To be fair to President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III’s apologists, they have a point. What is the return on an investment in time, effort, and disruption related to the ouster of the president that Filipinos are clamouring for nowadays?
Indeed, perhaps it may be true that the “extra benefits” of ousting BS Aquino when he has just a little more than a year to go may not stack up to the costs involved. After all, the president already has five years of damage wrought upon the country behind him. There would have been much more to be gained had he been removed from office much much earlier; or, better yet, not voted into office to begin with. Perhaps, nine Hong Kong tourists would still be alive today. Maybe a lot of the infrastructure projects started before his ascent to power may have been finished by now. The Maguindanao massacre could have been resolved or well on its way to that end at least. More importantly, maybe peace in Mindanao will have been achieved — under the terms of the Philippine government rather than within a framework hopelessly diluted by the demands of a bunch of Islamic terrorists who presume to represent Filipino Muslimdom.
Unfortunately, President BS Aquino had for five long years been the Philippines’ reluctant president. On top of the profound damage he’s done to the national psyche — the key one being advocating the notion that the country’s wretched poverty is a direct result of corruption and, thus, absolving an entire people of responsibility for their personal fortunes — Aquino has squandered his time as president adding a layer of no results.
The nebulous notion that he’s implemented “reforms” that supposedly put a severe dent on the endemic corruption that, we are told, is hobbling the country’s march to progress is built upon his singular key achievement of impeaching former Chief Justice Renato Corona. Ironic, considering that this seminal “achievement” was found to have been funded by dirty money paid to crooked “senator-judges”. From whatever angle you look at this case of blatant political trickery, all the money trails lead back to President BS Aquino. Belatedly (but better than never) the mechanism used to funnel all this dough to crooks in Philippine Congress, the cleverly-worded Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), was declared illegal by the Supreme Court.
And the lying. Oh, the lying. President BS Aquino has spent the last five years sacrificing the honour of his presidential word at the altar of his Yellow compadres and partners in crime. Lying about pork. Lying about his dealing with China and the role his henchman ‘senator’ Antonio Trillanes played in the duplicitous backchanneling that cost the country a fortune in diplomatic capital with the regional elephant. Lying to the public about the government’s level of disaster preparedness. And now lying about not being responsible for coddling murderous Islamic terrorists even after they butchered 44 of the Philippine police’s finest.
Which is why all of his speeches suck — because they were all really just disguised cover-ups of all of the above lies. No other president in the Philippines’ history has ever delivered cringeworthy speeches as consistently as President BS Aquino. It is, indeed, difficult to be eloquent when you have stacks of lies to gloss over and lots of failures to spin positive stories around.
Not surprisingly, his handlers’ primary appeal to the public is to cut the president some slack. He deserves a break, as their thinking goes, for his transgressions because it was all done in “good faith”. He can be excused for his insensitivity because he lacks a wife to keep him emotionally levelled. He deserves all the breaks in the world because he is The Reluctant One — “dutifully” taking up the call to service that rang across the nation following the death of his mother.
Tough luck for Filipinos then. Their voters ate that all up electing a reluctant unqualified presidential candidate who would later capitalise on that very archetype he filled to engineer all of the above excuses. Convenient indeed.
As to the idea of the Vice President happening to be none other than Jejomar Binay being made out to be the “major cost” of a BS Aquino resignation or removal, well, I must say I am really not that surprised that Aquino apologists would come up with an argument like that. That Binay is made out to be the biggest reason to keep Aquino in office says a lot about the intellectual arsenal brought to bear by Aquino’s apologists. Might we remind everyone that Binay was also elected by popular vote to be next in line as President of the Philippines should the president fail?
There’s no point in that, of course. The idea that, in a democracy, leaders are a reflection of the voters who elected them is lost in the sorts of minds that elect — and continue to apologise for — people like BS Aquino. That both the offices of the President and Vice President are occupied by men Filipinos now despise says a lot about what sort of society the Philippines is home to.
Where to then given the bind Filipinos find themselves in — stuck with a failed president who will likely spend the rest of his term hiding behind his late mother’s yellow skirt? That’s not such a difficult future to face. Filipinos, after all, have muddled through nationhood since Day One. Presidents may come and go, but the constant in Philippine society is a predisposition to latching onto all the wrong arguments and, failing to learn from the consequences of that habit. Year in and year out.
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