High officials of more moral governments would resign when their names are linked to scandals, anomalies or even ineffective administration. A Korean official, for instance, resigned after a tragic ferry sinking just because he was responsible for the nation’s transportation.
Oh yes, Budget Secretary Butch Abad and the rest of the so-called Hyatt 10 resigned from the Arroyo Cabinet although they had no hand in the alleged election cheating of 2004. Abad and the rest mouthed high moral standards in quitting. Now, Abad simply refuses to resign even if the implementation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) that he had conceived and supervised had been declared unconstitutional. Where’s the Abad of yesteryears?
I wonder if the quip of Rene Saguisag about a former ally of then President Cory who had turned opposition could apply to Abad: “Hindi naman siya likas na masama – nabarkada lang.”
Abad, claiming good faith, has snubbed calls for him to resign. If he were truly a friend of the President, he would have willingly allowed himself to be the shock absorber of protests against the DAP and promptly called it quits. The Spaniards have a term for such kind of officials: “Morir antes de dimitir.”
Ah, but apologists of BS Aquino and Abad are claiming “good faith” in the implementation of the discredited DAP. The path to hell is paved with good intentions. Good faith is no justification for violation of the laws. I note that while the Aquino administration has been claiming that the DAP is legal, it immediately stopped its implementation when it was questioned before the Supreme Court. That action betrayed the administration’s doubts on the DAP legality.
The DAP has unmasked the moral pretensions of the Aquino administration. The officials can’t seek refuge on claims of good faith but it can move on with thick faces. Saan ba sila nakakuha ng makakapal na mukha? It’s puzzling why there seems to be a lot of pachyderms in the Aquino Cabinet. Couldn’t the President have chosen persons who are of higher moral standards?
The administration and its apologists are ignoring demands for accountability and transparency because they consider the people gullible. They believe that with the assistance of conscripted media, they could make Filipinos believe whatever they claim. There can be other possible explanation why the Palace spokesman could claim that 91 percent of DAP was well-spent while refusing (unable?) to give details on how it was spent.
One of my favorite former senators, the irreverent and maverick Joker Arroyo, said what’s on most minds in an interview over radio station DZBB. He said Malacañang can no longer wave the banner of “the straight path” unless they can account for the P147 billion that went through the DAP.
First, the administration must declare how much was the total fund disbursement from DAP. Abad has given different figures. He should now stick to only one. Then, the administration must identify the sources of these funds. Claims that they came from slow-moving projects would not suffice. Then, the projects where the funds ultimately went must be enumerated. Are they senators, congressmen, non-government organizations, government entities? And for what projects were the funds used?
Of course, if the “slow-moving projects” could turn out to be more beneficial than those that received the funds, then we could understand the hesitation of the administration in providing details. This dilemma is compounded if the recipients were senators and congressmen. Expect the Aquino men to consider this dilemma a completely political one as it cannot withstand anything moral.
Aside from assuming the gullibility of Pinoys, the Aquino administration continues to swagger because it has spineless lawmakers in its pocket. Even without reading or hearing the impeachment complaint against BS Aquino, his supporters are already claiming the complaint is dead on arrival at the House. This is completely understandable. The pork barrel of legislators has been abolished but they found their way into lump sums at the total disposal of the executive department.
“The control [of lump sums]is with Malacañang and there will be no releases if Malacañang will not approve a budget. Every peso that comes from the government now comes from Malacañang. That’s what the public should know,” ex-Sen. Joker Arroyo stressed.
It’s no wonder that legislators have become wimps. Yes, that’s what we have—wimps in Congress and pachyderms in high places in government. So, is it really more fun in the Philippines?