All the bad things that can be said about the State of the Nation Address and the President himself and his closest co-rulers of our country have, it seems, been said in the newspapers, the talk shows of non-coopted networks and in the social media.
Youth and workers’ groups marched and demonstrated. The Congress’ Ladies in Peach walked out of the session hall.
Left-of-center groups were the most bitter and angry. Here are some words from Anakbayan’s critique of the SONA, which more or less contains exactly the same plaints, laments and condemnations made by other militant groups: “BS Aquino turned to lies, drama and crocodile tears and “paawa effect” [appeal for mercy]in his State of the Nation Address 2014…It showed the sorry State of Noynoy Aquino: a corrupt presidency, desperately grasping at straws and shooting in the dark.
“Aquino’s speech was still about stubbornly defending DAP: he enumerated DAP projects in his speech and called on Congress to pass a “Joint Resolution” to define government spending terms and defy the Supreme Court in support of his unconstitutional DAP.”
“Aquino made absurd claims of economic growth and accomplishments based on lies and delusions. He exaggerated gains to cover-up the plight of the Filipino people, especially the poor. For instance, his claim that education backlogs—classrooms, armchairs, books—have been erased is clearly a lie. Likewise, his claim that jobs have been created conveniently ignores the fact that unemployment rates have risen under his government. He made lame excuses regarding Agrarian Reform failure, and conveniently erased in the picture his family’s continuing control of Hacienda Luisita.
“Aquino insulted the victims of Yolanda by inventing a new, ridiculous explanation to government’s slow response: ‘Natangay po pati ang ating prepositioned relief goods.’ [Our prepositioned relief goods were also swept away]. At the same time, he boasted of speedy recovery in Yolanda affected areas. This is a president with a very wild imagination.
“Aquino tried to lure the public through crocodile tears and Kris Aquino’s drama-rama. But no one is falling for his lies, rhetorics and antics. His water cannonade of the biggest SONA ng Bayan protest outside the Batasan shows that his government is desperate, paranoid and isolated.
“The Filipino is worth fighting for? Yes. But Aquino should stop portraying himself as the hero, for in this case it is clear to the people: he and his corrupt rule is the enemy to overthrow and fight against.”
Individually, Roman Catholic bishops have issued stinging statements against President Aquino’s and his associates’ wrongdoings. But precisely because he is the current president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Archbishop Socrates Villegas has spoken with prudence–and wisdom, seeking fairness and justice, while condemning the sins of the administration.
Have the Protestant churchmen been more condemning– Of the President and the lies he has spoken to con the citizenry into believing his claims? Of his effort to destroy the Supreme Court as an institution? Of his diminution of the Congress by bribing its honorable members and taking over its function and power to determine how and for what the people’s money is to be spent?
The National Council of Churches in the Philippines, in its “Statement in the State of the Nation in 2014,” laments that the “mandate” the people gave President Aquino “has been largely squandered.” Having “reflected deeply on the commitments of President Benigno S. Aquino III when he came to office in 2010 and the current state of our nation” the churchmen of the NCCP “observe four years later that the privilege of the few has become more entrenched than ever and that the country is mired in a culture of corruption that is systemic, persistent and pervasive.”
“We are appalled by the approach of President Aquino who has turned the issue of congressional corruption into a partisan weapon to attack his political enemies while protecting his friends and allies. We are also deeply concerned about the hypocrisy of the President in accumulating his own discretionary funds through DAP which exceeds by billions of pesos those of the PDAF. It is absurd that the President as the principal defender of our constitution should compare his own unconstitutional actions to those of someone who in an emergency commits a parking violation,” says the NCCP.
Another group of Protestant bishops, the United Council of Churches of the Philippines (UCCP), has called on President Aquino to “repent or resign.”
Perhaps a miracle has happened
Perhaps, the President is in fact repenting. Perhaps, the miracle we have been praying for, and asked Times readers to also pray for, has been granted. That is the miracle of President Aquino coming to his senses and realizing his mistakes, turning to God and being converted.
He has asked the Congress for a supplemental budget in lieu of illegally using DAP money.
His allies are saying that he is moving to reconcile with the Justices.
We pray now for the miracle that the President decides to seriously address the many important concerns that Fr. Ranhilio C. Aquino, our new columnist who is Dean of the San Beda Graduate School of Law and Chair of the Department of Jurisprudence and Legal Philosophy of the Philippine Judicial Academy, has listed.