NETIZENS were not the only ones dismayed over President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s decision to attend a wedding party while Typhoon Seniang battered the Visayas and Mindanao.
Dante Jimenez, chairperson of Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), on Friday said Aquino’s showing up at the wedding of actors Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera on December 30 was further proof of the President’s insensitivity.
According to Jimenez, the President should be held liable for conduct unbecoming a public official after he chose to party with select people than attend to the needs of thousands of calamity victims.
“We have a very insensitive President who relies on the popularity of her actress-sister,” the VACC leader said, referring to Aquino’s sister Kris.
Political analyst Professor Roland Simbulan also expressed disappointment over the President’s actions.
Seniang left 54 people dead and 40 injured, based on the latest report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
At least half a million people from seven regions were affected by the storm that also left damage to agriculture estimated at P4.9 billion.
But another political analyst, Ramon Casiple, came to the President’s defense.
Aquino should not be faulted for attending the wedding at the height of the storm since he is not part of the first responders, which is the job of local government units (LGUs), Casiple said.
He added that the President might also be monitoring the situation in the affected areas while he was at the wedding.
But Jimenez insisted that while it is true that Aquino is not part of the first responders, he should be with, if not, in contact with the people in distress.
“To be publicly seen in an extravagant wedding of actors and watch movies of your nephew and sister are signs of hypocrisy and insensitiveness of a leader,” he said.
At the time the typhoon was battering the Visayas and Mindanao, the President went out to watch a movie with his nephews Joshua and Bimby, children of sister Kris, who had joined them.
In a text message to The Manila Times, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the accusations against the President were “illogical.”
Aquino’s top priority was the safety of affected residents in Western, Eastern and Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao and Eastern Luzon, Coloma said.
“There is no logic to the accusation,” he added.
The Manila Times reported also on Friday that netizens lambasted Aquino for partying with celebrities while Typhoon Seniang destroyed houses and leveled farms.
Memes of Aquino with newly-wed Dantes and Rivera and the people affected by the typhoon were circulated in the Internet, drawing negative comments from netizens.
“So it is more important for the President to attend the royal wedding [really now!]of Dingdong and Marian than attend to what was happening in the Visayas and Mindanao reeling from Seniang. That’s terrific leadership! That’s the President. Bravo!” said a netizen in his Facebook account.
Another said: “I hope that the President filled himself up at the royal-wedding reception even as people affected by Seniang went hungry.”
In his twitter account, Tonyo Cruz said: “Visited a gun store, a house in Boston, Jollibee Singapore, GGV, a ‘royal wedding’ but did not visit Tacloban.”
Militant youth group Anakbayan also posted memes of Aquino in “happy moments” with the celebrity couple and the typhoon victims.
Anakbayan national chairman Vencer Crisostomo lambasted the President for being insensitive for partying while some provinces are being pummeled by Seniang.
He said Aquino, being the head of state, should have given priority to monitoring and directing disaster-mitigating efforts instead of merrymaking.