• PNoy versus CJ Puno: The grand collision

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    Marlen V. Ronquillo

    Marlen V. Ronquillo

    Just a year ago, the opposition to President Aquino was the loneliest, tiniest political movement in the country. No leader. No big cause. And the most tragic of all was media’s snub of the opposition. Media needed major story pegs and the whining of the opposition was not enough to attract media hordes. A mere mention by the president of a love life akin to “Coke zero” merited more media coverage than the collective sighs of the opposition.

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    It was, of course, most peripheral during the first few months of President Aquino in power. That was perhaps one of the few transfers of political power in our contemporary history that incapacitated the Left’s effigy-burning resolve.

    If there was a great stampede, it was in the enthusiastic, exuberant rush to welcome a new president.

    The marginalization of the political opposition enabled the president to do what he wanted to do: move for the impeachment of a chief justice, appoint a new associate justice as chief justice, use a mid-term election to place his allies in total control of both chambers of Congress and place the imprint of presidential power in almost all areas covered by the public sphere.

    The passage of the budget as outlined by the president under his hybrid budget planner called the Development Budget Coordinating Committee had been smooth, hassle-free and question-free.

    A law even a Methodist president had failed to pass, a law on reproductive health, was rammed through the two chambers of Congress by the coalition around the president. And after that passage, there was talk of a new challenge to another issue the powerful Catholic Church holds sacrosanct—divorce.

    Even the problem that unexpectedly popped out of the international arena, China’s territorial ambitions including full control over the West Philippine Sea, enhanced, not diminished, the popular support for the president.

    Enter the Luys, the Napoleses and the SARO-for–Cash exchange and a special audit report from the COA that spared but a few among the major political players. Overnight, questions have been raised, focused on the integrity of the major public institutions, Congress especially. The presidency, however, has not been spared from the doubts and serious questions.

    Suddenly, the mass protests used anti-Aquino language that had not been used before, and the most strident, unrepentant anti-Aquino forces, from the left to the right, reveled in the anti-government ferment in the streets.

    Two things unheard of, a proposal to impeach the president and accusing the president of plunder, have been the most biting of the developments post-Napoles.

    The People’s Initiative proposal of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno comes at a critical juncture of the protest against all lump sums in the budget, be they congressional pork barrel or pools of money that can be moved around by the president via the thin legal veneer of realignment. Puno made the proposal at an opportune time— the protesters are about to run out of creative juices on how to push through with the total evisceration of all lump sums in the national budget.

    The protest crowds, too, have been thinning. Man-made and natural calamities have competed for the headlines. The polls have showed that on a personal level, President Aquino has not been tarred by the insinuations of fund abuse and misuse. Capitalizing on that popularity, the president on Wednesday drew the line between his spending and those he called “thieves” who are out, he said, to muddle the SARO-for-Cash exchange.

    The holier-than-thou, riding-on-a-high horse attitude of some of the protest leaders have been turning even the most intense adherents off. The efforts of professional Aquino-bashers to hog the limelight in the anti-pork rallies and even in the legal fight have been also frowned upon by ordinary citizens whose desire is to let the lump sums go—no more, no less.

    The People’s Initiative, even it were to fail in the end, will still serve a very important purpose. As envisioned by former CJ Puno, the multiple sectors opposed to lump sums in the national budget will coalesce around the Initiative. They will be given specific tasks, from getting signatures to organizing anti-lump sum groups at all levels.

    The Initiative will keep the flame of the protests against budgetary lump sums alive. There is now a guarantee that the fight will live another day. Without a vehicle such as the People’s Initiative, there is a real danger that the starting bang would end up a whimper.

    The groups and individuals that would coalesce around the Puno initiative will be headed for a head-on collision with the efforts to the administration to defend the presidential prerogative to realign, juggle, move around pools of money in the national budget for purported development and growth needs. After both the House and the Senate failed to defend the PDAF on an institutional basis, the president and his men decided they would not cower in fear like the legislators.

    In fact, the presidential pronouncements that have been defending the presidential prerogative on fund movements are just the start of a general campaign to battle, toe to toe, with the anti-lump sum movement.

    What is playing out right now is a battle for the hearts and minds of the people over the mechanics—and higher purpose—of the national spending program. The less observant just don’t see it but, borrowing from Dylan, a battle outside is really raging.

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    11 Comments

    1. CJ Reynato Puno laban kay Pnoy? Hindi ako naniniwala sa People’s Initiative (PI) na iminumungkahi ni CJ Puno kasi … bilang isang Supreme Court Justice… alam niyang SUNTOK SA BUWAN ang paglulunsad ng isang People’s Initiative kontra sa PDAF at Pork Barrel dahil maraming legal, technical, at financial requirements ito bago ito maisagawa at magtagumpay. Maging ang COMELEC, nagsasabi… na mga 6 months lang, matatapos na ang verification ng signatures sa PI. Hindi totoo ito kasi… ang protesta ng isang Barangay Chairman na libo lang ang botante, tatlong taon na, hindi pa natatapos ang DECISION ng COMELEC…. Ito pa kayang 5.08 milyon ang Lagda ang susuriin ng COMELEC kung genuine ito o hindi , ay matatapos daw sa loob ng 6 months?.Another false hope.

      Maaaring hindi kayo pumanig sa opinyon ko… pero may palagay akong si Pnoy at CJ Reynato Puno ay MAGKAKUTSABA…. ang layunin ay MAGBIGAY NG FALSE HOPE sa mga tao at para mabawasan ang masamang epekto ng PDAF at PORK BARREL kay Pnoy.

    2. Delaying tactics lang yang “Peoples Initiative”. Lusubin ang Malacanang, kaladkarin si P.Noy at itapon sa ilog Pasig.

    3. Tsk, tsk, Pinoy hugasan mo na, ang iyong masamang ugali hugasan mo na..Kala mo mo malinis eh mas mabaho ka pa sa nabulok na hipon, mapag higanti wala kang budhi animal ka. Pag babayaran mo lahat ng ginawa mo doble pa, pati na ng mga sipsip mong mga demonyong alipores… Wala kang laban kay CJ Puno, may pinagaralan dumaan sa hirap di tulad mo laki sa laya at salapi kaya ganyan na lang ang pan loloko mo sa tao.

    4. from the middle of nowhere on

      In a “democratic” country , the people get the government they deserve. While ever the masses sell their souls at election time for a kilo of rice and a piece of balut, they will continue to be raped by these unconscionable politicians. Their lives & the lives of their children will continue to be raped & desecrated by the likes of our recent crew of thieves in the spotlight now.
      The latest crew will ultimately just walk away from the tragedies they have created and then they will be replaced by a fresh crew of like minded evil doers. How pathetic that we all must put so much reliance for salvation in a “good hearted” buffoon, who is so easily manipulated by those around him. The purveyors of religion in this country are equally at fault, just grease their palms and it is business as usual for the criminals in power. The irony is that these religious institutions are very happy to sell their souls too, maybe for a price a little higher than a bag of rice and a rotting duck egg.

    5. Pnoy said, I am not a thief,only my galamays. C.J. Puno’s peoples initiative must be supported. It seems that Aquino doesn’t get what the Million march mean. Next march people should going to Malacanang and to congress.
      Billions of peoples money are squandered by these congressmen and senators, The corrupt lawmakers should be padlocked in congress and senate building until they die of hunger,they should test what you feel when you are hungry.
      It is time to abolished this corrupt institutuion. A revolutionary government must be set-up for the time being, Until we can make a true and patriotic constitution and leaders. Only then we can see a new country.

      There is no question the senate and congress this time must be abolished.Or else corruption and greed by these lawmakers will still exist.

    6. santiago caisido on

      I am from Bulacan Paano ako tutulong para sa people’s initiative. I am 73 yrs. old retired senior officer of a bank. A certified public accountant and a law graduate during martial law i do not take the bar (INABOT AKO NG MARTIAL LAW).

    7. Between CJ Puno and the Abnoy, it is safe to predict, people will rally around the former CJ. His solution to the crisis is one of reason and of law. The Abnoy and his cohorts simply move by their emotional impulses which they try to justify by irrational arguments.The Abnoy is clueless about moral governance and that is why the country is in such a mess. Let us hope this country will see the rising of a new political ethos courtesy of the former CJ propped up by new leaders devoid of greed and corrupt mindsets.

    8. I dont know why the govt cannot break down the lump sum cost into a more detail costing for audit simplification and include them to yearly GAA. Each govt agencies have six months to do it and another 6 mos. for Congress to review it. If they have less or dont’ have personnel now, then hire more workers, specifically only on budget preparation . I guess the cost of hiring additional workers is much cheaper than by just submitting out of touch/bloated budget that majority of it may end up in the pocket of some govt.officials. This is what Pinoy don’t understand. We want clarity, we want to be sure that our money will not go somewhere else. There must be a system.We cannot just rely on his word that he is not a thief.

      • Saturnino R. Mendinueto, Jr. on

        Tama ka, we want clarity. Sana ilabas ni Abad, black & white, yuon lahat ng mga project requests ng mga 20 senators na binigyan ni Pnoy ng additional P100M at nuon 188 congressmen P10M galling sa DAP> Ipakita din ng mga senators at congressmen kung san nila ginastos, sa huling sentimo, yuon pera ng bayan para patunayan nilang hindi pumasok sa kani-kanilang makakapal na bulsa o banko yuon pera ng bayan. Sa ganito lang paniwalaan ng bayan si Pnoy na ginagastos sa tama at hindi ginamit yuon DAP pang SUHOL, Di Ba Ho, Abad???
        Sabi nga ni Pnoy ” I am not a Thief ” which I and many of us believe him. Jingoy Estrada and Bong Revilla said ” I too is not a Thief “. Kung ganon si Juan ba at yuon 34 pa kasaling dinemanda ng Plunder ni De Lima ang MAGNANAKAW ???
        Tanong lang Gwapo, Sexy at Tanda, Kung kayo ba ay magpapagawa ng sarili nyong bahay at binigyan nyo na yuon kontratista ng kalahati ng kontrata, sabihin na natin P100M, gaya nuon pinagagawa ni Sexy sa Wack-Wack, di kaya nyo ito babalikbalikan kung tama at may ginagawa yuon kontratista??? Ano pa kundi sa inyo ang perang ginagamit lalo dapat nyong pag-ingatan pagka’t kayo ang mananagot sa bayan di ba ho???? DITO LANG MAPAPATUNAYAN KUNG WALA KAYONG KASALANAN SA BAYAN, DI BA HO MGA SIRS????

    9. Voice from the Wilderness on

      It is indeed a good development that a respected personality in the person of former CJ Puno is taking the lead in opposing the policy of this inept president with regards to PDAF and DAP. And who knows this initial movement of opposition will metamorphose into a general opposition to the Regime of this inept president and galvanize the effort of those well meaning individuals which will also include idealistic groups in the military and the general public who wants a system change to happen that will cleanse this country once and for all the evil vestiges brought about by toxic politics. Puno can head an interim revolutionary government that will take over to cleanse and heal this country.