Freeman Cebu Business

Devious pols’ businesses

FULL DISCLOSURE - Fidel O. Abalos - The Freeman

As the election hits fever pitch, the differences (then and now) in the manner by which campaigns are undertaken have become more apparent. Sadly, the battle of colors, memes and fake news polarized the nation inevitably.

Yes, the way we conduct our elections have become so different and because of social media, the voting public is so much involved. Not only that they are so much involved, they parry criticisms hurled against their favored candidates (even if there is truth in it) and quarrel with long-time friends in the opposite side just to make sure their messages pass across.   

Whether this situation shall obtain until the next election comes, we do not know. Certainly though, once the winning candidates are proclaimed and have taken oath, their track records on governance shall come into play. For instance, in business, to safeguard company’s 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 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, worse, local government units (LGUs) run like family-owned corporations by our 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, this concern was, in fact, recognized in our 1987 constitution. However, despite this constitutional prohibition and strong clamors for change in the country’s political landscape, huge clans have continued to grow not only in numbers and in strength but territories as well. As it seems, though prohibited by our constitution, the enabling law will not certainly see the light of day unless the dynastically-dominated legislative chambers turn suicidal and pass it. Thus, in the absence of such law, their (political dynasties) fate in every election rest on a “telenovela-enamored” and seemingly parasitical population that pervasively decide solely on the candidates’ popularity, and, to some extent, the political clans’ dubious generosity and vote-buying capability. Obviously, therefore, they shall stay.

Truth to tell, to these political clans, they’ve made their elective positions (and the units where they are) their businesses or livelihoods to bank on. Thus, just like any businesses, they pass them on to their future generations. Unlike privately owned businesses, however, their hold to such devious inheritances is perpetuated at our expense. How? The answer is so simple.

First and foremost, it breeds cronyism or nepotism. Yes and, probably, since the birth of the country’s oldest voter who shall cast his or her vote this Monday, cronyism already existed. As we all know, when it exists, the industries will be in a mess and the wealth will just be concentrated on the few elite, the cronies. Thus, historically, our economy had always been in shambles and the rest of us became unwilling paupers.

Moreover, it begets nepotism. Notably, even family corporations abhor nepotism because of its disadvantages. First, it denies the business of highly qualified individuals who are really fit for the job.  Secondly, when relatives are placed in incompatible functions, internal control is compromised.  Inarguably, these instances are both unhealthy for the business.

Indeed, as politicians (from dynasties) and their cohorts (cronies and relatives) deceitfully siphon money from the government’s treasury, the economy shall thirst for it. Therefore, let us not give them the opportunity to eternally stay or be back where they used to be and be in a position to steal conveniently and conceal perpetually.


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