FOR all the criticisms of the Aquino administration and exposés of its corrupt doings while trumpeting its “Tuwid na Daan” moral thrust in The Times, we the editors have not ceased praying that the President miraculously decides to do what is really good for the people, the nation and the Philippine Republic.
We fervently pray for him to become less mendacious about the state of our country and to do a better job in the less than 23 months as our president. That is our constant prayer. And it is so not only because it is our Christian duty to God and to ourselves to wish him well (for we fail to be doers of good and we sin if we don’t) but also because his success will mean reforming our government and our society, and a better life for the majority of the Filipino people who are poor and suffering.
We strongly condemn the plan of some retired generals to incite our military men and women to join them in mounting a coup d’état to remove President Aquino from office.
We agree that the citizenry should manifest their anger at the crooked things in the Aquino administration through marches and demonstrations, expressions of dismay and disgust in both the social and in the mainstream media and calls for better governance, honesty and transparency. But we are against the People Power Revolt manner of accomplishing change.
We are grateful to the President for having reformed in the matter of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill. He had betrayed us all when he turned his back on the vows he solemnly made during the campaign that the passage of a good FOI law was going to be one of his topmost priorities as president. But now he has made up for his betrayal. An FOI law, the Palace has promised, will be passed and enacted soon because the President will work for it.
We fervently hope that he also gets converted away from his tendency to distort reality. In the end this simply means that he tells lies, about the state of our nation, the work his administration is doing and the state of the governance of the Republic.
The biggest of these lies, and which is the root of the illegal acts committed under the unconstitutional Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), is that when he assumed office in July 2010, he found an empty treasury. That is what he unarguably meant when he said he found the “budget depleted” and accused the previous administration of corruption in his first SONA and asked the question “Where did the funds go?”
Because of this distorted, wrong and dishonest finding, he then decided to cancel ongoing and the scheduled-to-be-launched major projects. All of these projects had funds for their implementation properly appropriated by the Congress. The funds for these cancelled and suspended projects were the cash resources that the President and Secretary of the Budget Florencio Abad turned into money for the DAP. Alas, the result of the project cancellations was the sinking of the Gross Domestic Product growth rate in 2011 to 3.64 percent—from the high and internationally admired growth rate of 7.63 percent in 2010. This fast rate of growth was an achievement of the Arroyo administration, the Overseas Filipino Workers and the Bangko Sentral.
Another big lie is the justification for the Framework Agreement and the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro and the formation of a Transition Commission for the Bangsamoro, which the President gave absolute power to draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law (or mini constitution).
There are many other lies. The latest one is the presence of several lump sum items in the President’s proposed national budget for 2015. One of these items is the P501-billion Special Purpose Funds. This and all the lump sum items go against the President’s original avowals of total transparency especially in money matters. It mocks his Tuwid na Daan avowals. His administration is supposed to have no mysteriously hidden wealth, no money allotted for undefined projects and purposes. He and the Liberal Party heralded the “zero-based budgeting” system as the big difference between Aquino and Arroyo. Like the DAP, this monster of a financial invention called the P501-billion Special Purpose Funds mocks “zero-based budgeting.” The President has to rework the 2015 budget proposal and make it more truthful, transparent and consistent with the high moral tone of Tuwid na Daan.
All of these lies, in the President’s effective delivery, sound so sincere. But they become painfully devastating betrayals when shown to be mendacities.
They lead us to wonder: Have his trusted men duped him into accepting these fabrications as the truth? Or, did he himself concoct these falsehoods?