The Administrations of two “President Aquino”
…Cory and her son, Noynoy
By Apolinario Villalobos
Many still view President Cory Aquino as an “accidental president”. The death of her husband, fuelled by the pent-up emotion of the Filipinos against the Marcos dictatorship, propelled her to presidency. Many are still wondering what would have happened if Ninoy Aquino made it back to the Philippines via Malaysia as was the original plan. Would he be the “best” option, as the Filipinos were tired of the Marcos-style of dictatorship? As recalled, Ninoy was alleged to have a “left wing” leaning, so that, would have the Philippines been under a communist administration if he got elected as president?
The hope of the Filipinos when Cory took over the reins of the government from Marcos, to have a “better” life did not materialize…dashed to dust in a puff. Ass-lickers in the government just changed their color, from red and blue (Marcos) to yellow (Cory Aquino). Sanitizing cordon around the president still prevailed, as were “whisperers”, because even Jovito Salonga, himself, as the first chief of the PCGG complained of not having enough liberty of approaching the lady president for matters about the “stolen wealth”, cases of which were being heard in the United States. The administration of Cory was also characterized with several attempts of take over from disgruntled junior officers of the military, albeit, did not succeed. The perpetrators are now active senators and even running for the vice-presidency. But worst, Cory’s tenure saw the occurrence of the celebrated Mendiola and Hacienda Luisita massacres, the blackest mark ever to what her followers consider as an “immaculate administration”.
The only significant accomplishment of the Cory administration was the reduction of the price of “galunggong”, touted as the poor man’s fish. The hoped-for recovery of the country’s wealth, supposedly stolen by Marcos became just but a dream. The subsequent administrations that were expected to double the effort for the recovery were also disappointments, as corruption, instead, became just more apparent.
The son of Cory Aquino, Benigno III (Pnoy or Noynoy) took over as president, as a result of alleged political manipulation which is common in Philippine politics. He made use of the “tuwid na daan” (straight path) as the essence of his administration, which was supposed to be “the way of a non-corrupt government”. This quixotic quest proved to be a worse disappointment right at the beginning, and still got worst at the closing of his administration. The slogan became a big joke and boomeranged on the president with a big bang.
Just like the administration of his mother’s, Pnoy’s own is also characterized not only be indifference but more massacres – those that happened in Zamboanga City committed by MNLF; Mamasapano (Maguindanao), still being investigated; and Kidapawan (North Cotabato) committed by the police against the farmers who just want a few kilos of rice to tide them over the onslaught of the El Niἧo. Still worse, the devastations that whipped the country, particularly, the eastern Visayas area by typhoon Yolanda has put the country in a shameful spot in view of the misused donations from foreign donors, and the unchecked pilferage of same, as well as, the embarrassingly inferior quality of government habitation projects for the victims, and which until today, after many years, are not yet complete. What the government people, especially, the DSW, present in their reports as completed are projects of the NGOs.
Government facilities that are supposed to counter the worsening of traffic, such as the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT), have become subjects of investigation for incessant commission of corrupt deals. It took a long, long time for Vitangcol, the chief to get down his post. Accordingly, he was a close associate of the secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communication, Jun Abaya. Even the national police chief, a close friend of the president was not spared by the resignation calls, but they proved useless as they fell on the deaf ears of Malacaἧan Palace and the guy, himself, Allan Purisima.
There were calls for the resignation, too, of Abad, the chief of DBM, also Soliman of the DSW, and many more of Pnoy’s people….but his indifference is such that they remained shamelessly glued to their seats. Such display of arrogant assurance has manifested the famous line, “what are we in power for?” As if the puns were not enough, Pnoy Aquino’s administration was dubbed “Student Council”.
Finally, even though the administration swears to high heavens about the absence of pork barrel in the approved trillionic budget, expert lookouts and observers are insisting that they are hidden behind new references. It’s as if Pnoy has just paved the way for another wave of corruption after he leaves Malacaἧan Palace. Such unwavering indifference is like not giving a damn to a people who, for him, has not had enough of misfortune under the administrations after the Martial Law!