• An emblem of dysfunctional government


    The past week ended on a note of good cheer, despite a tempestuous visitor named Ruby, who mercifully turned out to be less ferocious than feared, and left quickly after shaking to the rafters a few towns and barangays.

    But then, this week opened with a shocking discovery. In a raid this Monday on the country’s biggest jail—the New Bilibid prisons in Muntinlupa—the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) discovered that the penitentiary has been partly converted into a vice den for well-heeled prisoners, who live in secret luxury villas that are outfitted with strip bars, Jacuzzi, plasma TV and other amenities.

    The villas, designed and built for drug lords, kidnap gang leaders and other powerful inmates, were scattered around the sprawling 500-hectare compound.

    To be delivered from a typhoon to this sickening mess is more depressing than you can imagine. Some friends of mine and some people at home have adamantly refused to read the story online or in print, or watch the sordid details on TV. They cannot comprehend how, Philippines our Philippines, could have descended to this kind of squalor and shame. When, they wail, did we vote to become a banana republic?

    Litany of disorders and other sorrows
    Alas, the bizarre Bilibid enclave is only one in a litany of disorders and other sorrows that have disfigured the nation in the age of Benigno Aquino 3rd. Consider:

    After marking the first anniversary of the Haiyan/Yolanda disaster last November 8, we remain confronted by the stark reality of thousands still living in tents, and cities still mired in distress and deprivation, and of a much-touted rehabilitation program that still has to get off the ground. The region’s main airport artery, the Daniel Z. Romualdez airport in Tacloban City, has been totally closed down for undisclosed reasons.

    2. After being rebuffed by the Supreme Court in a landmark decision that declared the administration’s Disbursement Acceleration program (DAP) as unconstitutional, for violation of separation of powers and the General Appropriations Act, President Aquino and his cohorts will be making a comeback in the 2015 budget act that has been recently passed, which redefines the term “savings” to enable Aquino and Budget Secretary Butch Abad to cannibalize the budget for discretionary funds.

    3. After being criticized for neglecting infrastructure development under his watch and government underspending, the Administration has launched 15 major road projects almost all at the same time in different parts of Metropolitan Manila. These are big-ticket projects that will cost billions of pesos and take years to complete. The biggest project is Skyway 3, a 14.8-kilometer elevated highway that will link the South Luzon Expressway to the North Luzon Expressway

    By unleashing this infrastructure tsunami, the |government has created a nearly permanent and monstrous traffic gridlock, causing citizens to cut down on movement outside the home.

    4. The massive infrastructure undertaking has highlighted the administration’s total failure to maintain and expand the metro rail transit system (MRT3).

    The rail system, which services over half a million people daily, has been reduced to a ragtag service, fraught with danger for commuters, and no one knows whether the promised purchase of new trains and a new maintenance contract by a competent group will ever materialize.

    5. Another huge headache in the litany is the agonizing modernization of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and its three terminals, and still pending construction of a second runway. The airport has deservedly earned the distinction of being the worst international airport in the world, as it has even failed to maintain adequate toilet facilities.

    6. To meet the big need for efficient electricity service and other utilities, government has wholly privatized the provision of essential utilities in the metropolis and other parts of the country.

    Privatization has become a curse on residents and businesses, as utility charges have spiraled to unheard-of levels. The country now has the dubious distinction of charging the highest electricity cost per kilowatt hour among all Asean countries.
    Good governance as Aquino’s legacy
    Despite this record, President Aquino has boasted that good governance will be the legacy of his presidency when he leaves office in 2016, confident that credit ratings upgrades would clinch the argument.

    In riposte, critics say that it’s more truthful to describe the whole record as “dysfunctional government” because what President Aquino has created during his watch is governance that does not solve serious problems of national life but exacerbates them. He has no vision and clear agenda of governance, as his energies have been consumed by acts and policies of vengeance against political enemies.

    Governance and government are not identical. A government is a formal body invested with the authority to make decisions in a given political system. Governance is the way public policies are produced, sustained, and regulated.

    When political analysts speak of dysfunctional government, they mean it as an analogy to a dysfunctional family (the origin of the usage), which denotes a family in which conflict, misbehavior, and often child neglect or abuse occur continually and regularly.

    The new Bilibid enclave is a dysfunctional feature because the penitentiary is supposed to be a correctional institution, not a vacation place.

    Upon his inauguration in 2010, President Aquino raised much hope in the country and abroad that he would lead the Philippines to health and wealth and progress in the 2st century.

    Today, 30 months away from the end of his term, many Filipinos are wondering whether they have more to look forward to than the vice lords in Bilibid.


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    1. Just when you think, we’ve seen and heard it all, here comes another unbelievable, unprecedented, and nauseating report of corruption. It begs the question, are there more of these? I hear the refrain “you’ve ain’t seen nothin’ yet”, blasting inside my head. So, here we go again. Basically, we are seeing the same bad movie only different bad actors. What is even more disconcerting is that following this report, is that a flurry of investigation races through television, radio and print media only to die a natural death. The proverbial flash in the pan sets in. Different committees from Congress will take a stab at it and they would feign disgust and outrage but sooner rather than later it will be buried deep in the inner recesses of those same committees. No one is held accountable. Nobody gets punished. The investigation would conclude no crime is committed because no taxpayers’ money was used. Justifying the criminal behavior in a case like this is easy, no harm no foul. Often people buy it. This is the default position for countless corruptions that had been investigated in the past. What is even depressing is that, people have become apathetic and indifferent towards corruption because it would seem that what we have here is not only a few people doing bad things but the whole culture being complicit in it. From Diosdado Macapagal to the current occupant of the presidency, we have heard the slogan ‘war on corruption” ad nauseam reverberating and echoing in and out people’s mind. As time moves on, it flickers, staggers, and slowly dies until this temporary outrage is banished from people’s memory. So on to the next one.

    2. Roldan Guerrero on

      The NAIA which was renamed after his father, the late Ninoy Aquino should serve a legacy for good governance. But it perfectly describes what kind of government we have now. In my researches of past Phil. regimes, sad to say that during those times, I was of very young age and could not understand what was happening. I found out Ninoy was assasinated during the time of Marcos but up to now the Aquinos and Cojuangcos failed to dignify the blame they issued on Marcos as the culprit. It is an unforgetable period of a very long time that NINOY AQUINO did nothing but kept creating movements of destabilizing the Marcos goverment in pursuit to his failed presidential ambitions which he continued while in the US after Marcos permitted him, despite serving multiple sentences on crimes committed against the government. Cory Aquino emerged to power, a sort of power grab instituted by the elites who could not do what they want and used the Filipino masses to pursue it. Pres. Corazon Aquino amended the constitution, invented PDAF and massive corruption on the pork barrel started which continued until now, his son BSA not satisfied with the PDAF created DAP supposedly designed to implement his futile intentions and bribe everyone around him who are in second thoughts of what he likes to happen. Through his DAP, The power of the purse which is a sole power vested on the lower and upper house was junked. If only what BSA did was to put in place qualified technocrats, not his inefficient KKKs, probably BSAs presidency should have not failed. The bubble effect of the Arroyo administration has now died down.SO WHAT DO WE EXPECT TO HAPPEN AFTER 4 YRS OF SOUND SLEEP BY THIS REGIME?

      • Let’s hope that the voices don’t get louder. You know…. those voices PresidenteNoynoy hears. Baka PresidentNoynoy hears voices again na siya lamang ang pag-asa ng bayan kaya One-More-Term///Re-elect-Noynoy-2016!!!!!

    3. Why the need for a “raid” to “discover” the bilibid fiasco? It is so obvious that the amenities like big televisions, air coins, jacusi etc. cannot be spirited into bilibid without the conformity of the bucor officials and yet de lima refuses to dismiss them “e sino naman ang ipapalit ko” she gives as excuse. This has been going on and it has to be well known to everyone de Lima included so the “raid” is nothing but “palabas”. De Lima can now say that she is not in cahoots herself she ordered a sham raid didn’t she.
      With the litany of dysfuntionalities you enumerated I couldn’t wait for this pnoy to just march to jail soon. My problem however is like de Lima “sino naman ang ipapalit ko?

      • Ang opinyon ko sa salitang “sino naman ang ipapalit ko?”…… kung walang available na superintendent…. why not kumuha sila sa mga may mas mababang ranggo o sa sumusunod sa superintendent? Baka mas marurunong at mapagkakatiwalaan pa ang mga lower officials kaysa sa mga higher officials. Sa palagay ko hindi rason ang walang maipapalit sa kanila. Marami diyan ang mainit na mainit na nagnanais maglingkod sa bansa at atat na atat na makita nila ang kanilang bansa na malinis at matuwid.

    4. mahirap sabihin pero dahil sa kapalpakan ng kkk admin, WE TOLD YOU SO that aquino is not qualified and not capable of being president of this country. lahat ng ginawa at ginagawa ay puro pa pogi lang at puro praise releases. proof – why on earth does he need 3 cabinet secretaries to do public relations work for him. he is the only one since the philippines become an independent country who has 3 press secretaries. meron ba si obama na 3 press officers sa white house?

    5. Nakakasuka ( I feel like throwing up) at what I am reading …How much longer has the Filipino public be abused and exploited by these “government goons ” who took oaths to serve them?

      Should we not have a firing squad to eliminate all these abusers – from Malacanang down to the Bilibid prison?