Our congressmen and senators gave President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino 3rd (The Last?) a prolonged standing ovation even before he could start his State of the Nation Address (SONA).
They saw nothing wrong in his hijacking of their inherent power of the purse. Since he had been giving them more of their much coveted pork, how can they not appreciate him? It really doesn’t matter to them that they’re supposed to be show windows of the people’s sentiments. The people’s thoughts be damned as long as they receive funds from the people’s taxes given them by the President “in good faith.”
Ah, but the President said that his critics are in the minority and that majority of the people still support him. Is he living in a land of dreams? Sorry I asked, for his SONA itself shows that his feet are not touching the ground. Take his self-congratulatory statements on government response to Super Typhoon Yolanda for instance.
He said: “The government didn’t waste a second in responding. Within 24 hours after the typhoon, our three C130 landed at the airport with relief goods. That same day, we established a communications hub for the much faster flow of information. On the second day, the Rapid Health Assessment teams of DOH and more soldiers, policemen and BFP personnel from other provinces arrived; many repacking centers were opened all over the country.”
Wow! That’s a quick reaction from our president. We should all applaud him—if what he claimed were true. Was his insistence that only 2,500 died indicative of a faster flow of communication? The poor police officer who correctly assessed the extent of the damage was exiled to Camp Crame. Ah, truth shall set you frozen.
In an interview four days after Yolanda, DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman proudly announced that they had already distributed 125,000 food packs to victims. Each food pack contained only 3 kgs of rice and canned goods. The assistance to only 125,000 out of the more than 4 million displaced persons after four days is not something to crow about. Yet there he was in his SONA raving over his administration’s response. He should tell that to the victims and he’ll get rotten tomatoes all over his face.
The SONA is supposed to provide a road map for the government. I see no such thing, his numerous references to “tuwid na daan” notwithstanding. He didn’t mention any legislative program although he gave a few sentences to the 2015 national budget, a supplemental budget and a joint resolution to clarify still unresolved issues. He didn’t identify these “unresolved issues” but he’s most probably referring to “savings” and “cross-border” use of savings.
His support for a joint resolution of Congress ensures the declaration of savings in midyear and their use on items not found in the General Appropriations Act. Our spineless legislators will bow to the president’s wishes so they could continue to get more funds for their pet projects.
He would have sounded more of a true reformist had he cited the need to repeal provisions of PD 1177 and of the Administration Code that negate Congress’s Power of the Purse. He and his minions have been justifying his DAP because of these laws. Poor President! He merely wanted to enjoy powers that he doesn’t have because he wants to serve the people better and faster and yet, the Supreme Court has denied him this.
He spoke of his administration’s “ability” to respond to existing and future problems. For immediate solution to the recurring power outages, he directed the energy secretary to coordinate with the Joint Congressional Power Commission, the Energy Regulatory Commission, the industry and the consumers“ to strengthen our ability to respond to the energy problem.” This “solution” is not very reassuring and yet, this statement was roundly applauded by the supposed representatives of the people. He also said nothing about proposals to amend the Electric Power Industry Reform Act. (For the nth time, everybody, please stop saying “Epira law”!)
His solution to the high price of rice? Import more rice so hoarders would be forced to sell. Remarkably, he stopped saying anything about achieving rice sufficiency. He got burnt before, and a burnt child will avoid the fire.
Our onion-skinned President claims said that his critics want to bring his administration down. He even said that all of his critics are against the people, showing his delusional belief that the people are solidly behind him.
His portrayal of his critics reminds me of martial law days when those in media protesting the abuses of the Marcos regime were shrugged off as “the Mosquito Press.” Ah, but mosquitoes are not only pesky—they could also create bigger problems to those who ignore them.