[SIGN OF THE CRUZ by Danilo P. Cruz]
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s recent announcement to finance the political campaign of his favored and anointed candidates should make us take a closer look at the connection between economic power and political power.
Centuries ago, when frightened Kings launched the Holy Crusades against the Saracen blades of Islam, the ruling nobility of Europe had to borrow heavily from wealthy traders and landowners to finance their costly expeditions across the seas. Their inability to settle their accounts forced them to confer royal titles to the money lords and share power with them in a kind of symbiotic relationship.
But with the demise of monarchial rule and the rise of parliaments in democratic societies, political parties were born and these evolved basically for the purpose of gaining control of the government by winning in the elections.
Whatever views one may have on this, from the moral or ethical point of view, such is the nature of ‘realpolitik.’ The dynamics of politics, especially in this country, are not based on set rules. President Fidel V. Ramos during his incumbency appealed to the Bankers Club of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines to carefully review loan applications of politicians who may use the money for image-building and other political purposes and not for worthwhile development projects.
Ferdinand E. Marcos was more wily and forceful. He declared an extended bank holiday at the homestretch of the 1969 presidential election. His opponent, Cebu’s Serging Osmeña Jr., who was hoping to withdraw the badly needed funds for his party workers nationwide, did not know what hit him. ###