The Family Business

I’m one of those who believe that public office is a public trust. You don’t take it for your self. You take it because you sincerely honestly want to serve, and when you’re done, you walk away from it clean.

Philippine politics, however, is best described as a family business. Some may believe that their family has an obligation to lead their constituents but, honestly, I think that’s just an excuse to hold on to power. Apologies to my friends in politics.

How can I not be skeptical when families just try to get around term limits by making other family members fill a post in the interim while they cool their heels in another post until they can get back the post. Sometimes, one family gets into an agreement with another family and they just swap posts as term limits come and go. The most comedic episodes happen when the fillers refuse to vacate the post and a family feud or clash of clans ensues. If that doesn’t prove that Philippine politics is a family business, then nothing can ever make you see that.

It’s also easy to see why they would tenaciously hold on to power. There’s lots of money to be made, and even more benefits to enjoy not counting the “prestige” one gets from being honored as one of the pillars of the community. Don’t believe people when they say the Government does not have money. It’s there. It’s a question of where does it go and what are they using it for. Look at Congress. Lawmakers are elected to do one thing: make laws but they award themselves millions of pesos to be disposed of as they alone may decide. It may get audited but if they have full discretion in its disposition, then how could it ever be seen as unlawful?

If that isn’t bad enough, then it appears there’s a new twist to the family business: literally make the post a family business. Who best to exemplify this but president-elect Donald Trump. In his discussions with world leaders, he isn’t shy about bringing in his children to sit in. Mind. Blown. In a bad, very bad, way. This businessman turned president of the US is also father to his children running the family businesses. We are looking at a minefield of conflict of interest issues right there. And they sit with him while conferring with other world leaders? Incredible.

Before we all say, well, this is just Trump being unconventional and putting his personal stamp (or maybe the family seal) on the presidency, please stop and think what all this actually means not just for the family but what ramifications it has for everyone whether they be in business — think unfair advantage — or politics, which is absolutely worse because it involves not just commercial relations but policies and foreign governments if not countries. That’s Trump, Inc. for you.

I mean, the king of reality TV is about to make the weirdest reality show yet: Living in the White House with the Trumps. There goes the neighborhood, and in this case, that means the whole world. Oh. My. God…

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