Former President Fidel Ramos once said that when he was still president, he was always winning in golf.
“I thought I was a very good golfer. But when I left Malacañang, I kept on losing to the persons I used to defeat before,” he said.
President BS Aquino The Last, I mean The Third, will be in for much graver awakening once he leaves Malacañang. For one, he will find out that fewer people will be laughing at his jokes. While he’s prexy, his audience always finds even his corniest jokes funny. For another, fewer people will be giving him a standing ovation and applause at his every utterance whether wise or otherwise.
A graver awakening will be the realization that he’s not actually closer to Heaven than leaders of the church, laity and civic groups. He believes his moral standards are higher than those who have formed the National Transformation Council and have asked him to resign for having lost the moral right to lead the nation.
The late President Cory was considered almost a saint. It’s no wonder her progeny feel they have a straight path to the Great Beyond. This is especially true with President BS Aquino The Last, I mean The Third, who acts as if he is very close to the Supreme Being.
We often hear BS Aquino dismiss his critics with the words “Bahala na ang Diyos sa kanila,” as if God is always by his side and never by his critics’. No wonder he has never admitted any wrongdoing. If God is with him, how can he do wrong?
His delusion of nearness to God is most manifest in rejecting the call of the National Transformation Council for him to resign. The Lipa Declaration of the NTC issued last August 17 said:
“President Aquino has lost the moral right to lead the nation, and has become a danger to the Philippine democratic and republican state and to the peace, freedom, security and moral and spiritual wellbeing of the Filipino people.
“We further declare that we have lost all trust and confidence in President Benigno Simeon Aquino 3rd, and we call upon him to immediately relinquish his position.”
Malacañang belittled the NTC’s call by claiming that BS Aquino had achieved the “real transformation” of the Filipino people. What’s undeniable is that the President has his own moral standards, as exemplified by his defense of the beleaguered police chief, Gen. Alan Purisima. He said that Purisima has never led a luxurious lifestyle while his spokesmen maintain that Purisima has the moral high ground in heading the Philippine National Police.
Moral high ground? Maybe Purisima doesn’t accept bribes. Nobody can prove that. However, he does accept “discounts” which he doesn’t consider a bribe. This is the reason why he got for only P1.5 million a top of the line sports utility vehicle, a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, that usually costs P4.5 million. That’s a hefty P3 million discount or about 66.6 percent. Did he also get huge discounts for other SUV?
President BS Aquino, abiding by his own moral standards, saw nothing wrong in Purisima’s big discount. Well, he can’t without indicting himself. Early in his administration, he said he bought for P4.5 million a Porsche sports car that’s reportedly worth P15 million. That’s an even bigger discount of P10.5 million or 70 percent. Sadly, we’ll never know if he actually paid P4.5 million or if he got a 100-percent discount for the car because Malacañang, despite its claims of transparency, put a lid on the issue, claiming “national security.”
Once he leaves Malacañang, he’ll realize that he’ll be remembered most for corrupting legislators to oust the chief justice, for usurping the power of the purse of Congress and for the illegal Disbursement Acceleration Program.
But the greatest awakening once he’s no longer in power will come from the people. They’ll find out that they’ve been had and that they’re not actually the “bosses” that the President has been calling them. This could be followed by demands that he account for his mismanagement of the country.
Joker to stay retired
Former Sen. Joker Arroyo, one of the best post-EDSA legislators, is most emphatic: he’ll not run in 2016. This is a big letdown because the Senate needs somebody like him, especially during this time when the chamber is at the nadir of public approval.
“One must know when it’s time to go,” he told me while thanking me for issuing the call to return him to the Senate.
He may not run in 2016 but don’t expect him to ride into the sunset just yet. He’ll continue making astute political commentaries and with his stature as a statesman, his words will still carry a lot of weight.