Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago said that the decision of the Supreme Court on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) was “a no-brainer.” President BS Aquino, on the other hand, said that the SC decision was difficult to understand. What does this comment make of him? One with no brain?
The magistrates and Senator Miriam are authorities on the Constitution while BS Aquino has no training in law. Is he a genius that he believes he knows more about legal questions than they do? Ah, but he doesn’t need brains to attack the SC decision if he has brawn. And the president has plenty of it. The Presidency has enough powers to use against all those who dare oppose him. Worse, he has the temperament to use these powers injudiciously.
As if his brawn were not enough, he’s threatening to call on his loyal supporters in the House and the Senate to gang up on the Supreme Court. He has already sounded the clarion call for action and we should expect the wimps in the legislature to blindly obey his bidding.
Forget the oft-repeated claims of congressmen and senators that they are independent of Malacañang. They had allowed Malacañang to trample on their inherent, constitutional power of the purse so we shouldn’t expect them to protest the continuing humiliation of their institution by BS Aquino. Rather, we should expect them to even defend the President’s act of clipping their powers. Woefully, we can also expect them to give the dirty finger to those who encourage them to resist any attempt to erode their independence and powers.
I had dark forebodings of the personality flaws of BS Aquino when he was still a senator. This was when, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Governments, he refused to report out local bills from the House because they had no counterpart measures in the Senate. I wrote of my utter disbelief that after nine years as congressman and almost three years as senator, he still didn’t know that a House bill doesn’t need a Senate counterpart for it to reach the floor. We had a short talk after my article came out. He maintained his position even after the Senate majority leader then, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, had already corrected him on the floor. However, it’s not his refusal to be corrected that gave a lasting impression on me. Rather, it was his parting words to me: “Baka naman kinakalaban mo ako! [It seems you’re out to challenge me!]”
I expected those words to come only from a neighborhood toughie, not from a senator of the land, especially not from the only son of the acclaimed icon of Philippine democracy. I realized then that BS Aquino takes criticisms as a personal affront. I had written critical articles against Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Franklin Drilon, Dick Gordon and Alan Peter Cayetano among others but they never uttered such threatening words to me.
BS Aquino showed his bent to act like a neighborhood toughie with his veiled threats against the magistrates who ruled against the DAP. He tried to mask this by citing alleged benefits derived from projects funded through this program. Later reports on where the funds were hijacked to showed the emptiness of his excuses.
For instance, it has been shown that he impounded P1.6 billion for the rehabilitation of Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 and diverted it to his DAP. This airport has been demeaned as one of the worst in the world but the President saw nothing wrong in taking away the fund appropriated for its improvement.
NAIA-1 was meant to honor the memory of the martyred Ninoy Aquino, the President’s father. However, his memory was demeaned by allowing the terminal to go to seed. Now, there’s money, P1.6 billion, that could help make the terminal truly a memorial to a great Filipino but that Filipino’s son considered such efforts “slow-moving” and used the money elsewhere. No wonder, BS Aquino couldn’t fire the NAIA manager despite complaints against the conditions at the terminal.