The Heart of Philippine Politics
Throbs with Gratitude
By Apolinario Villalobos
With the President’s asking the opinion of the Congress on how the “saving” should be defined, did he commit another error?
Most congressmen were recipients of the DAP fund and they will surely come up with a definition which will be self-serving to save themselves from being investigated after the Supreme Court has declared the program, albeit, some parts of it, as unconstitutional. It is a public knowledge that even when the move to impeach the President will reach Congress, it will all just be for show, as majority of the Congressmen supports the President. Prof. Briones, a former government official who worked as a National Treasurer, has been insisting that the right definition of the word is in the Constitution. The Congress is not the right “party” to define what “saving” is, if that what the President meant when he threatened the Supreme Court that he will consult a “third party”. As a Treasurer, she was considered as among the most knowledgeable regarding the handling of public funds. And, what will happen if the Supreme Court would not agree to what the Congress has “concocted”? Will that be what Filipinos fear as “constitutional crisis” which will necessitate the meddling of the military?
The insistence of Pnoy in justifying his handling of the DAP is understandable, as he is approaching the end of his term, hence, his steadfast attitude in his desire to “finish” as many “projects” as he could to show the world that he did something for his country. His honesty is without blemish and his intention is commendable, though, clearly with a taint of Machiavellian principle in which, the means is justified by the end. Meaning, if the result is good, don’t mind how it was accomplished. For an honest guy like him, it may be alright, but what happens when the country has chosen a president with questionable character, a plundering kind, and would find ways to circumvent the Constitution, thereby, adding more travails to what the Filipinos are suffering from now…all because he has set a precedent? Clearly, looking at the aspirants for the highest post of the country, nobody can be perceived with a clean-enough reputation, as shown by expositions on their involvement in anomalies are concerned. Clearly, too, compared to Pnoy, all of the aspirants are way below the line of honesty. Again, the people’s apprehension is on the word “precedent”.
Remember the congressman who tried to pass a bill to change some provisions in the constitution with the phrase: “unless otherwise, provided by the Law” so that quick changes can be made in the halls of Congress to encourage the establishment of businesses by foreigners in the country? The question is, who makes the Law?…the barbers?… the vendors?…the drivers?…the teachers? That congressman epitomizes the state of our lawmaking bodies! And this is what the Filipinos do not want to happen – the crippling of the Constitution which has already been mangled by one of the past administrations. And now, Pnoy is consulting the Congress with questionable credibility, and asking for a Law that will justify his DAP!
There is a consistent popular show of disgust on how the DAP was handled. Headlines of newspapers practically shout it out. For weeks, even before he delivered his supposedly hollow State of the Nation Address (SONA), rallies were held denouncing it, radio commentators were and still are one in condemning it, and even the ordinary citizens are still very vocal about their ill-feelings towards it. How can the president, then, maintain his seemingly ignorance about the building up of hatred towards his administration? Is he not properly informed about what are happening outside Malacaῆan Palace? Is his family not extending enough support to him, by at least, honestly telling him the real on-goings? Does he not have a few minutes for reading, at least one newspaper, or at least, glance at a headline, while having coffee?
He has been committing blunders, the worst of which is his adamant holding on to his “trusted” secretaries who are being clamored to leave their posts. His SONA did not do him any good, as he mumbled the same egoistic pronouncements. Even his dramatically breaking voice that showed his hurt feelings about the general mistrust toward his Administration, did not help him a bit. As if the lackluster show, backed up by mechanical clapping of hands was not enough to give him a lesson, he practically ran to the Congress afterwards for help….to that edifice where, the people know, is where his supporters that comprise the majority, lurk! With that move, what will he expect as to how the Filipinos would react?
There is a general impression that the President is practically, being influenced by the people around him, much to his disadvantage. Looking back, that is how his mother, the late and former President Cory Aquino was perceived by the Filipinos who seemed to have woken up one day – filled with regrets, after they virtually gave the power to her on a silver platter when Ferdinand Marcos vacated Malacaῆan Palace.
It is unfortunate that instead of unifying the country and lead the Filipinos towards what he repeatedly call the “straight path”as his last face-saving effort, Pnoy, the “beloved” President of the Republic seems to have chosen the wrong path towards more trouble. His “straight path” is now being touted as one, with plenty of potholes, thorny weeds, and rocks!
There is more “fund” in the Philippines…more fund for the pockets of politicians and lawmakers…more fund for their endless junkets abroad with their families…more fund for “ghost” projects implemented by “ghost” NGOs…more fund for “friends” who helped during the election…more fund for the condos and flashy cars of government officials…more fund for unrealistic researches of government agencies.
But, no fund for the malnourished Filipino children…no fund for the survivors of natural calamities for almost one year now….no fund for bridges in far-flung villages…no fund for the shacks that DEPEd call “school”…no fund for contractual teachers…no fund for empty medicine cabinets of some barangays …no fund for the advancement of agriculture which should be the base of the country’s economy.
In my honest and regretful opinion, the heart of Philippine politics throbs with gratitude…so very sad, indeed!