Is it right for President Noynoy Aquino to actively campaign for his favoured candidates?

noynoy_aquinoSure it is not illegal. But is it ethical? Perhaps Filipinos are such a confused lot that they no longer are able to tell right from wrong. According to a Businessweek report, the amount of time and effort spent by the President is not insignificant…

Philippine President Benigno Aquino spent a third of his working days in the past two months campaigning for allies seeking seats in the senate, where he barely won the vote to raise tobacco and liquor taxes.

Indeed, even embattled Senator Loren Legarda who is currently reeling from controversy surrounding a posh Manhattan condo unit she allegedly owns and supposedly failed to properly disclose in her annual Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) is reportedly banking on BS Aquino’s seemingly unconditional support for his team and squeezing as much political capital out of it as she can…

On Monday, Legarda’s office released to the media copies of Aquino’s statement expressing support for the senator. Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda confirmed that the President issued the statement for Legarda, who is currently running for reelection under the administration slate.

“Throughout this campaign, Loren Legarda has enjoyed the overwhelming support of voters, which is in keeping with her longstanding status as a member of the Senate and a public official. She has a long and credible record of advocacies, which is the foundation for her public support,” Aquino’s statement read.

“I am confident that she is not only prepared, but will do her utmost best, to answer any and all allegations raised against her,” the President added.

A third of the working days of the President of the Philippines.

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How much is all this costing the Filipino taxpayer?

In doing this, no less than President BS Aquino has joined the endorsement racket and counts himself among people like “matriarch” of Philippine showbiz “Mother Lily” Monteverde who yesterday in a press conference also threw her support behind Legarda citing the Senator’s ability to balance family and work. But is BS Aquino being paid to be an election campaign pinup? Or is he being paid to run a country? Perhaps he should ask the Filipino people (who he calls his “boss”) what they think.

We then come around to wondering how much time President BS Aquino will be spending defending Legarda now that her problems further deepen. Just recently, Louis Biraogo, the “self-styled public interest advocate” and “businessman” who blew the whistle on Legarda’s alleged Manhattan property portfolio has reportedly filed graft charges against Legarda…

Legarda said she declared the property in 2007 under the SALN’s “other investment” column.

“There is nothing in her SALN for 2011 which indicates where the Park Avenue residential condominium unit is located in the United States, how respondent acquired the said residential condominium unit, its current fair market value, and whether or not there is any improvement on the property,” the complaint stated.

The SALN form requires public officials to identify the exact location of a property being declared, something which Legarda has never done, according to Biraogo.

Biraogo said he provided the Ombudsman the deed of sale from the New York Registry of Deeds, which shows that Legarda was the sole buyer of the condo unit, contrary to her claim that she only has about P7-million equity in the property and the rest was paid by her father Antonio and brothers Edgardo and Antonio, Jr.

Considering a senator’s salary of P75,000 a month, Legarda also allegedly failed to establish how she was able to buy the property through legal means during her term as senator.

Familiar? It sounds almost exactly like the prosecution’s mantra during the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona. Indeed, Legarda acting as “senator-judge” in that trial voted guilty under the rationale that not doing so “would tragically lift the floodgate for public suspicion and widespread distrust on the highest institution of our judicial system.” Consistent with this is Senator Edgardo Angara’s observation that “[Corona’s] willful and deliberate omission [in his SALN] amounts to a culpable violation.”

Yes indeedy.

Fellow senator Sergio Osmeña III noted that “public officers had been dismissed from office for failing to declare far less remarkable and less valuable assets in their SALN’s” while Senator Pia Cayetano reminded all that “Public office is a public trust. Once that trust is gone, we must step down to preserve the integrity of the position we hold.”

Growing resemblance?

Growing resemblance?

Perhaps Noynoy owes it to Legarda to spend as much of his presidential time and money to defend her. After all, he did spend even more of that valuable presidential time crucifying Corona. He may as well. One third of the President’s time (time funded by his boss’s tax pesos) spent on campaigning for his manoks will all go to waste if Legarda — the crown jewel of Team PNoy — gets nailed to the wall for this alleged indiscretion.

But then, we ask, all for what? According to Legarda herself, it is “a fellow reelectionist […] on the Team PNoy ticket [who] was behind the latest attack against her.” Yikes! On top of that one third of his presidential time on the campaign trail, Noynoy should’ve spent another third of his time building team esprit. Suffice to say, “Team PNoy” is really just an election winning machine — devoid of any philosophical or ideological underpinning. That’s about as much as the Filipino gets for all the taxes they pay to keep the president’s bum warmly planted on a comfy chair in Malacañang.

[Photo of Noynoy Aquino courtesy CNN Talk Asia.]

19 Replies to “Is it right for President Noynoy Aquino to actively campaign for his favoured candidates?”

  1. Integrity, intellect, independence, ideologies, and experience. Nowhere to be found.

    Instead the country will end up yet again with a batch of crooks, self-interested hypocrites, liars, nonentities, dynasty puppets, and nancy binay who takes this years lito lapid WTF! prize.

    It is hardly a surprise that the quality of laws passed are so bad, and time is largely filled with inconsequential legislation, that is, if they actually attend for more than roll call.

    P-noy is already defending his ‘crush’ loren legarda, whilst she stays quiet and will not answer the charges directly, hoping that they simply go away, courtesy of p-noys ombudsman.
    Legarda will have to repay p-noy for the favor.

  2. All this campaigning just gives the illusion of work. As in anything else I will always remember the words of Spock’s dad in Star Trek 3. “But at what cost Kirk?”. Then again it is not like he would have spent that time doing effective “presidenting”. He never has.

  3. It really doesn’t matter to me how much time he spends campaigning for his party as long as he doesn’t forget that he is still the president of the country. The way I see it, he is not doing a good job at being president, he should put more time and effort into that first.

    It is really unethical because as head of state, he should be fostering unity among the people, what he is doing in his campaigns in effect is fostering “kampi-kampi”.

    1. That’s right. A sitting president should be above partisanism (or at least should be seen to be above partisanism) in his role as leader of the country. As such his running around on the campaign trail for a ragtag bunch of people who can’t even get along amongst themselves is quite simply irresponsible given his demonstrated lack of skill in being President — which, he needs to be reminded, is his primary day job.

      Recall the earliest of the calls we were making to Noynoy back in 2009 leading up to his ascent to power in 2010:

      Be a man.
      Be a statesman.
      Be a PRESIDENT.

      This current personal hobby of his campaigning for “Team PNoy” is an absolute dereliction of his duties as president, not just in terms of the time and resources (all of which are accountable to the public trust) that he spends campaigning for his henchmen, but also in terms of the damage he is doing to efforts to mitigate the divisive effects of partisan politics on the already dysfunctional society that is the Philippines.

      I am the King!

      1. To the president: we ask you to stay at your desk and look over important motions, such as FOI and Charter Change initiatives instead of campaigning.

  4. Campaigning

    Whilst walking down the street one day a Corrupt Filipino Senator was hit by a car and died.
    His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

    “Welcome to heaven,” says St. Peter. “Before you settle in, you have you spend one day in hell and one day in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.”
    “Really?, I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,” says
    the Senator.
    “I’m sorry, but we have our rules.”
    And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes
    down, down, down to hell.
    The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green
    golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

    Everyone is very happy and they run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. They played a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and the finest champagne.
    Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who is
    having a good time dancing and telling jokes.
    They are all having such a good time that before the Senator
    realizes it, it is time to go.
    Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the
    elevator rises…

    The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens in heaven
    where St. Peter is waiting for him, “Now it’s time to visit heaven..”
    So, 24 hours passed with the Senator joining a group of
    contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.
    “Well, then, you’ve spent a day in hell and another in heaven.
    Now choose your eternity.”

    The Senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: “Well, I
    would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.”
    So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down,
    down, down to hell..

    Now the doors of the elevator open and he’s in the middle of a
    barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.
    The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulders.

    “I don’t understand,” stammers the Senator. “Yesterday I was
    here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable.
    What happened?”
    The devil smiles at him and says,
    “Yesterday we were campaigning, Today, you voted..”

    Vote wisely on May 13

    1. On the job? Or you mean on the job training?
      If that’s the case, then it would explain why he is so lousy at doing his job as president.
      U MAD?
      Troll harder,sir chief a.k.a. eduardo

  5. “Filipinos are such a confused lot that they no longer are able to tell right from wrong.”

    They are not confused. Most of them are brought up by their parents/guardians having no idea at all what is right and wrong.

    What is right for them is whether they could take advantage or exploit other people for their own personal benefits.

    Just look around the streets malls and almost everywhere. They move around without any organized (in a civilized standard) pattern. Just like scared rats and cockroaches they would bump each other in the sidewalks and even in pedestrian lanes. This is not mentioning the way most of them eat. Looking at the “individual differences” aspect, perhaps this really how most of them are biologically designed.

    1. Add up to that would be the filipino mentality of not caring about anything else but their own lives. The social disease of apathy. I think that a significant portion of the filipino people don’t even give a damn on who the elected officials would be or care if Noynoy is doing his job or not as long as they secure themselves of a secure and comfortable life. People would opt to choose the airconditioned comfort offered by malls than plank the streets of Mendiola and carry big cards expressing their woes. Until people would start minding the future of this country, believing in the power of the voice of the people, and ultimately caring for his fellow filipino, this country would just continue to go spiral down into the abyss of indifference and apathy.

      1. What more remedy can be done for this country? Majority of the people despise discipline. Their vision in life is only as far as their piss can reach. They want to make quick money regardless if it will cost them their soul or the lives of others. They are so proud to admit their own mistakes and accept any form of criticism. They look so timid and hospitable but very parasitic and wily in nature.

        Therefore, what can change the culture of this country and change the personal values of its citizens if the new generations (so called new hope of the country) are even more irresponsible and uncaring?

        1. They look so timid and hospitable but very parasitic and wily in nature

          I just had to Tweet that statement! It’s so true.

  6. it is done the world over,in democracies anyway.
    Presidents campaign for their respective parties candidates, especially in national elections.

    Aquino might be over-doing it but it is far from criminal or lacking in ethics.

    1. It’s not because “it is done the world over” does it mean that is not unethical. What he’s doing can be likened to a student getting ready to go out and have fun when there’s a lot of homework to do.

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