Graft and Corruption
Power Tends to Corrupt, and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. - December 11, 2021
I defined my five-point criteria for selecting political parties and choosing leaders already, namely: (1) winnability; (2) ability to address timely issues of the day, especially those confronting us the past two years of global pandemic; (3) high-impact programs that could leap-frog our economic growth, sustainability, and equity; (4) teamwork and cooperation; and (5) respect for the rule of law and morality.
The way things are happening today, these criteria are no longer applicable since nobody among the presidential candidates fits the bill. These indicators may have to be discarded. The standards emerging in social media are the following:
(1) Colorful displays and comical entertainments, backed up by renown artists. The more massive and intense the display, the more attraction one gets from the public and the more are the public drawn into their caravans and rallies.
Money is behind all this and there's a saying that those who holds the purse or bank account rule. We can only be reminded that "all that glitters are not gold". For strings are attached, demanding for some accounting or favors later. And bankers and sponsors have their way of doing this discreetly.
(2) People are neither lured, by their political programs nor are people voting because of political platforms. Candidates simply ramble and spit out motherhood statements expected by the people with no concrete details on how they will be funded, distributed, and implemented from the national down to the village levels in the various regions of the country, which could have been eaisly done as part of their campaign leaflets.
The fight is still personal. It's between the Aquinos and the Marcoses and their respective cronies. In the last presidential race, this opened the gates to the Dutertes since people were fed up and they want something new. They got their wish.
We hope that BBM will redeem the Martial Law stigma and will be sincere enough in his campaign promise to distribute their wealth to the Filipino people, rather than protect themselves against lawsuits.
We hope that Leni can cut off her umbilical cord with the Aquinos. We hope that she will not be controlled by the Aquino family and their respective cronies and the Malacañang mafias (the influentials and power peddlers). We hope that she can freely restructure a new set of sincere cabinet members and establish unity between the Lower and Upper Houses of Congress, without recoursing to bicameral bodies.
We hope that the strong-hand of the Duterte family and its stooges will not be used to cement political power and corruption. We hope that the Pharmally scandal, the unaccounted funds in Philhealth, alleged unexplained wealth, and the recent Malampaya exposé will be finally resolved once elected.
We hope that alignments and realignments to favor their self interests will no longer prevail after the electoral race. The continuing shifts in political alignments and realignments only defile the sanctity of our supposed-to-be democratic political system. Gone are the two-party system that have worked well in our past.
At the moral and ethical level, the fight now is about sincerity and relentlessness in pursuing their campaign slogans and promises.
At the moment, we can only rely on our past experiences and gut-feeling to know who of them is really sincere. Again, this is something subjective, a matter of one's perspective and beliefs. May the Holy Spirit enlighten and guide us nonetheless.
(3) High-impact programs are, as usual, geared towards draining whatever fund is left in our national reserves and deposits, resulting in massive corruption as has been demonstrated in the past two years. The saying still remains: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.
(4) Teamwork and cooperation are a ploy to confuse each other’s political opponents. Like the traitor Brutus, they are designed to advance their respective unrestricted interests, claiming to love their country more than the eradication of the people’s poverty and hunger.
(5) Disrespect for the rule of law. We have our Constitution of the Land, scripted by the most brilliant, respected, and well-intentioned individuals, selected from various sectors of society. We have an abundance of laws and their respective implementing rules and regulations, more than enough to make families millionaires and financially empowered.
But, as we always predict after the election, the people will remain marginalized and excluded in the mainstream agenda. We might as well exclaim: "To heaven during the electoral race, to hell thereafter, from 2022 to 2026, only to repeat the same process again and again in a viciously circular fashion without end.
Fast forward: What’s my alternative. To vote just the same even if this means voting for the politicians who have the least evil and number of skeletons in their closets.
Don’t tell me that there are no skeletons in their respective closets, perhaps even more than what we have in ours. Nevertheless, the famous line spoken by Osgood Fielding III may still seem to prevail as an excuse to our wrongdoings: “Nobody is perfect.”
But all is not hell and hopeless. Despite our imperfections, there is always that goodness in each one of us that we would like to tap and harness for the good of the people.
So, let's continue what we're doing today until May.
Just as I expected in my temple posts yesterday. The Cosmos showers us once more with its abundance
The Art and Science of Corruption
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. – March 4, 2021
"My life seemed to be a series of events and accidents. Yet when I look back, I see a pattern." ~ Benoît B. Mandelbrot
Yes, I see a pattern outside my own little world, and the pattern is reflected in our society, especially in the areas of corruption and morality. Let me dwell on this issue in detail.
The economic elite and government officials work together. Politicians appoint committees that allocate projects that maybe related to infrastructure, irrigation dams, electrification, education, health, military, etc., promising that they will donate their salaries or pork barrel to a non-governmental organization (NGO).
They over bill these projects and give back some of the budget to the politicians and the NGO. All must support and vote for the project. It’s not a question of affiliation. Political affiliations, ideological platforms, religious considerations (with a few exceptions) are the least of the problem.
There's no left, center, or right political spectrum. For they can all be bought. Those who don’t dance with the music are expelled, intimidated, or bribed. They will ultimately toe the line. For they are all scumbags. No scumbag betrays another scumbag. They profit from each other and money rules.
Whoever is in charge must keep the wheel turning. It’s a pattern. And it is this well-oiled machinery that has elected every single president. We didn’t elect our president and leaders; the machinery does. We were being manipulated by them. It's a necessary consequence of their unending story to subjugate us.
It’s a self-perpetuating system and the mechanism is in everything. Parking attendants fake IDs to get into places, cheat parking meters, bribing the police officers who are at the same time protecting them.
The mechanism is insured; there is check and balance. Parking attendants are imposed quotas to appease higher police officers. Everybody wins and the perks of corruption increase over time at the expense of the citizenry.
The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The pattern of corruption is in the system and mechanism. No matter who the leaders are, what the political party is reigning, what ideology and belief is dominant, they all are bullet-proof. Nobody dares even mention their names.
And what can they do break this culture of corruption? Nothing. No politician can convict a fellow politician. No CEO of a corporate bank is able to stand as witness against a politician accused of vote buying, embezzlement, and racketeering.
The few economic elite bankers have the politicians in their pockets. Besides they can always invoke the bank secrecy law, which has the same status as the seal of confession in the Catholic Church. And this wheel of misfortune, exploitation, and injustices keeps on turning on indefinitely.
But the mechanism has no soul. The poor only struggle to survive, while the rich are laughing at them, intent of keeping them ignorant of what is really happening around. They grind them to their barest essence, extracting whatever juicy substances left in them.
The court of last resort is no help either. What if the Supreme Court is politicized? What if majority of the justices are presidential appointees? What if the prosecutor general is as crook as they are?
Can we go to the police, the enforcer of justice and have them arrested and put to jail, but only to post bail in a matter of seconds? They’re all the same. They conspire and are in cahoots with each other.
But is not the President the highest ruler of the land, the Chief Executive of the Armed Forces, Chief Executive of the Military, Chief Executive of the Navy, Chief Executive of Police and all are under him or her?
If we give up or simply remain silent, our leaders will bring us down. Let’s relentlessly put pressure on them until somebody spills the beans. How? By exposing everything. By invoking transparency.
Let’s keep on expressing our views. After all, we are living in a democracy and freedom of speech is one of its most fundamental form of expression. If projects are not good for the majority, they’re no good. They must be exposed.
And corruption is getting out of hand. Corruption happening in one country don't just stay there. They get exported immediately into other countries and the effect can be far more deadly and devastating than the cause.
Corruption has become worse than the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic can be eventually cured and prevented. Corruption can't. It has been with us through the ages. It has become systemic, a global pandemic.
It runs through the entire gamut of our political, religious, and NGO operations from the national level down to the county, regional, provincial, city, town, and village levels as well as in every processes of decision-making and project implementation.
I have this sinking feeling that this pattern of corruption going on in our society will get worse before it gets arrested, if at all.
Good luck to all of us.
Clinging to power can be hideous
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. – January 5, 2021
As Sir John Dalberg-Acton say: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are always bad men."
If we pursue this view, then, morality decreases as power increases. And the closer one is to the highest echelon of power, the greater corruption becomes. This seems to be the universal law today.
Corruption was first noted during the First
Dynasty (3100–2700 BC) of ancient Egypt in its judiciary in the form of bribery. And it goes all the way up to the Pharaoh. In fact, it can even be surmised that corruption originated as a mandate by this most powerful man in the land in preparation for the afterlife journey. But the practice also existed in ancient China.
Today, power has branched out from the government to the business, media, and religious sectors.
The business magazine, Forbes, compiled a list of the world's most powerful people in 2019-2020. They include the following:
#1. Xi Jinping - China
#2. Vladimir Putin - Russia
#3. Donald Trump - USA
#4. Angela Merkel - Germany
#5. Jeff Bezos - Amazon
#6. Pope Francis - Vatican
#7. Bill Gates - Microsoft
#8. Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud - Saudi Arabia
#9. Narendra Modi - India
#13. Mark Zuckerberg - Facebook
#14. Theresa May - UK
#16. Warren Buffet - Business
#17. Ali Hoseini-Khamenei - Iran
Compare the above most powerful leaders with the following most influential persons in the World:
4. Jesus of Nazareth
How about the following most powerful scientists and mathematicians...
1. Isaac Newton
2. Albert Einstein
3. Louis Pasteur
4. Galileo Galilei
And the most powerful persons in history...
1. Julius Caesar
2. Qin Shi Juang - Emperor who unified
3. Peter the Great
4. Mahatma Gandhi
5. Napoleon Bonaparte
Likewise, the greatest leaders of all time....
1. Adolf Hitler
2. Mao Zedong
3. Fidel Castro
4. Nelson Mandela
5. Winston Churchill
What's the difference? It's very clear. Not all leaders are corrupt.
I must admit that if I had landed permanently in the government, I could have become one of the most corrupt public servants. Even in the business sector, I had been taught (and I learned) how to be corrupt. Wherever I go, whether in government or business, I was deeply entangled in a complicated web of corruption and immorality.
As the commonly accepted norm says: "If you can't lick them, join them." Or, if you're not with us, you're against us."
Once you're in, you are forced to observe this age-old tradition. The culture of corruption has become systemic, endemic, and pandemic today, worse than COVID.
A little of corruption is tolerated, 10% as they say. But if the amount involves billions, then, 10% is a most welcome deal. In many cases, peddling and fixing are safer since no legal documents and receipts are signed.
The only way out is to get out, which is not quite normal. For individuals have become so deeply rooted to the system. To many, staying with government has become a lifetime commitment. Money is easy to have and grows geometrically.
How can we prevent corruption?
I have no doctorate degree in the art and science of corruption, but we have been applying some methods already in our own limited way, like exposing corrupt activities, invoking transparencies and accountabilities, voting least corrupt individuals into office, among others.
By the way, each of us has a tinge of corruption and immorality in us. Nobody is perfect. As the Lord says: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” ~ John 8:7.
So, how can we prevent corruption?
In our day-to-day life, we can start with ourselves by consciously acknowledging the presence of corruption and immorality in us, but that it can be minimized, if not totally eradicated. Balancing what is moral and not is the key to liberation.
How can we apply this?
Let's start with our family. The way we deal with our family members can have a butterfly effect on society.
Everything can be taken as a business proposition when dealing with our family, neighborhood, and society. But:
1. Let's take away any political ambition or this controlling attitude in each of us towards the other family members.
2. Truth is relative. What is true to us may not be true to the other members of our family.
3. We are equally free before our Creator. Some are not more free than others.
4. Politics and education should not mix.
5. Faith should not be imposed on anyone, let alone on our children.
6. Yes, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." But great men may not necessarily be always bad men.
7. Let's view power not as a means for supremacy or control, but as service to humanity.
Having said all this, then, there's a great probability that corruption will be minimized on the family level.
Voting a Corrupt Leader
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. – April 20, 2022
If the people still vote for the guy considered as corrupt by others, then, they must have seen something more in the guy that our country may need more badly, but is not present in other presidential contenders.
Or if the people still vote for this guy we consider corrupt, then, one still asks: “Who amongst all the contenders is not?” Let them cast the first stone! (John 8:7).
I am raising these issues simply to highlight the fact that each of us has different perceptions of the reality outside. Each of us has different understanding of the other person.
For some, I can be perceived as a devil incarnate, the epitome of the vilest of all evil, a hypocrite, or a wolf in a sheep’s clothing. For others, I may not appear so.
A thousand individuals seeing and perceiving me can have a thousand picture of what or who I am.
I can’t say that their perception of who and what I am is wrong. Who am I to judge them? I was not given a blanket authority to judge anybody.
It’s only they who can give judgement on their own subjective perceptions. And I see no use of arguing, just to prove them wrong of their perception about my personality.
To insist so would only mean endless debates and arguments that could only lead to violence and perhaps bloodshed as what is happening now in the relationship between and among nations.
As long as we’re imprisoned in this 4-D world of duality and contradiction, we will always be enmeshed in this tug-of-war relationship between good and evil.
But for every given thesis and anti-thesis, there is always a synthesis, a way out, a new perception that is able to unite the dialectics of matter. In the final analysis, it is this integrating synthesis or principle that matters.
Combating Corruption from Within
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. – March 14, 2021
While corruption is systemic, the origin of it all is within us. Before there was a corrupt society, before there was a corrupt economy, before there was a corrupt state, there was a corrupt individual.
Before the system and the mechanism of corruption began, there was somebody cooking up a corrupt idea.
It began as a concept in the mind of the individual. Then, it was brought to life by conceiving the corrupt idea in its womb and introduced it to the system after nine months.
We are the conceiver, carrier, deliverer, nurturer, and protector of corruption. Blame it on each one of us who have harbored corrupt thoughts, desires, and acts. Corruption started in us, not in the system.
We are the culprit, the problem, the cause, and the root of all corruption. And we conspired with others who share our corrupt thoughts. Blame it not on the system.
Strangely enough, we are also the solution, the healer, the doctor, and the patient. We are the disease and the cure, the infectious virus and the antidote.
So, “Physician, heal thyself” (Luke 4:23). Or as Friedrich Nietzsche paraphrased it: “Physician, heal thyself; then wilt thou also heal thy patient. Let it be his cure to see with his eyes him who maketh himself whole”.
Let’s first get rid of corruption inside us then by freeing ourselves of it. This time, let's model ourselves. Only then can we hope to heal our world and society of corruption.
Getting Out of the Box!
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. - April 13, 2022
If we cannot find solutions to the pressing problems confronting our lives—whether metaphysical or physical—one has to look for solutions somewhere else. Sometimes, one has to go outside of its box to see what’s out there.
There are individual Christians who get out of their way to know and experience what other religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, Catholicism, Islam, Atheism—have to say about those problems they cannot solve using their long espoused beliefs.
There are also scientists who try to get out of their way to seek for metaphysical explanations on those problems they encounter in the quantum world which they found to be beyond the laws of physics.
Getting Out of this Corrupt State and World
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. – August 24, 2021
We had been grumbling, complaining, and blaming our leaders, regardless of who is in control and in power. Yet, we're like the prophets crying in the wilderness, with no-one hearing our voices. Others even ignore our pleas.
Are our voices in a sense "a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal" whose sounds are hollow and empty? (1 Corinthians 13:1).
The only change we experience is a change of administration and leadership. Our Constitutions and laws sometimes change with them but for their own advantage, all ultimately benefitting the rich and powerful.
Many of us who are poor remain minimum-wage earners, jobless, illiterate, badly in need of health-care services, even homeless.
We cannot graduate to become middle-class. We remain stuck up at the bottom of the economic ladder. Thanks to the coronavirus. A growing number of entrepreneurs among us is emerging, if only to sustain our survival mode.
Still we are being controlled and manipulated. The prices of our raw materials are regulated by the law of supply and demand. The higher is our demand, the higher they raise the level of the price, with the supply remaining constant or manipulated as in the case of hoarding.
Nonetheless, we are not losing our hope. We continue to complain, resist, and expose corruptive practices in the social media and in the streets. As the philosophers would say we are political animals.
As such, we are able to react to stimuli, reproduce, grow, and fight even in the harshest times and conditions. All this we do guided by our conscience and consciousness.
This is our saving grace. We fight following the rules of engagement. Call these rules Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Islam, Jewish, etc. We're not soulless soldiers and warriors. This is our saving grace.
Get out of our corruptible electoral system. Don't sell your votes. Resist vote buying. Invoke transparency. Vote according to your conscience.
Yet, as Christians we're still divided. We don't have a Christian vote in spite of the fact that many of those running into office are Christians.
Elections after all are not based on religious grounds. They are primarily business and investment endeavors that only corrupted our political system and our moral fiber.
Our country is on the verge of imploding from within. We need someone who can clean it.