Focus on retribution by the Aquino Government had undermined both the economy and institutional governance

Why the focus and circus around retribution while more pressing and forward-looking initiatives like growing the economy, for one, languish at the bottom of media hyping priorities? It could be because Filipinos are culturally predisposed to being retrospective rather than prospective in the way we think.

Back in 2009 just as the campaign of then presidential candidate Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III was kicking off, I proposed that we evaluate ourselves as a people and reflect over whether we are fixated on the past or looking to the future

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Are we a people fixated on the past (retrospective) or focused on the future (prospective)? The way that we as a people seem inclined to regard the coming 2010 presidential election provides some insight into how we might answer that question.

We seem to be generally retrospective in the way we evaluate our candidates. The thing with being retrospective in our evaluation is that it is easy. Data is readily available. As such retrospective approaches to evaluating political candidates abound on the Web. The retrospective approach is so prevalent that it utterly dominates the national “debate”.

A good case study of the sort of backward-looking approach to thinking that Filipinos are stuck in is in the style of discourse of the Aquino administration’s most influential bagpipe player columnist Conrado de Quiros. Back in 2009, de Quiros wrote what pretty much amounted to a manifesto of the Aquino campaign (and one which was to guide the subsequent Second Aquino Administration as we now observe). In his seminal 2009 piece It is Good versus Evil, de Quiros described an analogy to recent American politics to describe the Filipino situation at the time…

Barack Obama didn’t just represent an “alternative” to George W. Bush, he represented an end to centuries-old oppression, breathtakingly embodied by Bush. He represented the long journey of Kunta Kinte to freedom, armed with Martin Luther King’s dream, “We shall overcome.” If he did not, he would not have brought tears to the eyes of the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Oprah Winfrey when he won. If he did not, he would not have won.

Deductive vs inductive evaluation

De Quiros’s and his ilk’s approach to thinking is the worst kind of deductive thinking — one based on incomplete data or information that is deliberately framed along narrow lines. It is the kind that routinely adds to the ballooning miseries of this world — from the assumptions made based on historic “trends” that resulted in horrific financial crashes to the it-can’t-happen-again attitude that characterises the safety strategy of the Philippines’ passenger shipping industry.

In the above examples I cited, incomplete bases are proposed for voters, pundits, and “experts” to make a deductive analyses of how a candidate may perform in office. It’s like reading about how Germany and Japan started World War II and then concluding that World War III will most likely be started by those two countries.

Cut to the present and we see now how Noynoy’s monomaniacal focus on crushing former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is sucking out all semblance of perspective from his government. The kernel of the “platform” (if you can even call it that) of the Second Aquino Administration remains the rather quaint tagline Kung walang kurap, walang mahirap (“No corruption means no poverty”). The thinking around this slogan goes like this:

The Philippines has had a long history of corruption. The Philippines has been an impoverished country for much of that history. Therefore eliminating corruption will result in an elimination of poverty.

Building around that spectacular display of flawed thinking, Aquino and his henchmen now put up the proverbial photo of Arroyo on the proverbial dart board and invite the nation to vent their spleen against that effigy — effectively distracting the public from his so-far lackluster and woefully disorganised effort at building a strong economy. If it weren’t enough that practically zero results have so far been achieved, Noynoy’s approach may have even subtracted from the equity built up from the previous administration. Wallace Business Forum consultancy president Peter Wallace observes how

The drive to root out corruption has led to much lower-than-expected government spending and delays in putting infrastructure projects out for tender as deals are reviewed and the government sets to build watertight contracts.

Wallace said had spending been as planned in the first half of the year, annual growth would have been 6.3 percent – more than 50 percent stronger than actual growth of 4 percent.

The payoff of hitting graft would be a cleaner and more open system in future, which should lead to better growth and more investment, but that is not a guaranteed outcome.

More importantly, Aquino’s legal team had all but bungled a rushed effort to shore up a no-results five-year run around at putting legal substance to accusations of plunder and fraud being thrown at Arroyo when Department of Justice Leila De Lima baldly defied a Supreme Court Order to lift a travel ban Malacañang had imposed on Arroyo who, at the time, was seeking medical treatment abroad. We can then add on top of time wasted muddling the economy along for the last 500 days, the plunging the country into a dangerous constitutional crisis, the ramifications of which we might not yet fully appreciate. To do appreciate so requires us to be a bot more prospective and a bit less retrospective in the way we think.

15 Replies to “Focus on retribution by the Aquino Government had undermined both the economy and institutional governance”

  1. we have live wih too much “democracy” after cory aquino came to power. the country in in a silent state of anarchy. theres too much keptocracy in government with widespread disatisfaction of the masses. climb to economic stability is paramount priority.

    what we need is order first. and to have social order, an authoritarian system just like the early years of martial law, and that of SG. without economic stabilty, progreesive social democracy is doubtful.

  2. Der fuhrer’s word is the law of the land! His fixation of obsessive hatred against the pinned yellow star of David, Arroyo family shows his great genius and state of mind! Puny democracy is not his way! His “no corruption means no poverty” slogan is really designed to eliminate his and the nutzie state’s perceived enemies! Believe! There are no scapegoats,distractions and political circuses in his effective management of reich state prosecution!

    Zero corruption is sustainable in his brilliant assessment that truth, justice and the reich volk are behind him all the way! His next targets are the corrupt tongress and senatong officials who like to scream and shout at presented witnesses! Their screaming and shouting is a dead give-away of moral corruption and power tripping! He is after all der Fuhrer! Above suspicion and blame! The reich blitzkrieg war on corruption should be done on all fronts including the reich palace, the state ministries and the city, town and village governments! Der fuhrer should focus on ALL of these and not on the yellow star of David alone! Der fuhrer is supposed to be the example for all to emulate! He is truly the master of the nutzie yellow race! Sieg heil! Zu befehl!

  3. The reich ministry of propaganda is a powerful communications group! It is not true that they subscribe to the late nutzie minister of propaganda’s dictum of repeating lies over and over again which will be believed as the truth! It is not true that they have exercised the power of state censorship over the electronic net! It is all lies! The allegations of a fifth column are also lies designed to defeat the corruption blitzkrieg campaign against der Fuhrer’s perceived enemies and enemies of the nutzie state!

    It is true that the reich ministry of propaganda has a bloated budget! But this is only to make it supreme in the see-saw battle of lies and truth! The image of der Fuhrer as der true and pure son of the master yellow race must be defended at all costs! There is no truth that the reich ministry of propaganda pays rotten journalists to promote canard and defend the totalitarian actions of der great fuhrer! His, pictures, acts, statements and famous news quotes speaks for itself! Truly the great leader of the nutzie master race!

  4. Der Fuhrer must not focus too much on the pinned yellow star of David Arroyos! This extreme focus can give him too much tension leading to health problems! Tension is not good! It is not true that he suffered disorientation when he arrived late at the APEC meeting in Bali! This is a blatant lie coming from the hated pro-democracy newspapers! His nutzie state of mind is brilliant and pure genius!

  5. There isn’t any study saying corruption is directly related to the impoverishing of the Philippines. Chances are corruption is more a separate development, and may be an obstacle to implementing changes to policy that are in turn meant to repair the country. Yes, corruption is a problem, but it is not the only problem and it is not the biggest problem.

  6. The tactic that Noynoy Aquino is using now; is the same tactic that his mother , Corazon Aquino used in her administration. Corazon Aquino, diverted our attention with her search for the non-existent Marcos fortune. Prosecuting anything that are of Marcos.
    However, she put the Land Reform Law on hold; to protect her Hacienda Luisita. The Hacienda Luisita was Swindled from the Filipinos, by the Aquinos and the Cojuangcos. Cory Aquino,and Ninoy Aquino, Jr., were the facilitators of the Swindle…
    Diversion is the tactic Noynoy Aquino is using, with the aid of the Lopez Media. To cover up his incompetence, and his Psychiatric problems…

  7. Gerechtigkeit Fuhrer! Reich Gestapo Chief Delima recently warned reich trial court judge Mupas! He was told to be “extra careful” in granting to the pinned yellow star of David, GMA a request for house arrest!

    Der Fuhrer made a truly brilliant decision in carefully choosing his equally gifted Gestapo Chief! Truly this is a great nutzie dictatorship! Heil the true and pure son of the master yellow race! No democracy can stand against him! Heil Gestapo Chief Delima for her sterling rendition of nutzie justice! Sieg Heil!

  8. Der Fuhrer is very proud of Gestapo Chief Delima! It is not true that she is a psychopanth! It is not true that she believes in political expediency in the uber superior act of defying underlying principles of the puny democratic constitution! All this for der Fuhrer! This is to continue interfering in the judicial reich trial court by way of power peddling and influencing!

    It is true that many of the pro-democratic people have ridiculed her as a schweinhund! They accuse her of violently oinking/squealing against the enemies of the state on one hand, while she whines and gently barks at the fuhrer on the other hand! Frau Delima is truly a brilliant nutzie adviser and inquisitorial prosecutor against the yellow star of David Arroyos!

    It is true that the promising Gestapo Chief is considering to run for a political post as reich nutzie senatong! I am sure der Fuhrer will richly support and reward his uber loyal servant when the time comes! Der nutzie state is truly the greatest! Sieg heil!

    1. We may be laughing on the self proclaimed “Fuhrer”…with his SS Chief De Lima, acting as SS Chief Himler.
      Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany was certified by his Psychiatric Doctor, who discharged him from the military , as World War I veteran; to be suffering from: Depression; Paranoia; Extreme Phychosis – Serious Mental Illness…Yet, he became a German Chancellor, A Fuhrer and a Dictator…that gave Germany: War and the Holocaust, great suffering and embarassment , for the German people…so…be vigilant…

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