There was something absolutely wrong when President BS Aquino The Last, I mean The Third, conducted last week in Malacanang what was billed as an “agenda-setting dialogue” with his allies.
No, it was not the absence of Vice President Jejomar Binay who still has to bare his true political color. Rather, the anomaly was that it was only the President who spoke in that supposed “dialogue.” Whoever heard of a dialogue where only one spoke and the rest only listened? Only in the “tuwid na daan” of the Aquino administration!
That “dialogue” is reflective of the mindset of the Malacañang tenant. He wants his allies to listen to him but he seldom wants to hear their voice. He tells them what agenda to follow, like a dictator ordering his minions when to breathe and when not to breathe. He is so full of himself, so convinced of his own intelligence and “good intentions” that he sees no need to listen to others, allies and critics alike.
I’ve ceased to wonder why the President avoids convening the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) even if his more scholarly or more hard-working predecessors had regularly done so to help them set a list of legislative priorities. Why meet with a group of advisers when only he can determine what these priorities are? That’s just a waste of his precious time that he can devote more of to playing computer games. After all, he can always rely on his spineless allies to follow his bidding. If they do nothing because he gives no order, doesn’t that give them a semblance of “independence?”
As the President stays longer in Malacañang, he’s baring himself as a chief executive who believes he knows everything. No wonder, a call for a dialogue becomes an occasion for a monologue. He’s just like a committee chairman who calls a public hearing and then he forces the invited expert resource persons to listen to what he knows and believes about the issue at hand.
Speaking of public hearings, I really miss the presence of the erudite Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile in such legislative activities. He knows so much about many subjects and issues that he could give more insights and backgrounders about them than many of the so-called “experts.” He used to listen to them but whenever he found them to be giving wrong infos, he would immediately correct them. The President’s mental prowess couldn’t equal that of JPE so he should be giving more weight to the advice or inputs of experts. Unfortunately for the country, this isn’t so.
But, who will tell BS Aquino that he isn’t always right, that he doesn’t know everything? He engages nobody in a dialogue. While he claims to listen to his
“Boss,” he does so only when the “Boss” says things that coincide with his own.
Note that he immediately shot down popular calls for the firing of Budget Secretary Butch Abad, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Abaya and Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman. Canning them would disprove his contentions that the programs they initiated had done wonders for the country.
Take Soliman. He had extolled her in his State-of-the-Nation Address for his government’s “swift action” in the aftermath of Yolanda. He even misquoted a foreign relief organization as being awed by his administration’s response to the natural calamity. It’s already well-known that the response has been inadequate but the President doesn’t believe so. Otherwise, he would have fired Soliman who continues to cling to her post like a leech.
The President doesn’t listen to complaints of the people about the negligence of Abaya. The traffic mess, long lines of commuters, the bad reputation of our airports and frequent foul-ups of the light rail trains can’t move him into sacking Abaya. Oh yes, listen to his light-hearted (uncaring?) explanation on why traffic is such a mess: “That’s a sign of economic progress.”
We have to tragically bear with the ineptitude and anti-pathetic ways of a President who presumes to know everything. It’s doubly tragic that his allies never had the guts to tell him to mend his ways and to listen to criticism. All that his allies do is either say “amen’ or clap their hands to whatever he says.
If the administration allies in the House and the Senate meekly accept their being junior partners of the President, or kneel before him like acolytes, then let them be. However, they should not crow about their supposed “independence” and being co-equal of the executive.
On second thought, they’re actually full partners—in prolonging the tragedy of the Philippines’ being the only country in the world with a true BS for president.