No official event, no party, and certainly not the very Office of the President itself is exempt from being used as a soapbox for Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III to go on a rampage against his personal enemies. His most recent tirade was chucked during an address to the public on the occasion of the 150th birthday of national hero Apolinario Mabini where he slammed the Philippine Supreme Court (SC) anew referring to the judiciary’s own use of their own flavour of discretionary public funds to undertake their own pet projects. They “did it as well” asserts President BS Aquino and so, by his logic, he insists that “our method [too] was correct”.
But the correctness of that method had been decided long before the SC had ruled the president’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional. The premise of the SC ruling is simple: the projects that benefited from the funds allocated through the DAP were either underfunded under the General Appropriations Act of that year or were flat out not approved by Congress. Worse, if not even more bizarre, the allocation of these funds were done in consultation with a select cadre of Senators. Majority of Filipinos now find the timing of this “consultation” which occured over 2011 and 2012 (the timeframe over which President BS Aquino led the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona) extremely suspect and believe that much of these funds were used to bribe senators, at the time serving as “senator-judges” in that impeachment trial, into delivering a verdict preferred by the President.
President BS Aquino has so far demonstrated that he is really not serious about upholding his campaign promise to fight corruption and clean up government. Instead, he has focused on furthering his personal and clan vendettas. His first act as president was to lob trumped-up charges onto his predecessor former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Most of these charges had so far been dismissed for lack of evidence, yet Arroyo remains in prison. Then BS Aquino turned his sights on the former Chief Justice, bulldozing the complaint through a sheepishly complicit House of Representatives and then through an evidently pork-fattened Philippine Senate in 2012. And now the President has trained his crosshairs squarely on the Supreme Court, furious over the way they blew the DAP out of the water. Ironic, considering the Supreme Court had, itself, been virtually taken over by the Executive Branch when current Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno was personally handpicked by President BS Aquino to head the country’s highest court in late 2012.
And while the President was busy scorching the Philippines’ political and governance landscape with his adolescent tantrums and vendetta projects over the last four years:
(1) Nine innocent Hong Kong tourists died in a grossly-mismanaged hostage situation in 2010;
(2) Routine tropical storms swept through the archipelago killing tens of thousands of Filipinos in their wakes over that period many of whom died as a result of a lack of sufficient government support in basic disaster response and recovery;
(3) Delivey of justice for the massacre of more than 50 innocent people in Maguindanao allegedly perpetrated by local warlord Andal Ampatuan progressed at a snail’s pace (even as no less than an SC Chief Justice was prosecuted within less than six months);
(4) Power generation and distribution capability in the country was allowed to degenerate back to the stone age under the ownership of Indonesian taipans;
(5) A corruption scandal that has virtually paralysed Philippine Congress since last year, unprecedented in its scale and disruptiveness, erupted in the aftermath of revelations than billions of pesos had been lost to bogus non-government organisations (NGOs) allegedly headed by ringleader Janet Lim Napoles; and most revealing of all,
(6) The murder of President BS Aquino’s own father, former Senator Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino Jr, remains unsolved.
What else has the President been busy with to have grossly neglected all of the above? There is, on top of that four-year rampage of personal vendetta, the Bangsamoro ‘Framework Agreement’ — basically an exercise in negotiating with terrorists sanctioned by the Philippine and Malaysian governments. Many believe that all that was no more than an astoundingly foolish bid on the part of the President to bag a Nobel Peace Prize. Guess what: That too may be deemed unconstitutional as well. No less than Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, the chief government negotiator who had dealt with the terrorist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), had reportedly admitted that “the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) may be unconstitutional”.
So add to that a seventh (7th) epic Philippine government failure: the Philippine claim to Sabah sold in exchange for Kuala Lumpur’s stamp of approval on what has become a dud of an agreement with the purported “representative” of Filipino Muslims.
And to top ALL of that off, President BS Aquino has not unified but further and possibly irreversibly fragmented Philippine politics to even smaller smithereens by encouraging Filipinos to salute his family colours rather than stand up for the true national colours. But the worst in what will likely be a legacy marked by infamy will be his turning of the Philippine government into a national-scale Mexican standoff of warring government branches — Executive vs Judiciary, Judiciary vs Legislature, and Legislature vs Executive.
Filipinos do not need a government. The way Filipinos lived over the last four years under the Second Aquino Administration has hands down proven that fact convincingly. The government may as well collapse. Today.
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