Absolute power corrupts, just ask Erap and Bishop Bacani.
Like any disease, you sometimes won't notice corruption until it’s too late. It changes people, compromising their beliefs and altering their values in order to justify their behavior. It manipulates perception and allows the bearer to hide behind a cloak of impunity which can only go on for so long.
Lust for power becomes a hunger and it typically causes an immense downfall, both for the person in charge and the state he or she governs.
To put this in context, let's look at the most influential organizations in our country: the church and the state.
Take for example the recent scandal involving one of the Catholic Church's most influential leaders, Bishop Teodoro Bacani. Today's youth might not be too familiar with him, but he was one of the most prominent voices of the Catholic Church, particularly during the Martial law era, when he stood by Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin and became a pivotal force in encouraging the EDSA Revolution.
From there, he became one of the most-respected and revered leaders of the clergy. So just imagine the horror of the CBCP when his 35 year old secretary, Rosalyn, accused him of sexual harassment – a scandal which has already reached the Vatican.
We have heard several cases of sexual assault that involved priests, but this might be the first time that it involved such a high-ranking figure within the Catholic Church. Apparently, the sexual harassment had been going on for years, starting way back when Bacani was still a reverend in Caloocan.
Rumors alleging his sexual misconduct continue to spread, including one that dates back to the 80's when he was still posted in Paco. The rumor claims he allegedly had a romantic relationship with a woman with the initials MP.
As a response to the controversies surrounding him, Bacani decided to resign from his post as the first Bishop of Novaliches.
On the other side of the coin, Mayor Joseph Estrada filed an impeachment case against seven high-ranking officials of the Supreme Court back in 2003. Well, look who's talking?
The former President was exposed by Chavit Singson – no saint himself – as the country’s biggest ‘jueteng lord’. Erap was tried in the Senate for several counts of graft and corruption. The action-star-turned-politician, who had the audacity to run for the highest office in government without taking up any politics classes whatsoever, is the current mayor of Manila and plans to run for a 3rd term.
While his scandals continue, he still believes that he holds some sort of moral high ground. Erap is merely a shell of a man, a fledgling politician holding on to the last vestiges of power that he can while helplessly grasping for a hook to keep him in place.
These two figureheads showed us just how much power can corrupt. It’s influential yet morally lethal. It's glorious but ethically blinding.
We see now that no one is immune, not the priest and definitely not the statesman. At the end of the day, it's not how much influence you had but what you did with it that counts.
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