Philippine President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino is fed up with complaints about his administration. As far as he is concerned his critics can all go to hell because in his mind, he is doing an excellent job and no one can tell him otherwise. He will not accept any criticism even from his own allies. In fact, this is was what the President had to say to (former) ally Waldon Bello after the Akbayan Congressman wrote him a letter asking for the sacking of members of his cabinet who are involved in controversies:
He has so many complaints. My only advice to him is that, if he thinks only his views are right, in 2016, there are elections, he might want to run. And when he’s president, he can run things according to his vision,” Aquino said. “For now, I think I’m doing what I think is right.
There are so many things wrong with President BS Aquino’s statement. First of all, he contradicted himself once again. In a lot of occasions, he emphasized his willingness to listen to his bosses – the Filipino people. But apparently, his willingness extends only to the “bosses” who say “yes” to his term extension and to those who praise his administration.
Second, President BS Aquino’s statement seems to be saying that the head of state can do as he pleases without any accountability for his actions. This is evident in the way he dismisses calls for the sacking of alleged corrupt and incompetent cabinet members — some who are his close friends — and absolving them of any wrongdoing even before a formal investigation is conducted.
Third, President BS Aquino thinks that only those who win the election possess the credibility to provide solutions to the country’s problems. As if saying that ordinary Filipinos do not have ideas that could work. Sadly, he is not the only one in the Philippines who hold this irrational belief.
A lot of Filipinos would quite often challenge concerned citizens who criticize and point out what’s wrong with the government by saying “kayo na nga ang tumakbo” or to “just run for office and give managing a country a go.” Their thinking is flawed because a regular person does not have any chance of winning an election in the Philippines to begin with.
Unfortunately, the only candidates that get voted in by star-struck voters are the ones with popular names. Likewise, ordinary Filipinos simply do not have a chance against those who are already in office since the incumbents can use their pork barrel funds to buy votes and prolong their stay in power. Lastly, not everyone wants to work in government. Some people simply see and point out the problems when they encounter inefficiencies in government funded services and facilities. They express their frustration in the hope that the public servants will listen and improve the services. So asking people to run for office just because they complain doesn’t make any sense at all.
Even Waldon Bello, who is a prominent activist thinks he still needs an endorsement from someone like BS Aquino to have a chance at winning the election. Bello said that he’d only run for office if the President endorsed him. The chances of that happening after Bello annoyed BS Aquino is now nil. If he does decide to run on his own, people will just consider him a “nuisance” candidate.
When BS Aquino said that he is doing what he thinks is right, he came across as someone who is in desperate need of a reality check. Unfortunately, an arrogant man would rather die acting like a fool before he listens to people with “contrarian” views. His minders and rabid supporters do not help his cause. They exaggerate his capabilities and make him believe that he is god’s gift to the Filipino people. No wonder the President thinks he is doing an “excellent” job even when he is not. The victims of typhoon Yolanda can attest to this. They want him to resign for his government’s failure to address their basic needs a year after the devastating typhoon hit Tacloban City.
Another (former) ally who received some “advice” from the President is Vice President Jejomar Binay. In the same forum, BS Aquino dared Binay to sever ties with him if he had nothing good to say about the administration to which he belongs:
If he thinks we have shortcomings, he is a member of the Cabinet so he should tell us. If not, tell us how to improve the system. And that is not a choice for him to make but an obligation as a member of the Cabinet,” he said.
The President has a point except we all know that he doesn’t listen to suggestions. Considering VP Binay is the head of the opposition team and is even running for the Presidency in 2016, the last thing BS Aquino would want to do is listen to Binay’s advice on “how to improve the system” and make him look good to the voters. A lot of people say that the attacks being carried out on Binay has the President’s blessing. But since Binay is said to be close to the Presidential sisters, BS Aquino cannot go on an all out war similar to what he did to former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
The situation is so complicated because the President and Vice President are just forced to work as a “team” even when they don’t belong to the same team. BS Aquino can’t even fire Binay because since he is part of his administration, the President cannot admit to having a staff who has “failed” in his duties lest it reflects badly on him. And this is why the President chooses his words carefully when it comes to Binay, even praising him for doing “good job” as head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and as Presidential Adviser on OFW (overseas Filipino workers) Affairs.
BS Aquino is really in a bind. If he does not speak out against Binay, the people will think he is coddling a corrupt cabinet member. If he does speak out against Binay, the President could receive more criticism from the VP who may or may not know a compromising thing or two about BS Aquino. That is the last thing he needs.
My advice to BS Aquino is to stop acting too defensive when he gets criticized. Since he thinks his critics are not important to him anyway, there is no point focusing on them. He just looks pathetic when he complains about the people who criticize his government’s incompetence. He wants his critics to offer solutions but he wouldn’t recognize a solution even if it hit him. Otherwise, he would have fired Vice President Jejomar Binay, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes, Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima, and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad a long time ago.
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