• Ping Lacson just realized ‘Daang Matuwid’ is a con game


    WHATEVER motivation former Senator Lacson had in joining the Aquino government and serve as its Yolanda rehab czar is not even worth discussing right now. But after his short-lived term with the Aquino government, his post-resignation thoughts are worth discussing as Filipinos contemplate – and Mr. Aquino himself contemplates – on the verdict of history on his presidency.

    Mr. Aquino is confident that he will be rated favorably. In his own mind and in the view of his flacks, he will be remembered as a colossus who presided over sustained periods of economic growth and one who dealt with systemic official corruption.

    Mr. Lacson has been offering an altogether divergent, darker view, not at all pleasing to Mr. Aquino and his nodding, admiring posse.

    In his first salvo, Mr. Lacson questioned the close to P50 billion lump sum in the 2016 budget, then asked, obliquely, this question. Is this kind of budgetary malevolence the practice of Daang Matuwid? I framed that question because that was the sense of Mr. Lacson’s line of thought. He was just to civil to say it bluntly, perhaps due to a residue of respect for the President.

    There was so much hand-wringing and tongue-twisting from the Aquino acolytes after Mr. Lacson’s pointed questions on the alleged lump sums. Mr. Lacson was backed by research and his staff had prepared a graph on where the lump sums are and under what items were these placed in the 2016 budget proposal. Finally, the Senate said that the lump sums are temporary lump sums. They will have specifics once they are appropriated. Temporary lump sums – governance has not heard of such animal – finally entered the budgetary lexicon.

    The political Left, always on the alert for any issue that would damn the Aquino administration, took up the cudgels for Mr. Lacson and his expose. Now, the left’s party list members in Congress have adopted the figures of Mr. Lacson and are looking for more lump sums to unravel. Only, according to the Left, the hidden items are not just “lump sums” but “ congressional insertions.” Thanks to Mr. Lacson, a weak underbelly of the Aquino administration has been laid bare, slapping the “Daang Matuwid” narrative all around. If there are critiques that give Mr. Aquino’s restless nights and put his government into a defensive mode, they are critiques that tend to show that the “Daang Matuwid” is just a long-running con game and has no basis in reality.

    In his second salvo, Mr. Lacson questioned the sincerity of Mr. Aquino’s Yolanda rehabilitation work, an ultra important act of government that Mr. Lacson presided over, though for a short time and as a “rehab czar” with very little authority over the pace of the implementation.

    Mr. Lacson said it was government as usual, bureaucratic, snail-paced and with its heart and mind not really caring a bit about the Yolanda victims. Mr. Lacson was expecting too much. Or, he perhaps read too much of the literature about the Marshall Plan and of the noble and bright men that made sure Europe would rise up from its massive devastation. Indeed, the men behind the Marshall Plan complemented the Plan’s nobility of purpose and grand agenda with their own mastery of the budgeting, programming and implementing process. One of the chief overseers of the Marshall Plan, in fact, was a law professor of Juan Ponce Enrile at Harvard Law.

    Lacson’s lament was a valid one. Only he failed to realize that this is the Philippines and the incumbent president has no tolerance for the concerns of his vulnerable, victimized constituencies.

    The Aquino government is at a loss on how to deal with a critic like Mr. Lacson. He is relentless and Mr. Aquino’s weapon of choice against critics – which is to slime them – will not work on the former senator. The COA records and audits on pork barrel use, Mr. Aquino’s weapons of choice against critics, have nothing on the former senator. Mr. Aquino had availed of his PDAF while Mr. Lacson had not.

    Should they slime him on the horrible human rights record of his police unit during the martial law regime. Should they slime him as a sour-grape? Should they tag him as a political has-been looking for a third act? The Aquino flacks have yet to decide on where to hit Mr. Lacson.

    Mr. Lacson is sure guilty of one thing – naivete. Or, gullibility. Or, lack of discernment. How he failed to realize that the “Daang Matuwid” is just a long-running con game in governance is beyond us. He should have realized the obvious early on. That serving the vulnerable has never been part of the agenda of the Aquino government.

    And that fulfilling the state’s social contract with the vulnerable, needy sectors has never been a concern of the Aquino administration.

    Why did Mr. Lacson miss these things? Mr. Aquino likes waltzing with the Davos Crowd, the Makati Business Club, the foreign chambers of commerce people. He likes inaugurating office towers that are being built on the backs of exploited construction workers, without the faintest notion that the office towers had a cost so many lives, so many maimed bodies, so many bagged cadavers from the dangerous construction sites sent home to many remote, poverty-stricken spots in the archipelago.

    Despite his gullibility and lack of discernment, Mr. Lacson is still doing the country a service after his Yolanda stint. This is speaking truth to power. All his expose may not lift him to a competitive run for the presidency. But his efforts in exposing the truth that the “Daang Matuwid” is nothing but a long-running con game are well-appreciated.


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    1. Ping just needed an ally in Malacanang after nearly a decade of relentless persecution under GMA. Hindi sya bumilib kay Boy Sayad, Ping just used his smarts. Tanga lang ang bibilib kay BS, and Ping is anything but that. Ngayon, mabaho na si BS kaya kailangan dumistansiya na, gaya ng ginawa nila Cory at Hyatt 10 kay Cloria nung bumaho siya dahil sa Garci tapes. Ganyan ka-simple lang yan, puliika yan eh, Pinoy style.

    2. Pnoy and all his cabinet and his appointed governmant officials should resign now because he is the worst president that idolized by many morons and stupid people around him.Kawawa ang mga Pilipino naloko ng isang gago!

    3. Mariano Patalinjug on

      Yonkers, New York
      16 August 2015

      I cannot agree completely with this Assessment of President Aquino’s presidency as a “complete failure.” It may not have been a “smashing success,” but it definitely is not a “complete failure.”

      In terms of economic growth, the country has chalked up an average annual GDP growth of around 7 percent, which happens to be quite impressive and one of the highest in Asia. President Aquino and his economic “brain trust” deserve full credit for that.

      The fly in the ointment here is that such an impressive average annual GDP rate of growth has uniformly been JOBLESS! This obvious paradox must confound and befuddle President Aquino and his economic “brain trust” no end.

      As far as his anti-corruption fight is concerned, one has to admit that this is “a very hard nut to crack.” Here he has not been such a “smashing success” with his signature “Daang matuwid” program. But, yes, he should get credit for former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona successfully getting impeached for UNEXPLAINED WEALTH. And he should also get credit for Gloria Macapagal Arroyo getting charged for “rigging the 2007 elections” and for Plunder. More credit to him for getting several “lawmakers-lawbreakers” charged with Plunder, led by Juan Ponce Enrile, Bongbong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada.

      But as far as corruption is concerned, there are surely more who are entangled in the smelly P10-billion “pork barrel” scam, but who up until now have not been charged. Why? Where are the long-promised 3rd and succeeding batches? Why has it taken 5 years for the DOJ and the Ombudsman to marshal the evidence needed to charge all the others? Is it because, as rumored, these are President Aquino’s political allies?



      • 7% GDP growth is the result of the previous Admin reforms, if you check statistics there was a sustained increase and then the peak in 2013, after which it started to decline again, for lack of follow-up reform from the current administration. Increase in FDI which the current Admin boast is hugely from speculative investments, but not investment that are intended to stay for long and to create jobs. After 2013, despite the good publicity and the mind pre-conditioning tactics of some media and finance companies hoping to sustain the hope of investors for a friendly investment environment, still after 2013 many investors saw that no real new reforms are being initiated thus, the huge volume of withdrawing investors.

        Those who benefited are a few huge companies who did not increase the rate of employment, nor the salaries of their employees. Thus making the rich richer and the poor-poorer.

    4. This action of lacson can already be termed as too late the hero. If this kind of expose was done by him earlier perhaps after the conviction of corona where massive use of DAP and PDAF by this present inutile president in order to influence the congressmen and senate verdict, he might have scored massive points to propel his ambition for the presidency. If he had done that, the general public especially the genuine critics of this inutile president might perceived that he will be the only one that can make this inutile president pay for the transgressions, foolishness and incompetence after it steps down from office. Unlike the present crop of presidential candidates even the self proclaimed opposition in the person of VP binay will spare this inutile president from making payback if they become president….

      • i completely agree with your observation about the actions of ping ping. but i would not say too late the hero. there is still value of his expose tho this lump sums and other pork of boy sisi has been the subject of criticism by the makabayan group ever since but the poor pinoys just let it go since they are leftists. know we know that drilon and abadingding and belmonte are lying thru their teeth when they say without batting an eyelash that there is no pork in the budget. sabi nga ang pork kahit anung itawag mo ay pork pa rin. DO NOT FORGET TO JUNK DRILON THIS COMING ELECTIONS AND SO WITH BELMONTE. REMEMBER MAR AKA BOY PICKUP AS THE REASON WHY WE HAVE PROBLEMS AT MRT-LRT, AIRPORTS, LACK OF LICENSE AND PLATES, AND DISASTER IN RELIEF OPERATIONS OF YOLANDA VICTIMS.

    5. Tanungin ninyo si Mar Roxas if he is going to continue this kind of governance known to many as “DAANG MATUWID!”

    6. Entonces, even hard nosed Crime Czar, former Senator, and former Commander of Police Forces gets frustrated, eh?
      Thank Marlen for your riveting piece.

      • Mariano Patalinjug on

        Yonkers, NY
        16 August 2015


        Good of you to comment on this column by Marlen V. Ronquillo in the Manila Times today.

        We in the diaspora should maintain an abiding interest in what’s happening in our homeland.

        Take care and have a good day.


    7. whatever, daang matuwid or the next administration theme will be the same. the way to reduce corruption is, I say reduce because no such government is free from corruption but reducing it is the way to achieve the goal, and the way to reduce it is to increase the pay and benefits of all government employees. If you look at industrialized countries like the US and France. Majority of their citizens dream of working for the government, because the pay and benefits and retirement pensions are better than the private sector. The work environment is also better meaning not too stressful although some departments cannot avoid this but most of the jobs in their government are just right with quality time offs for the workers not mentioning promotions and transfers and other opportunities. This should be the approach of the Philippine government to curb corruption and make the government workers proud of their jobs and feel that they are serving the people. If for example pay the your police officers a meager salaries and them being the authority in enforcing the law, what do you think they are going to do? to feed their families? of course commit crime, that’s why there are so many cops in the country who are on the take and god knows what other illegal activities they are in to support their families. and the same is true to other government agencies.

    8. Ping Lacson is such a dubious, gangster-type politician who made millions I. Presenting himself the “protector of the “Taipan Group” yet the brain on how they can be victimized and be saved for big money. Lacson who learned his suppressive militaristic extortions and sowing of fear for submission from Ver and his military executioners during Marcos martial law is just changing his chameleon skin of brutal techniques of military and police ad,insist ration to that of a champion of the righteous is so gallingly pretentious. Lacson lacks personal discernment of things good and noble but will cover up crimes of murder and corruptions. Lacson just had no other things to do in his life so he tries to rock the boat of Aquino in terms of budgetary compliance. Lacson never did anything laudable and memorable as Senator, except to hide as a fugitive from justice! What I admire in him is his coterie of loyalists who virtually protect him from charges of murders. Let Ping Lacson fade away together with his plundering convicted boss, Joseph “brainless- coward” Estrada!

    9. “………. Mr. Lacson is sure guilty of one thing – naivete. Or, gullibility. Or, lack of discernment.”

      “Mr. Aquino likes waltzing with the Davos Crowd, the Makati Business Club, the foreign chambers of commerce people. He likes inaugurating office towers……”

      As what we already know, Noynoy is allergic to hear bad news from the media and his cabinet secretaries.

      Hindi bale, less than a year na lang si Noynoy sa Malacanang. Once his term is over, his former cabinet secretaries will get even with him and let’s see kung maka-angas pa si Noynoy sa kanila. If they happen to see Noynoy someday, they will look at him eye to eye, as if daring Noynoy for a fight or shout at him, while remembering his arrogance and sarcasms with them.

    10. The Philippines should really have a king and not a president…. you all treat him as a king anyway…unaccountable and unapproachable… even the mayors in this country act as kings even getting away with mass murder.

      The parody or comedy is to sit and watch the Filipino people persevere a president they know is totally insane yet let their own discomfort take a backseat to their reluctance to confront and make a stand…

      Other than a few well meaning congressmen and senators this entire country is a con game of rigged elections and blatant vote buying… a banana republic….

      • ang sakit pakingan na banana republic ang pilipinas pero mukhang papunta na duon sa pagiging banana republic o failed state. kung hindi gigising ang mga tao at pigilan ang mga oligarchs tapos ang buto buto ng mga pilipino. eto na naman tayo at magpapaloko na naman sa smartmatic-comelec mafia. inisahan na naman tayo ng comelec at gagamitin na naman ang smartmatic hocus pcos machine. gaya ng 2010 elections palpak at manhid na naman ang magiging presidente natin. gising mga pilipino. simulan natin sa pagsipa sa smartmatic