Philippine President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino speaking as a ‘private citizen’? I’m no expert on protocol but in my book, when one assumes the office of head of state and government, one lives and breathes the role for the entire length of the term. So as far as Noynoy is concerned, I believe there is no such thing as Noynoy the man-on-the-street. As far as Filipinos are concerned, Noynoy is The Man — the most powerful government official on the islands.
Apparently The Man fails to appreciate the nature of his job. For that matter, it is not just a job, it is the job. The biggest Prize in Philippine politics.
Noynoy continues to exhibit the true nature of his regard for his role as Leader of the Filipino People. Last Wednesday, the 23rd of March, in a speech before the Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) in Cagayan de Oro City, Noynoy let out a blatantly partisan tirade against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez who is currently the subject of an impeachment proceeding making its way up to the Senate…
Aquino said: “As the Senate prepares to try the Ombudsman, I urge you to support this and other efforts to fight corruption.”
“Together, we can eliminate the dark elements that hinder us from the true and lasting change that we have long hoped for. Together, we can end the systematized corruption that has prevented our country from fulfilling its vast potential,” Aquino said.
“We must continue tapping into this spirit of bayanihan that runs in our blood in order to finally lift this country together, as fellow Filipinos, back to its rightful place under the daylight,” he added.
Aquino said the impeachment of Gutierrez is part of the government’s efforts to curb corruption in the country.
Firstly, Noynoy obviously fails to appreciate the stature of the Philippine Senate as an independent branch of the Philippine Government and a peer of the Office of the President. Presumably, Noynoy was invited to speak before the PEB as President and not as a private individual. So such statements made public in a speech that he presumably delivers as President of the Republic is downright disrespectful to the Senate and irresponsible. Second, the “Articles of Impeachment” brought forth by the House of Representatives to try Gutierrez in the Senate articulate mere allegations and, as such, no state-sanctioned judgment has yet been made as to Gutierrez’s guilt. So for the President to be making statements that effectively drum up public sentiment in favour of a personal opinion about the guilt of a person-of-interest in a Congressional inquiry is, to say the least, grossly inappropriate.
Indeed, this speech as President sounds more like a speech that would have been delivered by a Presidential candidate. Does Noynoy still believe he is on the campaign trail? Somebody ought to wake him up! As it turns out, Noynoy does hide behind his I-am-but-a-humble-citizen-of-the-Republic campaign tagline, yet again…
“I may be President but I am also a citizen of this republic. As a citizen of this republic, I am really not happy with the performance of the Ombudsman and her people.”
Aquino said his position about the Ombudsman’s impeachment is clear to the public.
“I think Iâ€™ve said enough. I think my position is very clear. Again Iâ€™m expressing not just President but Iâ€™m expressing my opinion as a citizen who demands a certain level, shall we say, of quality of functions of public service,” he said.
But of course, Your Excellency. This imagined entitlement to a private life even as you sit on that lucratively comfy throne in Malacanang was something you used as an excuse to buy yourself a shiny new Porsche a while back. Perhaps to be fair, the public gave you an unnecessarily hard time over a car that most swinging bachelors salivate over. But in comparison to this personal opinion you make while delivering a speech as President, buying a German sportscar is absolutely harmless. In this instance, Noynoy managed to outdo himself once again.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.