THE Liberal Party of President BS Aquino 3rd is playing our whole nation of Filipinos for fools.
This paper recently reported that the LP has been working to boost the floundering campaign of Aquino’s designated successor Mar Roxas by promising municipal and city mayors all over our country P100 million each in the form of government projects in exchange for their support for the party’s otherwise thoroughly unappealing candidate.
After first denying that such a thing was happening, on Monday Malacañang confirmed the offer was in fact made, but protested that it was innocently done: Roxas was, both Presidential Mouthpiece Sonny Coloma and Budget Secretary Butch Abad said, merely assuring the local government leaders that Roxas would, if elected, “demonstrate his commitment to meaningful development” by using the “Bottom-Up Budgeting” program.
In the wake of the scandal that erupted last year after Aquino and his sly budget manager were caught manipulating the national budget through the so-called “disbursement acceleration program” (DAP)—which the Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional—the “Bottom-Up Budgeting” program was hastily conceived as a substitute and pitched to the public as a “clean” program that eliminated the DAP and the “pork barrel” that is doled out to congressmen and senators. Instead of passing through congressional representatives, local government units would now deal directly with government agencies, which, or so the Aquino regime tried to convince everyone, would put a stop to development budget funds being used for political gain.
Obviously, all the “new and improved” program has done is exactly what everyone assumed it would when it was first conceived, which is to concentrate the resources for political use in the hands of the President. Under the pork barrel system, deeply flawed though it was, there was at least a hint of non-partisanship in that each legislator was supposed to receive an equal amount (P50 million per congressman, and P200 million per senator), regardless of political affiliation. The DAP was contrived as a way for Aquino and his henchman to “legally” compensate for the opportunity for political opponents to control budget funds; with the “Bottom-Up Budgeting program,” the opportunity was finally removed.
The claim that the recent offers made on Roxas’ behalf were “not a bribe” is laughable, because the implied message was just as clear as what was actually said: Not supporting Roxas would mean P100 million would not be available to you, Mr. Mayor. If Roxas was serious about presenting the new budgeting program as a reform his administration would pursue, then he should have presented it in a different way, that is, to the public as a part of his platform, with an explanation of why it is better than other candidates’ ideas.
Of course, Roxas, through his own words and his activities on the campaign trail, has already assured everyone that he is nothing more than an avatar for Aquino and the champion of the twisted, self-serving concept of “daang matuwid.”
We cannot expect an ethically sound President in Mar Roxas and an uncorrupt Roxas administration.