Freeman Cebu Business

Devious pols: Drying up our treasury   

FULL DISCLOSURE - Fidel O. Abalos - The Freeman

Certainly, this year (an election year), as more money flows (whether coming from legitimate or illegitimate sources), the economy shall expand. For one, politicians will spend millions for their visibility initiatives (mainstream media or social media). More than that, wads of bills will also be spent for their vote-buying efforts. In turn, recipients (voters) use these sums of money to purchase goods and services, thus, the multiplier effect. 

Yes, as records reveal, it is true that election-related activities propel the economy. So tempting that we might even entertain the idea of having an election every year. However, the truth is, in the kind of election that we have, the downside is horrible.

Undeniably, our kind of politics is totally dirty from the beginning to end. The battle-tested but dirty approaches are just so compelling for the men and women who had been in it or are yet to squeeze themselves curiously into a messy world of entertainment we call politics, or distinctively, our brand of politics. This is a kind of politics where every coveted position has a price tag. Therefore, anyone who can afford gets it. Obviously, it is a kind of politics where the politicians’ willingness to dangle billions or millions is the main determinant. Consequently, as they part with it, they shall be equally determined to get it back, of course, with profits.  

But how are returns assured? There are countless of ways but, absolutely, not from their salaries.  Certainly, they cannot live with salaries alone. More often, they milk or exploit on projects or any forms of procurements. Unfortunately, such and other countless of ways are the primary reasons of our being undisputedly at the bottom of every corruption survey. 

Sadly, once the election is over, except for the level of greed that will certainly shoot up, the usual scenery shall dominate - 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.

Such usual scenes are 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. Supposedly, therefore, we must rejoice for the state-bestowed free hand to choose.  However, it doesn’t obtain as money’s influence is so irresistible.

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. Then, within this span, there are real concerns about the kinds of campaign that ranges from “swiftboating” to vote buying. 

Expectedly, 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, possibilities are endless. 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 moneys in circulation, these candidates and contributors will certainly retrieve them and selfishly put them back in their own treasury. 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 (from dynasties) and contributors (cohorts) dry up our treasury through illegitimate deals, our economy shall thirst to death. 


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