A New York Times article has confirmed what some of us have been saying all along – that the root of the problem in the Philippines that the current government is facing today can be traced to former President Benigno Simeon Aquino. It is funny though how it had to take foreigners to validate what Get Real Post writers have been writing about for six years. This is what they had to say about the previous administration:
But the true roots of the problem can be traced to the administration of Mr. Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino III. That is because, experts say, the true cause of this kind of extrajudicial violence is the public’s loss of confidence in state institutions and its turning instead to more immediate forms of punishment and control.
Mr. Aquino, elected in 2010 on promises to support the rule of law and human rights, failed to fix the Philippines’ corrupt and ineffective justice system. His administration also faced a series of security-related scandals, including a hostage crisis in Manila in 2010.
And, perhaps most critical, Mr. Aquino was perceived as lazy and soft, unwilling to take the necessary steps to solve the country’s problems.
Frustration with the government’s inability to provide basic security led to rising public demand for new leaders who would take more decisive action to provide security.
It is also ironic that while BS Aquino’s supporters share the New York Times article because it is mostly critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s policy on illegal drugs, they gloss over the part where the NYT writer blames the former President for his failure to crack down on the drug trade and his failure to fix the slow justice system. BS Aquino’s supporters also turn a blind eye to the fact that the drug problem became an epidemic during his term. His government was given a list of politicians and members of the military and police who were involved in drug trafficking but they just sat on it. They also tolerated the way convicted drug lords continued to operate inside the prison walls.
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More importantly, BS Aquino also set a precedent for denying due process to his political enemies, which is why ordinary Filipinos have become frustrated with the Philippines’ justice system. They would now rather take matters into their own hands. This was what I wrote prior to BS Aquino stepping down:
The application of selective justice in the Philippines is the reason why Filipinos are getting increasingly frustrated at the current government. BS Aquino’s Daang Matuwid or so-called “straight path” only works for his friends and allies. No wonder Duterte’s vigilante style of justice has become acceptable to a lot of people. If the justice system is broken anyway, people think it is better to take matters into their own hands. They are tired of politicians like BS Aquino and Mar Roxas who say they are “decent’” but do not have any qualms about destroying people who get in their way.
Corona was never found to be guilty of corruption by a real court. His only offence was in the discrepancy in his Statement of Assets and Liability Net Worth (SALN), which by law, government officials are allowed to correct whenever discrepancies are found. Most public servants would be guilty of that but they are spared from the persecution Corona was subject to under BS Aquino and his minions. BS Aquino keeps bragging about being the first President to impeach a sitting Supreme Court Chief Justice. He couldn’t have done it without the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and pork barrel funds and a corrupt Congress.
It doesn’t take a genius to understand why majority of Filipinos approve of Duterte’s brand of justice. They waited for six years for BS Aquino to do something about the increasing violence in the country but they were disappointed. The media is only highlighting the killings now but incidence of drive-by shootings had become more brazen in recent years even before Duterte came to power. The people have become angry and helpless reading news about victims of rape, assault and robbery even in broad daylight perpetrated by drug gangs. To a lot of Filipinos, it is better that drug dealers and pushers be dead than innocent people, which is why they do not feel sorry hearing of people dying during police operations or in the hands of unidentified suspects. Some Filipinos even cheer when they find out drug dealers and pushers are killing each other.
People would accuse me of giving the situation my seal of approval. They are wrong. I am merely giving my own observation of what is happening in the country. I saw it coming. I am not entirely surprised that people are dying on the streets. Duterte did warn everyone that he would go after drug traffickers while he was still campaigning. Besides, life has always been cheap in the Philippines. The violence was ignored in the past because it involved mostly the lower classes. It is part of Filipino culture to ignore what is happening to others if it doesn’t involve members of their inner circle of family and friends. In the Filipino vernacular, it is called kanya-kanya. It is only now that there is outrage coming from so-called “civil society” because some members of the upper classes are now getting killed or caught in the middle of Duterte’s war on drugs.
In other words, some folks were in denial there was a problem to begin with. Again, that is the fault of BS Aquino who made people believe everything was under control. He was good at hiding problems or pretending there was none. This is why the news that there were city mayors who were coddling drug lords came as a rude shock to everyone. Even celebrities were not spared in the naming and shaming. If there is one thing positive about Duterte’s drug war, it appears that it doesn’t discriminate or favour anyone, rich or poor. Everyone involved in the drug trade is getting equal treatment.
The New York Times is saying that a culture of vengeful punishment is taking hold in the Philippines. This is nothing new. It has always been like that in the Philippines. It is still a primitive country pretending to be civilised. Most people don’t even understand the concept of rule of law. If they did, they wouldn’t have tolerated how BS Aquino treated his political enemies even back then.
In life, things are not always what they seem.