War is now brewing between the Executive Branch of the Philippine government headed by President Benigno Simeon ‘BS” Aquino III and the Supreme Court headed by Aquino-appointed Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno. This is a path chosen by President BS Aquino after the epic fail that was his public address last Monday, the 14th July where he took an aggressive position towards the ruling issued by the SC earlier that the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) was unconstitutional.
This is a war that promises to tear apart the fabric of Philippine politics. And this will be the legacy of the Second Aquino Administration.
The opening salvo of the President following that 14th July declaration of war was his call to all “Filipinos” to wear the colour yellow in protest of the SC decision. Yellow has always stood for Laban (“fight!”) in the Philippines. So, again, it has become a war colour — not, as previously applied, against the perceived forces of evil, but one that stands face-to-face with the forces that uphold the rule of law.
That an incumbent president would encourage his subjects to wear partisan colours rather than the national colours reveals the deep malaise of the administration of President BS Aquino. Rather than unify his country, the President is driving a wedge through it. As I write this, winds and rains are battering the islands once again, and the legacy of several years of Aquino’s vindictiveness will soon be evident again — cancelled expenditure on critical infrastructure and services will be felt by the poorest of Filipinos as they battle the onslaught of power and public service distruptions and possibly floods and wind damage. But what is Aquino busy with nowadays? He is beavering away in petty politics conscripting a third branch of government to his “cause”.
The Philippines’ House of Representatives happens to be a hotbed of Yellowist hadliners loyal to the Aquino-Cojuangco feudal clan, and its members plan to go after the next supposed source of un-auditable public funds, the Judiciary Development Fund. Getting the House to kowtow to the President will be easy. It’s been done before, just recall the manner with which 188 of its “honourable” people’s “representatives” were bulldozed by a “furious” President BS Aquino into singing (without reading) the impeachment complaint against then Chief Justice Renato Corona. As such, the names involved in executing the President’s marching orders to the House headed by Aquino loyalist Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr will by now be familiar to most…
One of the bills was introduced earlier on Monday by Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr., the House justice committee chair, proposing the repeal of a Marcos-era law creating the JDF, described as the judicial version of the pork barrel.
Another bill was submitted last week by Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, the House justice committee vice chair, who moved to transfer the administration of the fund from the Supreme Court to the Bureau of Treasury.
To be fair, Tupas does make a good point…
Tupas told a news forum Tuesday his bill was “not a message” to the Supreme Court. “This is a system at work, of constitutional processes at work. It’s a system of checks and balances. In line with the Supreme Court’s decision that some discretionary funds are unconstitutional, we have to look at the JDF.”
…which is perhaps something Aquino’s camp in the ‘activist’ and showbiz community should take note of. There is, as Tupas points out, a system of checks and balances inherent in the Philippine government. One just needs to work the system to get things done.
Suffice to say, 2014 will likely mark the end of all these discretionary slush funds. And that will ultimately be good for Filipinos who have spent the last several decades of independence watching like dumb sheep as their leaders and “representatives” stole them blind with a smile.
So, yeah, war it shall be it seems as no less than the President digs in for the “fight” that has become ironically synonymous to the Yellow shade he prefers to wear to the office everyday. That will be quite a show; something that will likely amuse the generals of the People’s Republic of China. The World Bank (WB), however, may not be as amused. The Philippines owes billions of dollars to the WB. So hearing from no less than President BS Aquino that this circus is likely to put the country’s development “in a state of paralysis” may not go down well. It may also undo international perceptions surrounding the country’s risk profile as a parking lot for investment dollars — which could ultimately undo all the “hard work” President BS Aquino put into propping up the Philippines’ credit rating overseas.
And unlike real wars, this Pinoy-style civil “war” is unlikely to stimulate any of the sort of economic activity and scientific and technological advancement that have characterised previous ones. Perhaps the only people laughing all the way to the bank coming out of this will be auditors, accountants, and lawyers who will likely be buried under mounds of paperwork over the next two years until Aquino steps down in 2016.
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