[Opinion] Power corrupts… 

AND absolute power corrupts absolutely!

British politician Lord Acton may have been the first to state this truism in these words but he was not the first to apply it. The Roman emperors were so corrupted by their powers that they began to believe they were gods.

Brutus and members of the Roman Senate felt that Julius Caesar had become too ambitious and corrupted by the power they decided to assassinate him. Power also got into Napoleon’s head, prompting him to assume the title of emperor. He subsequently met his Waterloo.

In the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos and his family must have felt so attached to Malacanang and the “mining” privileges that came with it (this is mine, that is mine, those are also mine), he declared martial law, abolished the Legislature and the Supreme Court and made himself president for life. While he reassured the world that the Philippines remained a democracy, it was in fact a dictatorship.

Ruling with absolute power, the dictator and his wife helped themselves with abandon to the national treasury. It took a People Power uprising to evict them. The unkind joke was that the family and their retainers wanted to be brought to Paoay in Ilocos Norte, but their military escort misheard them and flew them instead to Hawaii. The joke further goes that the wife, Imelda, who is from Leyte, never relished being a Lawiswis Hawaiian.

The family members enjoyed their wealth while living in exile in Hawaii, a lifestyle that Imelda Marcos described as “impoverished.” However, they wanted to return to the Philippines to regain their lost power.

But President Cory Aquino would not let them. However, after Ferdinand Marcos died, Imelda and the children and their families were finally allowed by President Fidel Ramos to return to the country, on the condition that they would live in their home province. This time, the Philippine government made sure they would return from Hawaii to Paoay.

Like the indestructible cockroach, the Marcoses survived and rebuilt their power base, controlling the gubernatorial, congressional and senatorial offices, but always with their eyes on regaining absolute power.

But another family, this time from Southern Philippines, having occupied the Palace and having enjoyed the corresponding power and perks, wants to keep the privilege within the clan, never mind if they resort to dirty tricks to stay in place.

In preparation for the 2022 presidential election, President Rodrigo Duterte (irreverently nicknamed DoDirty) has not been modest about wielding his powers. Because he is not allowed by the Constitution to run for a second term as president, he is working on his opinions. One option is to amend the Constitution or Cha-Cha. DoDirty is said to have been inspired by his Chinese benefactor who made himself president for life by changing provisions of his country’s Constitution.

If this is not possible it is rumored that DoDirty has other options. The suspected DoDirty Trick is to dance around the presidential term limit by running as Vice-President to the presidential candidacy of his daughter, Sara, thus avoiding the complicated Cha-Cha.

After both win (the poll results are said to be Sarado and sigurado), the daughter will only be the nominal chief of state and the VP will actually pilot the ship.

That is one scenario. There are other scenarios, based on the principle of Confusion (not to be confused with the Chinese thinker, Confucius).

To keep the opposition Confused, the other option being foisted is a team-up of the presidential daughter and a senator whose campaign jingle is an adaptation of the old pop song, “Oh bongo, bongo, bongo I don’t wanna leave the Congo.” This option also reportedly provides for DoDirty to maintain his absolute powers.

This third option is to combine the powers of the North and the South plus the Visayas to add up to a tsunami-like win in 2022, with Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte running for president and VP, or vice-versa.

Of course, there is another option based on the idealistic principle that power – absolute power – is really in the hands of the people.

The long-suffering Pinoys have been known to rise up and wield that power before. It could happen again.

If you think, these things can happen only in a Banana Republic, think again.

The USA could become the Untied States if a lame duck named Donald is to be believed. This Donald whose original Germanic name must have been Donald Johann Trumpf (with the letters numbering the biblical 666) is an advocate of the Nazi principle that “a lie repeated often enough will be taken for the truth”.

Trump has been repeating and repeating and repeating the Big Lie that he actually won the election but was cheated by Joe Biden. This Lie has so thoroughly indoctrinated millions of supporters of the Republican Party also known as GOP (which used to stand for Grand Old Party but is now being used for a Grand Old Plot, which is to reverse the results of the elections).

By hook or by crook, Trump boasts that he will be installed as president by August. Trump and his trumpettes are even considering a coup.

According to recent polls, 56% of card-carrying GOP members have bitten the Big Bait — hook, line and sinker — making them Grand Old Puppets.

Sadly, the Grand Old Party that led the effort to abolish slavery in the country has now been trumped, its leaders appearing to be slaves of the lame-duck named Donald.

The lust for power may have so corrupted the leaders of the GOP that they have become brazen in their moves. The hell with what the rest of the world thinks!

First of all, they have begun to pass laws that restrict the ability and dampen the motivation of minorities to vote, particularly blacks in traditionally Republican states that flipped in favor of Biden.

Secondly, they have been making Trump’s Big Lie official by conducting audits of election results and the allegedly fraudulent voting systems in states where Trump lost to Biden — yet they are not auditing the very same system that resulted in the winning votes for Republican congressional candidates in the same states.

The Grand Old Plot is to let the audits drag on until the 2022 mid-term elections to enable the Republicans to regain control of the Senate and the House.

Thirdly, Mitch McConnell, GOP Senate minority leader, has admitted being 100% focussed on blocking Biden’s legislative agenda.

Note, however, that Trump is not the only Grand Old Power-hungry politician in the GOP. There are others who covet the presidency and are said to be setting up Trump for a fall. They may be portraying Trump as the absolute villain, doing all the dirty work as a prelude to life in prison.

Trump should ask. Do Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz and others covet power too? The obvious answer is: Absolutely! Are they capable of a Double-Cruz? Absolutely!

In the power game, Trump should not forget the dying words of Julius Caesar:

“Et tu, Brute?”

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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(gregmacabenta@hotmail.com)

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