President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s televised address last Wednesday night did not really clarify the most pressing matters besetting his administration. Nor was there a blockbuster announcement, as expected. While he was believed to be prepping the people for a dramatic announcement like promising to scrap all pork barrel—including that of the Office of the President—all he did was to claim that he was not a thief and that the Disbursement Acceleration Program was nothing like the Priority Development Assistance Fund.
Perhaps the Chief Executive should be reminded that no one has actually called him a thief to his face. He remains a popular, even well-liked, president because the majority of the people perceive him as possessing the same qualities as his late mother, who was a true paragon of virtue.
Like his mother, this President Aquino has his shortcomings. In fact, he has plenty. But generally speaking, he is a good person at heart who believes that the Filipino people are his collective boss.
It must, however, be noted that the president seems exceedingly loyal to some of his people, even when those officials have either under-performed or have been linked to questionable dealings.
Take the Bureau of Customs, for example.
Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon cannot be called an exceptional Customs chief, based on the bureau’s collection record alone. Beyond this, there remain all his actions that, for all intents, appear to be taken in defense of his turf.
There remain questions over why his well-respected deputy, former General Danilo Lim, really resigned. The good general never said it outright, but his post-resignation statements indicate that the highest officials at the BoC are all too willing to bend over backwards to grant favors to powerful officials.
We honestly do not care if the reassigned BoC officials question the motives of Biazon. Only after they have all passed lifestyle checks should they claim to be professional bureaucrats dedicated to maximizing collections, rather than padding their pockets. We would not mind if Biazon himself were to be subjected to a lifestyle check.
To be sure, there are other senior government officials who have been the object of rumors regarding their honestly, or lack thereof.
President Aquino may be trying his damndest to tread the straight and narrow path, but the same cannot be said of each and every member of his official family.
We reiterate our belief that Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino 3rd is not a thief.
Given this, we must question the wisdom of his televised address of Wednesday evening. It raises some questions, which can be disturbing.
Why the odd timing? Malacanang must know that a mid-evening presscon is not a good idea, especially when there is no major problem that the public needs to know about.
Is it possible that the announcement sent a hidden message to parties out to destabilize the Aquino administration that they should think before taking any kind of action?
This cannot be discounted. But no, we do not have any definitive proof that any political, civilian or military group is preparing a November surprise for Mr. Aquino. We are just wondering why Malacanang seems so perturbed these days.
There’s no big problem, is there? All is well. Because President Aquino is not a thief.