Well, the inevitable is happening. More and more Filipinos are starting to blame everything on Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino and his administration. Just like how most Filipinos blamed — or keep blaming — former President Gloria Arroyo for all the ills in the land, the number of men and women who are starting to hate BS Aquino with the same passion seems to be increasing every day. From the high cost of electricity to the death and destruction caused by typhoons, Filipinos are pointing the finger at the balding man in Malacañang.Blaming public servants they themselves elected into office will never go out of fashion in the Philippines. As they say, the search for blame is always successful. And blaming others for their own misery is something that most Filipinos are good at. Why not? Blaming is a much easier path to take than taking accountability for one’s actions. This no-worries attitude is like a sport even Filipino politicians play themselves.
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To be fair, this is not something unique to Filipinos. British philosopher Bertrand Russell once said that democracy is the process by which people choose the man who’ll get the blame. Obviously, BS Aquino didn’t know about this prior to agreeing to run for the Presidency. BS Aquino will find out what Russell means soon enough. For someone who has made a career out of blaming the previous administration even for his own shortfalls, the incumbent President should not be surprised now that the tables have turned.
Blaming others to save one’s self from embarrassment is a form of defense mechanism. People’s initial instinct is to deny that they have done something wrong. It takes maturity to realize that one cannot keep hiding from one’s error in judgment by blaming other people. It takes guts to say ‘my bad’ or ‘I was wrong’ or ‘I’m sorry’.
A lot of people do not realize it yet but when we own up to our mistakes, we actually learn from them. When we blame someone else, we don’t learn anything. This is precisely the reason why BS Aquino’s critics know that he is not learning anything when he makes mistakes. He is always blaming either GMA, her allies or imagined ‘conspirators’ for his own shortfalls. BS Aquino is living proof of that other saying ‘blame is just a lazy person’s way of making sense of chaos’.
The road that led some Filipinos to blaming BS Aquino for everything bad that is happening to them or the country is different from the road that led to GMA’s. For one, GMA did not come to power with a promise to get rid of corruption; BS Aquino however, did promise to eradicate corruption with his ‘Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap‘ campaign slogan. With the help of his allies in the mainstream media and the use of a public relations firm, BS Aquino successfully milked the so-called Ninoy-Cory Aquino legacy to capture the imagination of the gullible crowd. In other words, some of those who voted for BS Aquino in the 2010 Presidential election have come to the realization that they were duped.
While some of those who blame the government for their own shortfalls tend to have a strong sense of entitlement or squatter mentality, it’s hard to blame the people who blame BS Aquino. Here are some of the possible reasons why some people think that blaming the incumbent President seems like the right thing to do:
1. BS Aquino was not qualified for the Presidency. He knew this from the start and those who forced him to run knew it as well but they still pressured him to run and worse, he agreed. They saw an opportunity and thought he had a big chance of getting the sympathy votes immediately after his mother Cory Aquino passed away. It became apparent that BS Aquino and his party-mates were not really after the interest of the Filipino people. They just took advantage of the emotional response to a beloved figure’s death to gain power for themselves and the rest of their kaibigan, kaklase and kamag-anak or KKK.
2. BS Aquino taught Filipinos the art of blaming. He could not stop blaming GMA for everything even after his honeymoon period was over and he doesn’t want to stop even when he is already halfway into his presidency. He loves accusing GMA of being the main collaborator for every crisis that keeps cropping up despite GMA being under hospital arrest and under constant police surveillance.
3. BS Aquino promised to make life better for Filipinos. He made Filipinos feel that they do not have anything to worry about. He kept persuading people to trust him and pretended that he’s got everyone’s back covered. Who can forget his statement ‘Pwede na ulit mangarap‘ during his first state of the nation address? It sounded so ridiculous even then. Unfortunately, the Filipino people’s tendency to trust and leave everything in the hands of their dear leader is all in vain.
4. BS Aquino is not a good sport. He makes it a point to complain about his critics when he feels the pressure of criticism coming his way. He tries to ostracize those who criticize him by saying that his critics simply want the ‘old ways’ and not the ‘righteous path’ as if he has a monopoly on righteousness.
5. BS Aquino is only good when he is campaigning but not when he is working. When push comes to shove, BS Aquino would conveniently come up with excuses to be out of town or be in a cabinet meeting during a crisis in order to appear ‘busy’ or ‘unavailable’. What Filipinos have in BS Aquino is an absentee leader. He’s best at reacting to situations rather than being pro-active. He doesn’t have the ability to foresee and prevent a problem from escalating. This was evident when he dismissed the Sultan of Sulu’s followers who occupied Sabah. This degenerated into a deadly crisis and could even become catastrophic as more innocent Filipinos living and working in Malaysia become casualties in the bloody standoff.
At the moment, BS Aquino can pretend that he is still popular. But as protest scenes become increasingly common and as the boos get louder, the President who blames his thinning hairline and eye bags on his job can only blame himself for accepting a job he wasn’t fit for in the first place.
In life, things are not always what they seem.