Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte continues to fail to answer a very simple question that her boss President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III has faced since the beginning of his term — What’s next with Hacienda Luisita?
Of course it comes as a convenient feature of the most recent fielding of this question that the asker is none other than former Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona…
Corona was at the Department of Justice on Thursday to subscribe to his counter-affidavit to the P120.5-million tax evasion case filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
He said the tax case is still part of the governmentâ€™s persecution against him.
â€œSix months after the decision of the Corona court had become final in connection with the Hacienda Luisita, I am wondering why until now the lands are not yet distributed to the pitiful farmers, not even a single piece,â€ he added.
During his impeachment trial, Corona claimed the decision was one of the reasons Malacanang wants him out of office. Luisita has long been in the hands of Aquinoâ€™s relatives.
Valte goes the easy route and sidesteps the question by merely laughing it off, and responding off-tangently: â€œIt would be better if he answer first the tax evasion raps against him,â€ Valte says. Unfortunately for the Second Aquino Administration, the question of what seems to be emerging as the singular mission of President BS Aquino’s presidency (securing Hacienda Luisita from its subjection to agrarian reform) will not go away by simply laughing it off. In the first half of his term, BS Aquino has seized control of just about every institution that he perceives may stand in the way of his mission — railroading trumped-up impeachment charges versus Corona through the House of Representatives, turning the Senate into a kangaroo court, installing a lame duck and allegedly mentally-unstable lackey in the Supreme Court, and marshalling the awesome media resources at his cronies’ disposal to turn the Philippines into a nation of impressionable starstruck ignoramuses.
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[Photo courtesy Zimbio.]
With control that extends across the three branches of government, big-time commercial media, and the eyeballs and ear drums of every chicharon-chomping Pinoy, BS Aquino to be fair has achieved big time. Big time, at least, in the eyes of Uncle Peping who, just a short while ago, was likely among a number of “elders” of the Cojangco clan fuming over the failure of their MalacaÃ±ang investment to manage the safety of their family jewels in the early days…
[The Daily Tribune reported an inside source that revealed] that the plot to oust Corona was hatched at the Bahay Matanda, the ancestral house of the Cojuangcos after elderly members of the Cojuangco clan reportedy [sic] berated President Aquino for attacking members of the High Court which they believe was the reason the SC justices revoked the stock distribution option and ordered the distribution of the [Hacienda Luisita] sugar estate to its tenants.
â€œFrom the time of (President Ramon) Magsasay, the hacienda land was never lost. When Martial Law came, we still did not lose our land. GMA (Gloria Arroyo) and Cory had a fight during GMAâ€™s presidency, we Cojuangcos still did not lose our land. Now that that you (Noynoy) are president, we lose the hacienda!â€, the Tribune source quoted an elderly Cojuangco as he berated Aquino in the vernacular.
â€œYou are the reason for our loss of the hacienda, because even the Supreme Court you had to fight with!,â€ the elderly Cojuangco was further quoted as telling the President.
In a society whose collective credibility and brand equity is already severely hobbled by a chronic shortage of class, President BS Aquino lays waste to any remaining trace of class in the Philippines by continuing to rant and gloat about the plight of Corona and his other archrival former President Gloria Arroyo. The latter has recently been the subject of the vicious and tasteless humour of the President. In his recent official visit to New Zealand, BS Aquino cracked a joke in apparent reference to Arroyo saying that “Corrupt people in the Philippines have such flashy, expensive, and fast cars. But when they want to escape, they use wheelchairs.”
The blanket assumption Aquino and his mouthpieces continues to use in these unimaginative pronouncements is the so-last-decade presumption (and rallying cry of the then Patalsikin Na Now Na “opposition”) that the alleged corruption and thievery of Arroyo is de facto a given. Never mind that there are on-going proceedings following due process that are being followed to establish this properly.
The tired old basis of BS Aquino’s laban (“fight”) is that “everybody knows that Arroyo was a corrupt president.” But popular sentiment has a poor track record of carrying the most valid of ideas. The venerable Andy Grove, iconic former leader of tech powerhouse Intel Corporation wrote in 2005 about his experience with popular sentiment…
The best advice I ever got was from Alois Xavier Schmidt, my favorite professor at the City College of New York. A saying of his stayed with me and continued to influence me as the decades unfolded. He often said, “When everybody knows that something is so, it means that nobody knows nothin’.”
Our little research group at Fairchild [Semiconductor] some 40 years ago started to study the characteristics of surface layers that were the heart of modern integrated circuits. At that time, “everybody knew” that surface states, an artifice of quantum mechanics, would interfere with us building such chips. As it turns out, nobody knew nothin’: We never found any surface states; what we found was trace contamination. When we identified and removed this, the road opened up to the chip industry as we know it today.
Mediocre minds take comfort in being in line with popular sentiement. Brilliant minds, on the other hand, begin to worry when too many people agree with them too often.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.