Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III is reportedly the subject of a complaint filed by officials of Anakpawis party-list to Commissions on Elections (COMELEC) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. BS Aquino is being accused of blatantly using bribes to buy votes for his â€œTeam PNoyâ€ for the coming mid-term elections in May 2013.
Apparently, the President along with Liberal Party candidates was seen distributing PhilHealth medical insurance cards to the public during their recent campaign rallies in Bohol. Unfortunately, Chairman Brillantes chose to dismiss the complaints and defended BS Aquino by saying that there is nothing wrong with the handing out of said medical cards. But of course there is something wrong not just with the handing out of taxpayer-funded benefits like PhilHealth cards during rallies, there is also something wrong with the picture of a head of state joining campaign rallies for his party mates running for positions in government.
In the first place, where does President BS Aquino find the time to travel to rallies held out of town? Doesnâ€™t he have enough on his plate to make him think twice about leaving the office for days like he was some sort of sales agent? The President obviously enjoys going out and meeting his celebrity-obsessed supporters during these sorties. He could be getting addicted to the validation he gets when his screaming fans treat him like a rock star. They say insecure people constantly need validation of their existence especially when they donâ€™t have a lot going for them. Most of us know that the only thing going for BS Aquino is his unwavering popularity with the irrational crowd. And most of us know that the media owned and operated by his friends and relatives is the only thing propping up his popularity.
Come to think of it, BS Aquino hasnâ€™t stopped being on campaign mode since he decided to run for the Presidency in 2009. And when I say campaign mode, I mean he still feels the need to give out feel-good motherhood statements even after three years in office. He has a lot of nerve to still make promises. Never mind that most of his promises have yet to materialize.
There are so many issues plaguing the country today but unfortunately, President BS Aquino only has time to make some light statements about them because his priority is campaigning for candidates who swear allegiance to the Yellow ribbon. Not even a standoff in Sabah between Malaysian forces and 100-armed Filipinos claiming to represent the Sulu Sultanate can stop the President from campaigning. The best BS Aquino could do to settle the standoff was to issue a threat to slap tax evasion charges against the heirs to the sultanate for non-payment of income tax payable associated with lease payments they are said to be receiving from the Malaysian government.
And not even the thought of a looming potential failure in elections due to claims that Smartmatic failed to include eight minor enhancements in the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines that will be used in the mid-term elections can distract BS Aquino from his campaigning. I guess it is not in BS Aquinoâ€™s best interests to highlight the fact that the same machines used to count the votes in the Presidential election in 2010 were defective, lest the people realize that he may not be the real winner after all this time.
Going back to Comelec Chairman Brillantes, whatâ€™s up with that guy? He has admitted to being an IT illiterate. No wonder he always seems to be on defense mode when doubts are raised as to the reliability of the PCOS machines. Whatâ€™s even more bizarre is the fact that his agency is fully aware of the machinesâ€™ deficiencies but is refusing to do something about it until the election is over. Whatâ€™s the point in correcting a potential threat to the credibility of the election process after the election is done? Hereâ€™s what he had to say:
â€œPwede naming idemanda ang Smartmatic kasi nasa option-to-purchase contract namin yong mga enhancements. Dapat ibigay nila,â€ he said.
But if the poll body decides to go to court, this has to wait until after the May 13 elections for which it is busy preparing, Brillantes said.
Gees…itâ€™s not like the election was only announced a few months ago. A lot of people have been pointing out the problems with the machines since 2010 but Comelec has been dismissing those concerns. When Brillantes finally admitted to the existence of these problems, there was still a catch â€“ heâ€™s now saying it is too late to fix them! It is not enough to stress again that President BS Aquino doesnâ€™t seem to care about the problem with the PCOS machines. It could be because he might be an IT illiterate as well and can only scratch his head when his staff bring up the subject â€œsource codeâ€ or even just the word â€œmachineâ€.
In another rally in Cebu, President BS Aquino asked the audience to give him â€œmore allies in the Senate who will not stand in the way of the administrationâ€™s programs.â€
â€œImbis na tumulong sa pagsagwan baka sila naman ay magsilbing angkla para hindi tayo maka-usad (Instead of helping us row, some candidates might be like anchors who will keep us from moving forward),â€ President Aquino said.
Well, the President seems to think that his political party holds the monopoly on great ideas. Itâ€™s bad enough that he doesnâ€™t welcome opposing views; whatâ€™s worse is that he has a reputation for strong-arming the other branches of government into doing what he wants.
A sign of a healthy democracy is when the government welcomes members of the political opposition. A great leader would be open to listening to all arguments from different political parties. And, likewise, a truly charismatic leader would use his wit and intelligence to persuade the public including the opposition to agree with his views without using bribes or sanctions that may include the denial of pork barrel funds, just like what happened during the signing of the impeachment complaints against former Chief Justice Renato Corona as pointed out by defense witness, Congressman Toby Tiangco during the impeachment trial in 2012.
Unfortunately, BS Aquino doesnâ€™t seem to know how democracy truly works. It appears he thinks that for his â€œDaang Matuwidâ€ to succeed, members of Congress should all come from the Liberal Party â€“ his party. He might as well abolish the other branches of government because what he envisions, it seems, is a one-party state system or an authoritarian state.
The problem here is that BS Aquino is no Lee Kuan Yew. BS Aquinoâ€™s priorities do not even serve to benefit the majority of Filipinos. Just look at where he wasted three years of his six-year term: to the incarceration of former President Gloria Arroyo, to the removal of Renato Corona from the Supreme Court, to the continuous persecution of GMA, and to campaigning for Liberal Party candidates. He could have done a lot of things really, if he wasnâ€™t too preoccupied with exacting revenge against his perceived political enemies. Now we see that he is not even beyond using PhilHealth cards to buy votes. There is no limit to how low BS Aquino would go to just to get what he wants.
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