that, candidates and their fundraisers devote substantial time and effort burning potential benefactors’ phone lines.

As phones ring, there could be many possibilities. Absolutely, everyone is very much aware that as money flows out from a contributor’s pocket, agreements are sealed. Such deals could come in illegitimate favors from government for juicy projects. On the other hand, it could be selfishly a deal for some lucrative cabinet positions or directorship in government corporations. Bluntly, such political donation is, in essence, bribe money. Undeniably too, due to the unfathomable need, on top of these bribe moneys, the candidates themselves will personally shell out huge bundles of it.

With these dirty money in circulation, these candidates and contributors will certainly retrieve them and selfishly put them back in their own treasury. Certainly, as contributors take their money back through juicy projects, the elected officials shall have their own heydays amassing lots of it not just to recover amounts spent but also to fill their purses to the hilt to finance the cost of their future generations’ stay in power.

All these money recovery measures are consequences of the kind of electoral campaigns the candidates are waging. The penalty, however, of these devious schemes is huge. As politicians and contributors deceitfully siphon money from the government’s treasury through illegitimate deals, the economy starves.

Therefore, let us not give them the opportunity to eternally stay or be back in the posts they used to have and be in a position to steal conveniently and conceal perpetually.

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