The scandals that have been fogging up Malacañang—most recently the unconstitutionality and the illegality of the President’s and his Budget Secretary’s DAP method of amassing cash from properly funded projects and using the money for whatever they like to spend for—have made Mr. Aquino’s presidency a moral lame duck.
This is a big blow. The Aquino regime has been able to stand despite being a physically lame duck one because of the perception, albeit wrong, that it is a tower of morality and probity.
A lame duck is, by definition, an ineffective elected official and the President has been seen to be one, physically and officially, all these four years.
What we have from the President and his administration is a series of badly done, questionable work and utter failures. Here are a few of them:
• The failure to reduce criminality.
• The failure to improve the infernal traffic in Metro Manila (which has become more chaotic and more costly to the national and private economies of businesses and individual citizens).
• The slow rehabilitation of Yolanda-ravaged provinces of the Visayas and the failure to restore to normality of the lives of victims (some of whom are still in unsanitary refugee shelters).
• The failure to attain food security (as result the people will suffer high prices and shortages of rice and basic food commodities).
• The failure to reduce corrupt practices. (Instead we have a dramatic surge of corruption in government involving not just lowly employees and middle supervisors but now the most celebrated senators and congressmen, the Cabinet members and the President’s office).
• The failure to substantially reduce our country’s massive poverty condition.
• The failure to reduce unemployment.
• The failure to establish comprehensive peace in Muslim Mindanao (which is causing fears that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front might decide to re-start its separatist war against the government because their devoutly-wished for Bangsamoro Basic Law is–in the MILF’s own words (July 8 issue of Luwaran, the MILF website periodical–”stranded in the Office of the President…”).
There are many more instances to show that the Aquino presidency has been by and large a lame duck administration, performance-wise.
The case of the ‘delayed’ BBL
But we will stop at the case of the MILF’s Bangsamoro substate that the Aquino negotiators willingly gave to the separatist rebels, and with the approval of President Aquino himself as manifested by his speeches and signature rituals.
The President and his negotiators promised the MILF that the Bangsamoro Basic Law (which is to serve as the mini-constitution of the promised substate in Mindanao) would be passed by Congress during the year. Mr. Aquino generously arranged to have this draft written by the MILF bosses and their advisers. He gave them to understand that their draft would be readily passed because he would use his powers over Congress to achieve that goal. Then he would enact it.
President Aquino, however, cannot endorse the MILF draft as it is to Congress. He would be likely be charged with another impeachable offense if he did, something worse than inventing the illegal and unconstitutional DAP: treason!
So, as our page 2 banner said three days ago, “Bangsamoro law delay worries MILF.” Some Bangsamoro leaders, quoted by Luwaran, have called the Aquino revision of the BBL the “castrated version.”
What complicates the President’s status is that the scandals have added to his presidency’s being physically a lame duck the attribute of now being also a lame duck in the moral realm.