YESTERDAY’s Senate hearing on the Disbursement Acceleration Program marked the death of truth and morality in Philippine public office under the Aquino administration.
Secretary Florencio Abad and the Cabinet members whom he asked to help him answer questions posed by senators all told lies and half-truths.
And the senators—with the exception of Senators Nancy Binay, Grace Poe and Ralph Recto—in varying degrees willingly compromised their consciences and participated in the drama that President Aquino, Sec. Abad and the Cabinet members must have scripted.
Senator Chiz Escudero, while obviously unhappy about his having to be a fair chairman of the committee and at the same time continuing to be a dear friend of President Aquino, at least made himself sound like a seeker of the truth. This, however, made him, to some strict ethicists, even worse than the senators who were eagerly doing their self-assigned and sycophantic roles as Sec. Abad’s cheerleaders and the Aquino Regime’s hossana-singers.
The most egregious senators, in their different ways of playing the drama to extol the virtues of the DAP and the untruthful Aquino-Abad line, were Senate President Drilon, Senators Trillanes, Bam Aquino, Angara and Guingona.
It was painfully disappointing to watch and hear Senator Recto question rather gingerly the lies Sec. Abad and the other Aquino Cabinet members were peddling with a straight face. He asked for details, declaring that he was following up on the questions Sen. Binay had asked. And he made a sharp point of demanding why the Aquino Cabinet had fooled the Congress and asked for funds for important infrastructure and transport projects that were really good for the country—projects that would have stimulated the economy—but did not implement them.
All these many projects Sen. Recto himself had pushed for, convinced by the Aquino government’s presentations. These would have created jobs and made a difference in the socio-economic development of many parts of the Philippines. He was disappointed to hear from Sec. Abad that the projects could not be pushed through because there were, for example, problems of land ownership and such basic things. That means the presentations made by the Aquino people to Congress were lies! Sec. Emilio Abaya was asked to elucidate. He could not because he was not head of the DOTC yet at the time. Sen. Recto asked for detailed explanations. But we doubt that any will ever be available.
We remembered Sen. Ralph Recto’s grandfather Don Claro and his father Assemblyman Rafael Recto. Both would not have stomached being in that chamber yesterday. They would have railed against the dishonesty of our land’s highest co-rulers with President Aquino, who are allowing mendacity and immoral governance to prevail.
Economic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director Arsenio Balisacan, who had impressed us for being more honest than other Aquino Cabinet members, also supported the Alice-in-Wonderland-like upending of facts. His allowing himself to be used was what made us conclude that the hearing had marked the death of truth and morality in Philippine public governance.
Of course Secretary Abad now owes the Senate a more detailed accounting of how the DAP was spent and where, thanks to the questions mainly of Senators Binay and Poe.
But it did not boom out clearly that the “savings” that Sec. Abad pooled came from project funds that should have been used as appropriated—and would have stimulated the economy right then and there if they were implemented.