There are a lot of reasons why the Philippines remain a laggard. The country has fallen behind its neighbouring countries that started out the same way – impoverished after suffering the devastating effects of wars. One of the reasons why the Philippines’ status as a Third World country remains unchanged is because of greed. The term “greed” used to be synonymous with the country’s favourite whipping boy – the late former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. But not anymore.
Yes, In the last three decades, most Filipinos would immediately blame Marcos and his family for the country’s lack of progress until the people came to their senses and started to realise it’s been more than 30 years since Marcos left the Philippines but the country is still the pits. Then the people started questioning what the succeeding Presidents had done about the problems plaguing the nation. After all, the country’s problems simply cannot be blamed solely on one man or one family alone especially since that family was not even in power for decades.
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Among all the previous Presidents that came after Marcos, former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III was the most vocal critic of the Marcoses. He frequently referred to the Marcos years as a dark time in Philippine history. Never mind that it was during Marcos years when major infrastructure works and facilities that are still being utilised today throughout the country were constructed.
I suppose BS Aquino had an axe to grind since the Aquino family had to live in America for a few years in the 1980s. Mind you, they weren’t exactly living in misery. They actually lived comfortably in Boston, Massachusetts. They lived there after Marcos allowed their father, the late Senator Ninoy Aquino, who was jailed for conspiring with the communist insurgency, to seek medical treatment in the US. But the media allied with the Aquinos made it look like the family suffered immensely during their stay in the US. This was a story they kept propagating to the public even though it was far from the truth. But I digress…
The point is, from Day One to the very last day of his term, BS Aquino kept blaming Marcos and his predecessor, former President Gloria Arroyo for all the ills in the land. His tactic was to paint others in a bad light in an attempt to divert attention away from his own shortfalls. Unfortunately, this tactic eventually backfired. The public grew tired of him constantly blaming past Presidents Marcos and Arroyo specifically while mismanaging the country when he was at the helm. His party – the Liberal Party – suffered a colossal loss due to his incessant tirades.
To be fair, it’s not just BS Aquino’s fault. Media outlets allied with his family helped his downfall. They inadvertently highlighted that the Aquino name is synonymous with vindictiveness and lack of substance. Media’s own incessant replays of the EDSA People Power Revolution made people weary of something that did not deliver the changes that the country needed to move forward. Instead, the so-called “revolution” was exposed as a sham that only put the wrong people in power – people who were not only greedy, but also arrogant.
Since leaving office, BS Aquino has retired from political life. He could not even be bothered to attend President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Addresses since the latter took office. But something changed. Lately, BS Aquino has been very vocal about Duterte’s policies particularly his policy on illegal drugs and Duterte’s handling of China’s intrusion on the South China Sea.
BS Aquino is suddenly very opinionated and is speaking out against his successor’s policies as if he had done a lot for the welfare of Filipinos during his term. In a comment, he rebutted Duterte’s claim prioritising human lives instead of human rights and said it is not possible to separate the two. The former President also cited his father’s mantra “if you allow the rights of another person to be violated, you are paving the way for your own rights to be trampled upon”.
That’s quite ironic coming from a guy whose father was convicted for conniving with communists who committed horrible crimes against the government and ordinary people. Their group obviously believe in the saying “the end justifies the means” since they believe their cause — to take control of the government and replace it with an authoritarian communist system – is greater than human lives and human rights and committed crimes against humanity. For decades, communist rebels have been wreaking havoc in the Philippines. They even claim responsibility for killing members of law enforcement agencies and engaging in extortion against businesses in rural countries.
BS Aquino’s record of championing human rights and human lives is appalling. Extra-judicial killings were rampant during his term and his government’s incompetence and arrogance had resulted in avoidable deaths since Day One. Who can forget the way his buddy Rico Puno bungled the Luneta Hostage crisis when he was Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) undersecretary for police operations in 2010? That resulted in the deaths of eight Chinese tourists. Another one of his buddies, Alan Purisima also bungled a covert operation when he was Chief of the Philippine National Police, in Mamasapano, Maguindanao that resulted in the massacre of 44 Special Action Force commandos. In both of these cases, BS Aquino failed to show compassion for human lives and human rights. Hopefully, the charges against him will finally bring justice to fallen.
Evidence of the previous government’s misguided policies are slowly surfacing now that his previous allies are speaking out. Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, who is a known Liberal Party supporter, is now insisting that the Philippines lost control over the Scarborough Shoal under the BS Aquino government. Cayetano is demanding that Aquino reveal details of discussions between China and Senator Antonio Trillanes who BS Aquino asked to travel to China sixteen times to negotiate the disputed islands on his behalf. Assigning a convicted mutineer with zero experience in foreign affairs is probably the height of BS Aquino’s stupidity. But of course he is still showing arrogance in his response to Cayetano’s demands. Instead of addressing the issue, he chose to comment about Cayetano’s receding hairline.
The real question is, why is BS Aquino so vocal lately? The timing is quite suspect. It could have something to do with former President — and now House Speaker — Gloria Arroyo’s return to power. It definitely highlighted his failure as a leader. Arroyo’s five-year detention was supposed to be BS Aquino’s pièce de résistance in his “fight” against corruption, but since the charges against her were dropped, she was free to make her way back up. Now BS Aquino and his allies can only cry about the supposed “death” of democracy in the country.
Someone ought to advice BS Aquino to remain quiet since every time he mocks the people who are in power now, it just highlights the fact that he didn’t use his time in office wisely. For instance, he had the nerve to ask what Arroyo can accomplish since her term is about to end in a few months. He is obviously speaking from the point of view of someone who did not accomplish anything significant in six years. He should watch and learn how his former Ateneo economics professor uses her skill to turn the economy around. After all, he benefited from her previous economic policies during his term.
People like BS Aquino who had their chance and ruined it should now get out of the way of people who have concrete policies in addressing the problems facing the nation. They are not relevant anymore since their credibility is gone. Only their greed and arrogance are evident. They should be banished not just from Philippine politics, but also in society.
In life, things are not always what they seem.