Presidential humbug at the APEC CEO summit


PRESIDENT Aquino’s speech at the opening of the APEC CEO summit left me troubled and stunned. No matter how many times I reviewed it, I kept winding up with the word “humbug” to describe it. (The collective noun is “humbuggery”, which should be kept separate from “skullduggery.” ) The word means pretense, deception, or sham.

In all my years of covering and monitoring what takes place in the annual APEC meetings, I have not heard or read an address by a host president or prime minister that spent as much time in self-congratulation. Neither have I seen a host fail to provide at least a stirring vision and send-off for the conference.

An event requiring solemnity and grace
This leads me to ask: Does anyone in Malacañang today know how to write a speech? Anyone who can recognize a good speech, if he/she stumbles on one?

I ask because our President is the chairman of the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting, as well as the chairman of the summit of Asia-Pacific CEOs, which all APEC heads of state will take turns in addressing.

These events, being rare and exceptional, deserve to be marked with solemnity, not extravagance; with grace and not self-congratulatory gestures.

APEC is a regional event stretching from one end of the Pacific to the other, from Oceania to Asia to America.

I believe a fine speech by our President was called for here, because he was speaking for all Filipinos, and he was expected to put our best foot forward.

Asia’s new darling
But instead of a thoughtful and inspiring speech, he delivered a graceless, blame-everyone, all-credit-to-me speech about an alleged Philippine turnaround under his watch.

In the course of the brief address, he touched upon his familiar rhetorical points:

1. He extolled his parents, and shared a family anecdote and a quote.

2. He extolled the miracle of EDSA which brought his mother to power.

3. He spoke of the decade preceding his presidency as a “lost decade.”

4. He then launched into a lengthy discussion of “the large-scale economic transformation” that has allegedly taken place under his watch. “You have seen the transformation of our country—from being known as the Sick Man of Asia to becoming Asia’s New Darling.”

5. He said he did not shy away from confronting the complex problem of our nation, corruption – how he has placed his predecessor under hospital arrest on charges of plunder; how the supreme court chief justice, at his accession, was impeached; and of how well-known senators have been arrested on charges of wrongdoing.

6. He discussed the creative budgeting that his government indulged in in order to generate resources for his ambitious program; but he stopped himself from talking about his creation of the disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

7. He cited the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program as the key strategy and program for lifting Filipinos out of poverty.

8. He related how he increased the infrastructure budget from1.83 percent of GDP in 2010, to 4.10 percent of GDP this year.

Aquino’s key rhetorical device throughout the address is to tell the CEOS “you have seen” all these reforms and this transformation taking place. He Assumes that the rest of Asia-Pacific knows the magnificent Philippine story.

Towards the end of his address, Aquino remembered that the theme of APEC this year is “Inclusivity.”

He raised the vision of a connected and synergized Asia-Pacific that would follow the example of the Philippines, “where no one is left behind.”

He did not pause to reflect that Asia’s economic miracle was precisely about lifting millions out of poverty. In China alone, 600 million have already been lifted out of the poverty hole.

He did not pause to think whether guests and the media would ask Filipinos whether Aquino’s claims are true.

Looking at the whole address, I think that no words could fail more completely to express the reality of the Philippine situation.

Blaming the courts
He did not stop there.

After his address, Aquino was interviewed by CNN. He spun a new line that Philippine courts are to blame for the slow progress of programs under his administration.

But a noted economist, former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno bluntly contradicted him, saying that it is not the judiciary but wrong priorities that have stalled efforts to reduce poverty under the Aquino administration.

Aquino told CNN anchor Andrew Stevens that the govern-ment’s anti-corruption efforts could have been more effective if the courts acted more expeditiously in sending wrongdoers to jail. This also impacts on government infrastructure projects, as some projects are being delayed by the rather slow court litigation process.

Diokno said Aquino’s claim of inclusive growth was “overrated”.

“Inclusive growth has been around for a while. It just assumed many names. I call it an old wine in a new bottle. Because in the ’60s, what you call balanced growth, that industry and agriculture should go hand-in-hand, that’s like inclusive growth. Then came growth with equity in the ’70s, now it’s inclusive growth. That’s the same thing,” Diokno said.

Diokno added that Aquino’s successor whoever it will be will do better in solving pressing economic issues. He or she will be free from all the humbug.

What President Aquino sees from his keyhole at the Palace is diff erent from how most Filipinos see and feel their lives, across the length and breadth of the archipelago.


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  1. I an glad that this is all over. This APEC becoming a forum for abnoys’s braggadocio was such a costly exercise. Sadly hosted by a brainless, nincompoop of a president, and tolerated by his cabinet- composed of court jesters and bootlickers, we.are once again the dirt bag and doormat of Asia. The international community and the rest of the world leaders are now aware that the President is a wacko, and the electorate is so gullible for having elected a president of no caliber. whatsoever. What is worse, Noynoy wa pathetic and detached from realities, bereft of humility. What a crying shame:in Malaysia he will be the butt of jokes as I foresee. When one does not realize that his audience views him as the laughing stock, it is damning. (Simply put, aren’t you: glad not to be a cabinet member or a Filipino in the company of deranged speaker?).

  2. Marciano Pulilan on

    Si Aquino ang punyetang presidente ng Pilipinas at para sa LP, lahat sila Punyeta. Sana naman matapos na ang kabobohan na ito sa May 2016. Parang awa na ninyo huwag na tayong bumoto ng Punyetang presidente, si MAR, Poe at Binay, punyeta lahat sila.

  3. Pnoy’s speech at this year’s APEC Meeting is a ” bare all ” about his thoughts, feelings and actions ~a man who fails to measure up to the requirements of his position as president of our republic. I think we have our majority of our countrymen to answer the question, ” what happened to critical thinking you have been taught in college? Where did you put it, in your pocket? ” Look what you have done to our country!

  4. leonardo quiocho on

    malacanang speechwriters??? do they have any contact with reality??? kaya pala scripted lahat ang sinasabi ni Yellowtard… speechwrite pa more!!! hehehe

  5. From the very beginning I already knew this bald headed fellow is full of braggadocio, show off, a congenital liar, pathetic, self-congratulatory sonafabitch that he is the best when he is not. He is the only guy could not do wrong, shouting to the world that the Aquino clan is the greatest. I say this proud man is the worst president we ever had, he is a failure a born loser, he claims the good works of others and putting down good men. I say never again of having a leader who is mentally ill. Yeah, he is an eloquent speaker, he has a good memory because he fluently give speeches without a single stammer down the line but without understanding. We made him president without even thinking and the outcome…confusion and chaos.

  6. Walang magawa si PNOY lagi nalang siraan ang kalaban niya sa politica dito man o sa international event puro self righteousness at hambog.

  7. The most “unpresidential” president ever. The way he talks, the way he walks, the way he shakes hands. What a nincompoop !!!

  8. Still the bottom line, We deserve him because we are the one who voted him to power.

    Not us. The PCOS machine

  9. These APEC leaders are not stupid .. As a courtesy they are diplomatic ,smile and applaud. .Obama needs the phil because of the South China Sea for US ships to pass .. Our bedazzled leader has stopped activities of the nations capital for his personal aggrandizement…. While Zamboanga And Yokanda victims continue to be neglected and 70% live in poverty ..he toots his horn claiming progress…. .and continues to blame others for his inadiquacies, indifference and incompetence .Obviously he feels we are so stupid that we can be manipulated by his yellow media..a fantasy leader living in a fantasy world .. The irony is you have the rich talking about policies for inclusive growt .. It was and is government policies favoring th that caused such a wide gap.. Continue to add salt to our wounds

  10. Sabi ni Abnoy sa kanyang sarili, after his shameless speech, ‘ANG DAMI KO NA NMN NALOKO NA MGA FOREIGN DELEGATES”..heehehe para sa aming mamayang Filipno IKAW PNOY ABNOY AND PINAKAHARI
    NG KASINUNGALINGAN AT KAYABANGAN.. Ang yabang mo, kasi Baliw ka…Ganyan ang Baliw na tao at hindi normal.. at ikaw iyon mr. abnoy…

  11. What President Aquino sees from his keyhole at the Palace is different from how most Filipinos see and feel their lives, across the length and breadth of the archipelago. – This is what I like the most..

    mga Noytards.. ipagtanggol nyo si PNOY!! hehehehe

  12. Pres. Aquino thinks all in the audience believed in his speech. As a courtesy, they listen
    idly waiting for the next speaker. MOst of them forget to applause and asked their seat mate, speech done? what he said? Then the reply, I was not listening too.

  13. Kung gaano katayug ang kanyang paglipad, ganuon din kalalim ang kayang pagbagsak.
    “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18 King James Version)

  14. I thought the same way.. I actually listen a bit of his speech but I have to stop it. I can’t bear any longer to hear his nonsense. the way it looks to me it is a long boring speech. took much of self credit, and blamed everyone else. The guests must have felt the same way.

  15. Does terrorism affect economies.? And no mention of this. I consider this the most important variable in what is affecting the world today.


    The Filipino electorate were dead wrong in putting this insane Aquino to office.
    You are right Mr. Makabenta, This guy is not only humbug. He is a damn liar,
    corrupt and vindictive. Sa ngayong panahon ng administration ni Aquino, nakakahiya
    na malaman na Filipino ka. From being the worst airport to dangerous airport and
    one of top worst armed forces. IT’S A SHAME AQUINO TO HAVE YOU AS A LEADER OF THE COUNTRY.

  17. Mr Makabenta: For me, when I heard that speech – the first word that came to my mind is HUBRIS (arrogance, conceit, haughtiness, hauter, pride, self importance, egotism, pomposity, superiority)

    • We have president who is so stupid who does not know what he is doing. Imagine telling family background in front of dignitaries, Shameful.

  18. Appropriately, today is the annual competition for “the world’s biggest liar” ( that is no lie! – google it)

    Pinoycchio aquino and his tall tales would win by a nose – and be more fitting than aquino’s fantasy of a Nobel prize, or an Oxford honorary degree – as if!

    When he became CEO of IBM, Lou Gerstner transformed the organisation, and saved IBM from bankruptcy – the story of which he wrote about in – ‘Who says Elephants can’t dance’

    Clearly pnoy aquino thinks he can get elephants to play chess whilst juggling balls at the same time, and then save the philippines in his lunch break.

    Aquino can fool himself all he wants, but he only makes a fool of himself when he tries to impress hardnosed CEO’s.

    ‘Having Pnoy Aquino talk about leadership is like having an ebola patient give you a massage, – it just doesn’t work!’

    Serial self-agrandissment invariably belies an inferiority complex, and a desperate need for approval and acceptance.

    ‘methinks the lady tries too hard’

  19. Do the runaway corruption and increasing crime rate in the country, signs of a great leadership? How about the water shortages, MRT/LRT mess, the Yolanda failed rehabilitation, the NAIA scams, to name a few. All these happening under his watch. Can he consider himself a strong CEO? I feel bad for the next guy who would inherit all these problems.


    Presidential humbug? That’s and exact, appropriate and honest to goodness
    adjective to describe this administration of abnoy. There is no more self that is
    exhibited by this insane president. Saan ka nakakita ng presidente na itinatago
    niya ang mga kababayan niyang pobre? Bakit ikinahihiya niayang makita ng
    mga ibang lider ang kalagayan ng kanyang mga kababayan? Kayong mga kapwa
    kong Filipino masaya ba kayo na ang inyong presidente ay ikinahihiya kayo.That’s
    big B.S.

  21. In his mind, Aquino lives in a different world. He is constantly victorious over his enemies in the computer games he likes to play. It’s a world where he is the good guy, and everyone else is the bad guy. It’s a world of video games where emotions do not exist and makes the man heartless, unfeeling, callous.