Why don’t Aquino officials quit over anomalies?

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OUR Tuesday column, “Three things Aquino should do for accountability,” asked if his Cabinet members and other top officials implicated in anomalies would quit, then come back after their names are cleared.

The question of resignation erupted again this week with pressure on Philippine National Police Chief Alan Purisima over his allegedly excessive wealth and the escalating crime, now double the 2010 rate.

Also under fire of late is Department of Transportation and Communication Secretary Jose Emilio Abaya, over a maintenance contract that the DOTC-supervised, breakdown- and accident-prone Metro Rail Transit concluded with a firm allegedly part-owned by him and ousted MRT general manager Al Vitangcol.

A few others resigned in the past, but only after long controversy. Close Aquino friend Ernesto Diokno hung on as prisons head, despite the expose on wealthy, influential inmates getting long furloughs out of jail. Two other penitentiary chiefs after him also left over anomalies.


All three have never been held to account for any irregularities, just like Aquino shooting buddy Virginia Torres. Her tenure as Land Transporations Office director lasted for years despite alleged improper meddling in an LTO supplier, plus gross mismanagement leading to computerization and vehicle plate problems. She was let go only last October, after she was videotaped in a casino, violating a gambling ban on government officials.

Staying on amid record smuggling
Other controversial agency heads have stayed on despite far greater irregularities and, like Diokno and Torres, they remain free from accountability after leaving government. The past two Bureau of Customs commissioners, Lito Alvarez and Ruffy Biazon, stayed in their post for many months amid the biggest BoC scandals ever.

Under Alvarez, more than 2,000 containers of uninspected and untaxed cargo disappeared in transit between Manila and other Luzon ports — the worst spate of smuggling in the country. Contraband leapt five-fold to a record $19 billion a year, based on International Monetary Fund data.

Biazon offered to quit after Aquino blasted Customs for an unheard-of P200 billion in smuggling losses in last year’s State of the Nation Address. But as the President has done with other top officials, he kept the Customs boss for months. Biazon left only after the pork barrel investigation implicated him.

The latest top official to offer his resignation but be retained is Budget Secretary Florencio Abad. The Supreme Court declared his Disbursement Acceleration Program unconstitutional for illegally allocating funds to unbudgeted expenditures, realigning allocatiions outside the Executive branch, and misdeclaring “savings” in violation of explicit provisions in the General Appropriations Act defining savings.

Quitting over Aquino, not anomalies
Two Aquino Cabinet members quit early in his administration, both in 2011, citing personal reasons, but were said to be unhappy with him. In June of that year, respected DOTC Secretary Jose de Jesus, public works czar under Aquino’s mother Corazon, resigned, officially for health reasons, but reputedly over Palace meddling in DOTC.

Two months later, then-Department of Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim quit. Months earlier, he survived a much-ridiculed DOT campaign copied from a 1950s Swiss promotion. But Lim resigned when Aquino kept Mark Lapid as Philippine Tourism Authority general manager, reportedly to please the latter’s father, Senator Lito Lapid.

One Cabinet member nearly quit over Aquino actions. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima admitted thinking of resigning after the President junked the incident report on the August 2010 Luneta hostage crisis, in which eight Hong Kong tourists died.

The investigation panel jointly chaired by de Lima and then-Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, recommended sanctions against officials. But Aquino preferred to spared them, especially his shooting buddy DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno and longtime loyalist and then-Manila mayor Alfredo Lim.

The only other Aquino department secretary to quit was then-Economic Planning Secretary Cayetano Paderanga Jr. He left in 2012. officially for health reasons, after serving two years in a position he also held in the first Aquino administration.

Under Arroyo, resign and return — if cleared
Things were very different under Aquino’s predecessor Gloria Arroyo. In 2001, her administration’s first year, Justice Secretary Hernando Perez set the precedent followed by other Cabinet members implicated in anomalies. He resigned after being accused by dealmaker Mark Jimenez of asking and getting $2 million to give legal clearance for the $470-million IMPSA power plant deal contracted by the previous Estrada government.

Perez quit despite maintaining his innocence — something no Aquino Cabinet member has done. In May this year, after more than a decade of trials, the Sandiganbayan court dismissed a falsification charge against Perez, one of four filed over the IMPSA scandal. In 2008 he was acquited of the two main cases alleging extortion and bribery, plus another corruption charge in 2011.

Two other Arroyo department secretaries who quit amid controversy were cleared months later, and returned to the Cabinet: Arthur Yap of Agriculture and the late Angelo Reyes of National Defense. Yap’s family was suspected of evading taxes in a past property sale, while Oakwood Mutiny leaders accused Reyes of corruption in military procurement.

After his family was cleared of tax issues, Yap was named head of the Presidential Management Staff, before returning to Agriculture. As for Reyes, the mutineers’ claims proved pure canard from a fake document circulated online. He then became DILG secretary, licking a kidnapping surge; then moved to Environment and Natural Resources, launching a million-tree planting program; and finally Energy, where his 2008 power summit already highlighted the need to build generating plants.

Now, isn’t that the way Cabinet members should act when facing anomalies?

Evidently not for President Aquino. In controversy after controversy, he defends implicated officials sans investigation, and expresses unwavering trust in them. Maybe he thinks insisting on their innocence will keep at least part of the public believing there is no sleaze in his regime, rather than confirming anomalies by quitting. Or he is wary of antagonizing associates who can turn on him, as the “Hyatt 10” did to Arroyo, and Governor Chavit Singson to Joseph Estrada.

Whatever the reason, holding fast to officials come hell or high water, has led to reports of unexplained wealth, illegal fund transfers topping P150 billion, crime and smuggling trebling to record levels, MRT troubles mounting, “prepositioned” disaster response vanishing, and a power crisis looming, among other woes — all with no one accountable.

Plainly, for the Cabinet, it’s more fun on Tuwid na Daan.

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24 Comments

  1. Quit?eh di nawala ang cordon sanitaire ni anNoying ! Pag wala na sa power si , anNoying…yan, kanya kanyang takbo na yan sa bansang walang extradition treaty!

  2. This shameless habit of Filipino politicians clinging on their appointed senior govt positions hos nothing to do with their political party affiliations; it is more fundamental than that. It has more to do with a basic Filipino custom of publicly pretending to be sensitive to negative perceptions but privately, for as long as they and their relatives are benefitting from their being in those senior govt offices, they will d everything possible to hold on to those positions even at the expense of their personal moral honor and integrity. What I’m trying to say is life in the Philippines has become so financially expensive that people will go to extreme lengths to get ahead and improve their economic status in society because in the Philippines IMAGE IS EVERYTHING!

  3. Mr. Saludo, you forgot to mention Margie Juico PCSO chairman who filed an irrevocable resignation. BS Aquino the turd,gave Ms. Juico a dressing down over an incident with DILG sec. Roxas. The president told her that Sec. Marred Roxas is my alter ego and if you disrespect him, you disrespect me. So Margie Juico filed an irrevocable resignation.
    It all started when DILG Sec. went to Wack wack golf and country club in Mandaluyong city to play golf but refuse to pay the 5k for having a guest or a trainer on golf. The president of Wack wack country club is the husband of PCSO chair. Margie Juico, Philip Juico.

  4. Those guys will not resign because …….. they spend a lot of money for the election of PINOY. The money have to be recovered a million or billion times more plus POWER is hard to let go. That’s the sad story in our country unfortunately.

    Can we do something about it? Of course – you don’t have to look far, emulate Thailand! Mabuhay!

  5. Normal people have some self-respect. This administration and all of its people will make the World Book of Records. First for the amount of money they are stealing and will have been stolen by the time they are out of office, Second for the number of people conspiraring to tell the same lies for six years. And Third the largest number of people who have no shame.

  6. The only difference between BS and GMA is that GMA had more gray matter between her ears than this fellow. And thats why in terms of corruption, BS Aquino 3rd is a bumbling amateur while GMA was the real virtuoso. If you don’t believe me, go and audit GMA’s re-enacted budget.

    • Bopols si Amnata Pundit on

      Re-enacted budget is a fail-safe mechanism in order to have a normalcy in continuing the overall operations of the government. better to have a re-enacted budget than having a government shutdown like what almost happen in America.

    • Amnata Pundit ,
      You would be more credible if you yourself will give all the details of PGMA’s corruption vis a vis the bumbling corruption of the mentally challenged Aquino . Otherwise , i myself wouldn’t know where to look for your allegations of corruption of PGMA . It is very likely there is none. It would seem all these charges of corruption against PGMA are just that : allegations/ black propaganda by people like you.

    • Dehinz Pundit on

      How could congress have failed to pass the budget when it was dominated by GMA allies? The only reason why they “failed” is because it was a conspiracy to rape the treasury. If GMA was true to her duty to the constitution, she would have ringed congress with army tanks depriving them of food and water until they passed the budget. Instead of being disappointed however, she looked ecstatic and triumphant. If you want to know where to find the mother of corruption that spawned BS Aquino and Abad’s DAP then the re-enacted budget is the place to look.

  7. The big issue not commented much upon is the impunity with which these big time crooks operate. It even happens at the city level. People who are found to be crooks or incompetent are usually just moved sideways, but even if sacked, are rarely prosecuted.
    Those committing crimes should be prosecuted whatever their rank in society. Steal a loaf of bread and you find yourself in prison. Steal a million or billion pesos and you get a slap on the wrist. One law for the rich and connected and one law for the poor. What a disgrace.

  8. thanks again for your article.Pnoy is a big Talker and a self centered person, a protector of his cronies and buddies!

  9. Bonifacio Claudio on

    Indeed, the Yellow-1986 EDSA “Peole’s Power” was a farce in that the Manila City “people” were harnessed by the oligarchs upon the prodding & patronage of the military coup d’état by Enrile & Ramos backed up by the US-CIA. It was initiated not by the “people” but by the “oligarch” egged by Enrile & Ramos. It has been the exploitation of the poor hungry people by the powers-that-be SINCE THE SHAM YELLOW-EDSA REVOLUTION IN 1986. Twenty-eight years hence, the “people” have been looking for Marcos but they cannot find him anymore, NOR THE LIKES OF HIM. What came after that fateful regretful revolution was the reign of perversion of THE YELLOW “heroes” that spawned from Enrile & Ramos coup d’état. Despite the forceful propaganda of the Yellow-Regime’s perverted re-writing of past & current events heralding “Yellow Oligarchic Heroes” as “saviours” of the masses & democracy, History will find its way to glean & separate falsity & truthfulness. When that time comes, will the Yellow Regime & All its Heroes stand up to the scale of their propaganda’s gloriousness? The time of judgment draws nigh…

  10. When people are deficient and devoid of decency, honesty, integrity, and moral values, you cannot expect them to resign. Why? It’s a financial loss and there would be no more opportunity for them to amass wealth. The main reason why Philippines can’t move forward and have progress and prosperity is CORRUPTION and disregard to the laws of the land. Judges, Justices can also be the root cause of corruption when they allow themselves to be used by corrupt officials instead of serving the country with dedication and dignity. Ordinary Filipinos are fully aware of what is wrong with the Government but could do nothing. If you can find officials who are Honest, Decent, Dignified, Dedicated to public service and with integrity and moral values then and only then Philippines can progress. Who amongst corrupt poliicians are aware of their mortality?

  11. Sounds more like a fraternity, covering for brothers and sisters , like the PNP, and the Free Masonry.

  12. Pilipinas!!! Why not try???? If leadership says puwede naman to get away with the worst — like the Assasination On The Tarmac — then why be surprised that a few well-connected here or there get brave and —->>>> HAVE FUN and MAGPAYAMAN WITH TUWID-NA-DAAN.

  13. I got my new vehicle registration from LTO NCR Pasay Branch and it has the signature of one Virginia Torres as registrar in the said office. Is she the same Virginia Torres, if it is then she was just transferred.

  14. Could it be that he knows too much about what Pres. Aquino is doing in secret? That’s why the President cannot force him to resign? The truth of the matter is that no government official should become rich unless he/she has other business. I don’t know, but sometimes I believed the Philippines is simply beyond reform. Maybe, we need another Pol Pot like in Cambodia to liquidate all of these bastards.

    • Nice said George. That could be one of the reasons for the Great Thief Executive to defend most of his anomalous cabinet members. The same thing with A-bad Boy. The thing is Abnoy appears clean and incorruptible kasi no record whatsoever of his involvement to this and that scam. I doubt it. We will never know until his PDAF when he was still a congressman and senator is made public. On the contrary, ayaw nga ilabas ng COA kasi baka mabuko o merong makita ang taumbayan na dapat pala e naedit nila pero hindi nila nagawa or overlooked figures and details ba. Clean is Mr. Great Thief Executive but how do we know? Very common na me mga dummies na gamit ang mga ito. Say, yung parte nya eh si A-bad boy ang nagtatago o yung ibang kamaganak ni Abad. Eh di malinis siya. pero collection time is afterwards. Kaya hindi matanggal si A-bad Boy,

  15. The filipino will never accept he is wrong ( even if he is lying ) so he wont resign. The classic one i remember is the manila bus hostage fiasco. The mediator who was their negotiating with the rogue policeman ( i also accept he had been wrongly sacked & punished ) was within touching distance of him but wouldnt just grab him & hold onto him until police ran over to arrest him. He said if i had done that i would lose all credibility as a negotiator. To him his credibility as a negotiator was more important that the lives of the hostages. I bet if he were honest he would still today say he was in the right.
    Im sure they see politicians from every country when involved in any scandal will resign & if found unproven will then come back, but it wont happen here.
    Ong tried to do it to keep his full retirement benefits, but he knew the evidence against him was overwhelming & he wanted to sneak out safely, luckily for all of us they saw that & pursued his case & helost.

  16. If you chop the head of this inefficient and idiot monster ruler, all of his clinging parts especially the evil and corrupt alter egos will go also.

  17. why should they quit? as the saying goes: monkey see, monkey do. they don’t see pnoy doing it so why should they? in pnoy’s administration, the Kaklase, the Kakampi and the Kabarilan are all safe. regardless.