Money you do not see is not there

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag - The Freeman

One allegation that has not been rebutted, or at least not sufficiently, is that the campaign of Bongbong Marcos for the presidency is awash with money, that it has bought its way to undisputed leadership in the race. The allegation is tied to the assumption that Bongbong is using his own money, and that, by implication, such money in turn is tied to that other allegation about ill-gotten wealth.

Lost inadvertently, or excluded willfully, from the ever-emotional and passionate discourse that always seems to accompany the subject of money, is the fact that, saddled by ill-gotten wealth allegations, Bongbong would probably be the last person on earth to flaunt his wealth, lest it proves the allegation not on its merit but simply by mere sight of simple expense.

This is not to sweep the allegation under the rug. Money has indeed been recovered even if the Marcos Family has not exactly owned up to its being ill-gotten. Whatever mode of acquisition the money may have been obtained, it cannot be denied that the Philippine government, over a span of 36 years and through six presidencies that included two Aquinos, has been in hot pursuit of that money.

Accusing Bongbong of burning hundreds of millions of pesos of such money to light his way through the uncertainties of the campaign insults the efforts of those involved in what might be one of the greatest treasure hunts in history. Laughably, it also implies that Bongbong is such a genius that he has managed to slip funds through the money dragnet in amounts so significant they leave the other campaigns sputtering.

But haven't the political opponents of Bongbong tried mightily to make his education and intellectual capacity one of the main points of their campaign to put him down? So how come they are now inadvertently depicting him as a brilliant strategist able to run rings around entire governments, not just through years but decades, getting his hands on money that no one seems to know where but simply imagine is there.

When it comes to political campaigns, and the money used to fuel them, Bongbong is probably the most watched, monitored, scrutinized and hounded candidate ever to run for any position on earth. Yet, other than critics who rely on nothing more substantial than saliva-driven conjecture, no bank, financial institution, money regulating agency, law enforcement unit, court, or angel in heaven has ever sounded any alarm.

On the other hand, why is it that when it comes to Bongbong, the political reality of campaign contributions does not seem to apply, or is being intentionally ignored and swept aside? Is it because the desire is really to weigh him down with ill-gotten wealth charges on evidence that is not there? Such scurrilous aims never work if reality in all its majesty stands in the way.

If you have the proof, then by all means provide it and go after Bongbong. But let the fight be in court where justice is presumably fair and blind. If you prefer to slug it out in just open discourse, then you are obviously not paying any attention. Bongbong is about to win the presidency, in which case the narrative against him has been shown to be ineffective, perhaps even simply not there.

But if we take this discourse to the ground, to where it can stand firm on the bosom of hard facts and reality, then it becomes easier to accept that contributions indeed flow into campaigns and that the greater chances a campaign has of winning, the greater the flow of contributions into it. That's just the way it is. Bongbong's campaign is not run on stolen funds. It is fueled by reality, and the practical minds who get it when they see it.


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