During a recent discussion at a café, a retired banker asked the gathered group, “What is so nice about politics that people kill each other – even their own family – in order to maintain a dynasty?” A priest suggested a prayer before delving into the subject, noting, “We never know if political traitors are around our table.”
A lawyer then said, “I cannot understand why these ‘moneyed people’ in politics do not want to leave that field.”
“They say they want to serve the people – is it a big lie or the truth?” they asked.
The banker then posed a question to the priest, “Padre, may I ask if any ‘political face’ has ever confessed to pocketing taxpayer money?” They then acknowledge the priest would not be allowed to answer the question regardless.
“What is it about politics that the same faces stay in ‘government service’ until they die?” asked an engineer.
“How much are their salaries and allowances?” the priest responded.
“I don’t think they are after salaries and allowances,” the engineer replied. “Candidates spend millions to ensure they stay in office, there could be more to it.”
The banker then raised an issue that has been brought up in this column last month on two previous occasions, pointing out, “Local government officials of towns and cities, and even the province, are the franchise holders of food chains and other franchising businesses in their territory.”
“When franchisers intend to get business permits, many local officials become interested,” he added.
“Do you mean that is the reason why many want to join politics?” asked the priest. “They can influence business investments?”
“Do you mean politicians are more of the business side rather than serving their constituents?” they pressed.
“Padre, who is ashamed nowadays if money is the name of the game?” the banker retorted. “It is even rumored that some politicians in this country, without shame, demand monetary returns for favoring their business interests.”
The engineer backed up the banker, saying, “Yes Padre, that is a common talk around town anywhere.”
“You mean to say that you can acquire not only power but also wealth if you are a mayor or councilor or barangay captain?” the priest continued to prod.
“Padre, I know you were not born yesterday,” the lawyer whispered.
The lawyer addressed the group: “Look at the past leaders of this country, PNoy, Fidel, and Gloria – they are all from Luzon – yet they forgot things like cleaning the shores of Manila Bay because they are too busy with other things.”
“It took a ‘probinsyano’ like Duterte,” the engineer replied. “Now, these guys in Metro Manila want the cleaning stopped – how crazy!”
The banker noted, “The old guard of politics does not hate the president because he is not good, they hate him because he does not offer dole-outs – it’s why those who use such entitlements hate him.”
The priest then offered a prayer for the nation given the number of politicians seeking office merely on personal interest.
This column greets Fonz Baldonado, Ramon Cua Locsin, Ed Estandarte, Nico Velasquez, Renato Novero, Francis Velez, Richard Oquendo, Odette Gomez, Stephen Alquiza, Ponce Rivero, Beverly Ilagan, Rosbe Gepelago, and Jaz Jayme./WDJ