2015 crucial for country’s future

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This year would be so crucial for the country’s future as perhaps no year really has been.

This is because both economic and political developments this year will largely determine if this unlucky country will or will not suffer another six years of a hypocritical and vengeful yet inefficient administration as that of President Aquino.

Perhaps it will solely be Aquino’s meeting with Pope Francis towards the end of this month – unless he scolds him for his pro-contraceptive stance – that will be this president’s only sunny days in a cloudy and storm-filled year.

Several problems Aquino created – largely because of his hubris – since he took power in 2010 will be coming home to roost this year.


One, the World Bank’s International Center for Investment Disputes (ICSID) will most likely rule this year on the case filed by the 150-year-old Belgian dredging firm Baagerwerken Decloedt En Zoon against the Philippines for unilaterally cancelling the Laguna Lake Rehabilitation Project. Aquino cancelled the project just a few months after he assumed power, claiming that the project was riddled with corruption by his predecessor’s officials.

Costing P18.7 billion, the project was to be undertaken by and financed by a loan from the BNP Paribas Fortis bank, with Brussels providing a P7-billion grant—the biggest development aid it would have given the country ever. If Aquino had just left it alone, the project would have been completed by June this year, which would help reduce the massive flooding metropolitan Manila annually suffers each rainy season.

Four years after he made the blanket accusation, not a single elaboration of his charge has been made, and not even a single government agency has investigated Aquino’s claims.

Could anybody in his right mind doubt that the ICSID will rule in favor of the Belgian firm and order the government to pay P6 billion in damages?

Aquino didn’t even have the courtesy (or the legal sense) to issue a formal cancellation of the project. The Belgians have presented as evidence even Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s legal opinion that there was nothing wrong in the contract as well as a Congress resolution asking Aquino to continue the project.

In contrast, the Arroyo government justified, among many other arguments, the cancellation of the German Fraport AG’s contract to build the NAIA Terminal 3 (which the government recently won last December 14) by pointing out that the Supreme Court itself found the contract ridden with corruption and should be rescinded.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima was clever enough not to issue any document to cancel the contract. He merely didn’t sign the loan documents for the concessional loan from the Belgian government to fund the project to be drawn by the Belgian dredger, thereby depriving it of funds.

If Aquino and only Aquino were responsible for cancelling the project, shouldn’t he be required to pay the cost of being penalized by the ICSID? Perhaps, garnishment of his shares in Hacienda Luisita? Such demands would hound Aquino – even to impeachment – this year.

Second, the Supreme Court won’t dilly-dally any longer. It would rule with finality that Aquino’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) Fund was illegal, and that administrative and criminal cases should be filed against those responsible for it. Aquino of course is immune from such suits while in power. Budget Secretary Florencio Abad – the brains behind Aquino – isn’t, and they would spend this year fending off such suits.

Third, Aquino’s and his naïve negotiators’ promising the moon to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the form of committing to the establishment of a Bangsamoro sub- state to the insurgents will unravel this year, as Congress can no longer pretend that it has to study it first before approving it. The bill, as even its champion Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, recently admitted, is just wracked with provisions violating the Constitution.

The Supreme Court will be kind to Congress if it relieves it of blame by ruling it unconstitutional, as it would have to this year because of several suits asking it to do so.

No one is expecting the MILF to sit on their asses when only a handful in Congress joins Aquino’s betrayal of the Republic. Was the December 9 bombing of a bus in Bukidnon, near Rodriguez’s district, that killed 11 and injured 40 a sample of MILF ire that Aquino fooled them with his Bangsamoro promise?

Fourth, power projects contracted this year, and those being constructed, won’t be finished by the first quarter of the year, and the biggest companies are expecting severe power black outs by this summer. With his mother dubbed the Queen of Darkness in the wake of severe brownouts in 1987, Aquino will be called the Prince of Darkness, sapping his regime’s legitimacy and therefore his camp’s capability to have their candidate win in 2016.

Fifth, while this government has been proud to have stood up against China by filing a case against it at the United Nations Permanent Court of Administration for it to declare illegal the super-power’s claims in the South China/West Philippine Sea, the costs of such stance will be enormous.

The court is likely to rule on the issue this year, and most experts are expecting that it will likely declare that the issue is beyond its jurisdiction, which would hew to the legal definition of “arbitration” as one in which contending parties voluntarily enter into and promise to abide by the arbitrator’s decision. The Philippines is also arguing on the basis of the UN Conference on the Law of the Sea – which however China signed with the qualification that it cannot be applicable to questions of sovereignty.

There is still of course the possibility though that the UN arbitral court would rule in favor of the Philippines — but which China would reject on grounds of its qualifications in its signing of the UNCLOS.

Any decision won’t be helpful to us though. Chinese public opinion would only harden against us for bringing the case to a court, creating demands for an economic boycott of the Philippines, and there’s no question who would be the loser in such breaking-up of economic relations. No power could enforce the UN arbitral court’s decision. The US? It’s not even a signatory of UNCLOS. Yes, global public opinion would turn against China. But really has that, without the backup of military threats, ever changed nations?

Of course the Chinese leadership could be enlightened down the road, and accept Foreign Secretary Alberto del Rosario’s mantra for nations to follow the rule of law. But that may be ten, twenty years from now – while China bypasses us and instead channels its ODA and investments to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

Sixth, despite their silence in the past months, I don’t think jailed senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla have just been praying to God to be released. If the pork-barrel scam charges are true, they’d have hundreds of millions of pesos stashed somewhere that they would be mobilizing to make whistle-blowers suddenly reverse their testimonies, and for the Sandiganbayan to order them freed. Have they just been biding their time for Aquino to be a total lame duck, whom at that point the justices therefore will cease to fear, to make their move?

There are other major political and economic typhoons that would hit this year, sapping the capability of Aquino’s camp to stop the hemorrhage in its popular support, and therefore further weakening the chances of its candidate to win the presidency in 2016.

If it does miraculously weather these storms this year, the Aquino camp – considering its huge war chest raised through the DAP from 2011 to 2013 and the 2015 budget – will be poised to still win the presidency in 2016.

I’m betting though that it won’t.

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
FB: Rigoberto Tiglao

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12 Comments

  1. It bewilders me even now that PNoy ever got elected President of this country. And it bewilders me even more that her family, more especially her sisters, allowed him, or did not stop him from accepting, to run for President of this country. I do not have to cite the reasons for this bewilderment but the comment of one of his sisters soon after he got elected and assumed office should have been a give-away. She said, “Nonoy has finally come to his own”. What did that mean? It meant that they knew the personal problems of Noynoy and were wary if he became president of how he might perform. In essence it was an admission that their brother was not qualified and ought not to be President, still they took the risk of having him there despite their full knowledge of his inadequacies, at the expense of the country. Now poor Noy has to suffer the consequences of their imprudence, if not recklessness, I do not doubt his personal honesty and sincerity but the incompetence and misplaced loyalties have him easy prey to the vultures around him. And together with his manifest vindictiveness which immediately characterized his assumption into office and the decisions he makes, have spelled disaster after disaster for this country. We hope that this is not the wrath of God upon an unwise people.

  2. jesus nazario on

    I agree that 2015 is the TIPPING POINT year for this nation in relation to this sordid administration. One crucial area that was not mentioned though is the PCOS/Comelec/Smarmatic/Brillantes “pigsa” that will most likely burst this year !

  3. P. Akialamiro@yahoo.com on

    The cancellation of projects started by previous administrations, for no valid reasons but just because they are projects of political enemies, irrespective of the consequential financial loss to the government, shows the kind of leader Pres. B. S. Aquino is. Worthwhile projects started during the previous regimes were dropped without considering the benefits to the country. An example would be the Nayong Pilipino which was a showcase of the entire country for those who cannot afford to travel around the country. So, with the ‘BLISS’ housing which was dropped like a hot potato by a previous Aquino administration.

    I just wonder how many billions of pesos would be ‘levied’ against the Philippine Government because of the Laguna dredging project ‘unceremonious’ and unilateral cancellation, despite the confirmation of DOJ of its regularity. With these billions of pesos, how many mouths can be fed?

    I agree, the Philippines is ‘unlucky’ with this kind of leadership. because of the alleged failure of the voting machine and the defeat of a more intelligent candidate.

  4. Vicente Penetrante on

    Please do not say “unlucky country” simply because the President’s only know-how is barb about corruption. That gave him the presidency and world-wide recognition, which encouraged him to harp about it.

    And please do not bet. I have read your articles that confirm you as a religious person.

    • Hi Vincent, unfortunately Tiglao is correct in saying that we are unlucky country. We are. Or is it that a better term HAPLESS country? He bets but that doesn’t mean to wager. He meant he was sure it will be so.

  5. BS Aquino and Purisima, due to their unilateral cancellation of the Laguna Lake Rehabilitation Project prepared by PGMA in her time, should therfore be charged for gross negligence and be made to pay for the enormous damage wrought by the recent floods in Metro Manila. It is unbelievable that these government officials lack foresight and disregard the obvious. Their leadership skills is hopelessly wanting and questionable. Most Filipinos are incapable in making the right judgements and in focusing on the pressing issues our country is facing that’s why public opinion on BS Aquino’s strategic failures are very minimal if not zero. Issues on corruption surely should be addressed immediately but these should be done at the department and local level. BS Aquino and his economic managers should have focused their attention on the strategic level which are job generation, economic development and disaster mitigation projects, such as the LLRP, etc. On his particular aspect, BS Aquino, Purisima and the other economic team members failed miserably.

  6. Leodegardo Pruna on

    The year 2015 definitely is a very crucial year for the Filipinos. With P-Noy and his administration not listening but forcing their way in dealing with multifarious challenges ranging from social to economic to governance, where else would the Filipinos find themselves but in a chaotic sea. Our only hope is God’s intervention and thus to humbly pray, GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES.

  7. Roldan Guerrero on

    The Aquino government is now running out if not totally exhausted every alibis and lies they have manufactured to hide its gross neglect of governance, killing every Filipino softly and shattering every dreams they had in having him into power just so to dream of a better place to live in though his DAANG MATUWID campaign slogan. Expectations turned sour right after he assumed power, tragedies arrived in dominos and there was no corrective measure ever done to abort its chain of mass occurence. So the Filipino Dream rested not in peace but in trouble as its bubbling effect will continue in the coming years after he goes down in power. Had every Filipino thought of paying the LOANS and its INTEREST committed from foreign funding which were just drained uselessly through the unlawful DAP? These loans will take decades to pay and it will be a burden to the national budget year after year for a long time. So do we repent in putting the wrong man in malacaniang? Well it should be good enough if its just like doing a confession to a priest, do some prayers and your sins will be forbidden!

  8. …. and then, there is Bise Binay. Pilipinas can expect a half-dozen more World-Class-Parking Buildings if Pilipinas wer to have a Presidente Binay. Baka magka world-class-parking-garage din ang Malabon, who knows?

  9. I knew everything will come to a head this year for the illegitimate president. Serves him right for “ambitioning” to be president when hindi naman niya kaya. He just doesn’t fit. He is an absolute nincompoop who because of his distorted and paranoid schizophrenic mind has brought disaster after disaster, upon the Philippines. He is a dishonest and consummate LIAR who is singularly unique in his duplicity and hypocrisy in fooling the people. The Filipinos are a patient breed. They suffered for 300 years under Spanish oppression until they reach their limit. The French were the same. Until hunger stalked the land and their rage exploded.

    I predict that soon, this Abnoy will be dislodged. He has blundered many times already and everyman in every street corner wants him decapitated. The Muslims especially, for fooling them. I agree with the author that should the country be penalized by P6 Billion in damages ( plunging the country into interminable poverty), because of the Abnoy’s fault alone, since he is the only one one responsible for cancelling the Belgian project, then shouldn’t he ALONE be required to pay the cost of being penalized by the ICSID? Perhaps, garnishment of his shares in Hacienda Luisita? Such demands would hound Aquino – even to impeachment – this year.

    We should not let this Abnoy lord it over us with impunity. We all have to account for our deeds, good or bad. So why shouldn’t he? There is divine justice, after all. And it is this karmic justice that will chop off his head one day soon.