Text by July Rada 
Illustration by Tone Dañas 

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Three presidents of the Philippine republic have come and gone and still, the supposed “mega-merger” of state banks remains in some kind of suspended animation.

The merger plan involving the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines dates back to the Arroyo administration.

Proponents of the merger are harping on the benefits that it will bring, such as annual savings of around P975 million and the creation of a “super bank” whose assets will exceed P4 trillion, pole-vaulting itself to the top of the trillionaire's list.

Now here comes Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno trying to score a “podium finish” in banking history. He is aiming at a winning buzzer-beater of a “three-point-shot” if it were a basketball game.

By being able to clinch the “mega- merger” deal, Diokno will have done better than all his predecessors combined.

First to float the idea in 2005, Margarito Teves was then hard-pressed for revenue to paper over a gaping budget deficit besetting the Arroyo administration.