“If you want loyalty, buy a dog—not a politician.”
This political advice rings clearly amid the twists and turns of the wrongly named Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) of the Aquino administration. Renato Reyes Jr., sec-gen of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, for instance, made a perfect description of the DAP when he said, as reported by The Manila Times, “it was used to channel funds to buy politicians’ loyalty to the administration.”
No matter how President BS Aquino The Last, I mean The Third, and Budget Secretary Butch Abad sliced and diced the P237.7-billion DAP, this supposedly beneficial program can’t hide its true reason for being—to buy the loyalty of politicians and to “reward” allies. Some portions of the DAP might have been used for the common good but this appeared to be a mere consuelo de bobo.
The loyalty of dogs is unquestioned and it might defame man’s best friends if we liken this trait to those of politicians. Note that the head of today’s column speaks of asinine, not canine loyalty. The Aquino administration seems to have ignored the historical reality that there’s very little loyalty among Filipino politicians, whether to a leader or to a political party. Butch Abad has known only one political party all his life—the Liberal Party, so he should know that “loyalty” is ephemeral, that this “virtue” is devoted only to whoever sits in Malacañang. Once President BS Aquino The Last, I mean The Third, ends his term, expect his present acolytes to be shouting “amen” to his successor.
Vice President Jejomar Binay has just transformed the United Nationalist Alliance from a coalition to a single political party. UNA is expected to be his vehicle in running for the presidency. Should he win in 2016, many of the LPs and LP allies will be rushing to join UNA. And the political wheel rolls on. Or is it the balimbing fruit?
Loyalty among politicians might be short-lived but this wouldn’t prevent the administration from “rewarding” its acolytes with hefty amounts from the DAP. Abad still has to give full disclosure of the DAP. It still has to give a complete picture of the supposed “slow-moving” projects contained in the national budget that were discontinued and their funds hijacked for those identified solely by the administration. Yet, the details that Abad had grudgingly revealed belied their justifications for DAP.
Out of the P237.7 billion impounded from “slow-moving” projects funded by the national budget, President BS Aquino The Last, I mean The Third, approved proposed projects that needed P167. 6 billion. Of the approved projects, only P114 billion was released. What happened to the P93.7 billion impounded from Congress-approved budget? Abad said with cheek-creasing ear-to-ear grin that the amount was returned to the National Treasury and reduced the budget deficit. Whoa! I thought the administration pooled the funds for DAP because it didn’t want these funds to be lying idle! Any why didn’t it return the unused funds to the original projects approved by Congress?
I know, I know. I’m referring to info previously written in other articles and in this corner, but I can’t help but bring it out again because the administration remains unrepentant on the DAP issue. Buko na nga, lumulusot pa!
One of those trying to wiggle out of the controversy is Deputy Speaker Henedina Abad of Batanes, wife of the budget secretary. Reyes of Bayan said she got P176 million from DAP for her small province. She admitted that Batanes got P176 million but denied that the entire amount went to her projects. She said the projects she had identified got funds for “only” P86 million, of which P23 million was returned to the National Treasury for delays in their implementation.
The budget secretary’s wife might not have been the sole proponent of the entire P176 million but we all know why this huge amount went to the smallest province in the country.
The budget secretary gave the reason several years back when then Rep. Milagros Magsaysay of Zambales asked him why the Aquino administration didn’t release the pork for her district. Abad, in a rare candid moment, said that this was a political reality that Magsaysay, a follower of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, should accept.
Well, Abad should also accept—and admit—that P176 million went to her province because of the political reality that her husband is a stalwart of the administration. That is a political reality that stands out, denials notwithstanding. Unfortunately, acceptance of reality and admission of responsibility is alien to this administration that claims to follow the “tuwid na daan.”