Reader’s note: ‘Aquino all branding and no substance’


Last Tuesday (13 April), The Times ran an editorial entitled, “Occupy Comelec,” which discussed the urgency of fixing the national election system and reorganizing the Commission on Elections in time for the all-important nationwide elections in May 2016. I will join this call in due time, but for today, I have a different occupation in mind.

One of the rewards of writing a column is conversing with readers about the subjects and issues I care about, and receiving on occasion letters that share insights, and point me toward new topics and issues for exploration.

Today, I will allow one such letter to occupy my slot in The Times, confident that it will enrich my long-running conversation with readers and colleagues in the media. The letter, whose author will be incognito for now, reads as follows.

* * *

The antithesis of a leader
A leopard doesn’t change its spots.

PNoy Aquino is fundamentally a weak character with little courage, capabilities, conviction, compassion, commitment, or charisma. The antithesis of a leader, but no doubt a useful mendicant for the oligarchs, whose profits have rocketed to obscene levels during his time, a valuable gofer for the US in pursuing their bases strategy and their Mindanao objectives, and a walkover for the politically savvy Malaysians.

An accidental leader is invariably also an accident waiting to happen. It has!

BBL has always been a Trojan horse. People are only now beginning to connect the dots, but better late than never. A strong peace is not achieved from a weak agreement — it would simply be the springboard to a raft of other problems.

You also cannot play international chess and negotiate successfully if you do not know how “the horsey thing” moves, and Aquino has always been a willing enabler for the dark lords, and an easy puppet for his US masters, and seemingly has no personal interest in social reform or deep-rooted respect for fellow Filipinos, but has always preferred a lazy quiet life with his few BFF’s, and shooting clique, away from the reality of normal life, and cocooned in privilege away from the common herd.

People are now seeing beyond the facade, and PNoy Aquino is no doubt feeling the pressure, and counting down the days until he can return to anonymity, and ribbon cutting for fast food chains.

A leader knows how to respond in times of grief, and that his first duty is to heal, not confuse, lie, or go AWOL. Leaders occupy the front line, not the back passage, and take the moral path, not the sewer pipe! They exhibit empathy not apathy. They have a track record of endeavor and causes, not Xbox and karaoke.

And real leaders do not betray their men, let them be butchered, crawl away to nurse a bruised ego, and concoct excuses, whilst others console and share in the heartbreak.

The self-proclaimed misnomer father of the nation, is nothing more than the spoiled brat of the nation, who has a yellow backbone to match the yellow ribbon he loves to wear as a sign of singular self-interest. Leaders unite and inspire people, not divide and demoralize.

Aquino has largely lived an indolent self-obsessed life in the shadows, devoid of passion, purpose, and performance, so people should hardly be surprised at the comedy of errors which has unfolded from the very outset of his Presidency, and which has been a recurring theme throughout, culminating in his latest debacle, which has been made far worse by the post massacre political disorder, and the very evident panic now emanating from Malacañang, and the shrinking number of hardcore yellowtards, who now act as a rearguard task force of social media “privates” firing blanks, while their Commander in Chief pretends that he is irresistible to 20-year-old beauty queens and working 18 hours a day! Typical of his infantile response to serious issues, and the cult mentality of his needy followers who lap up gossip and reflect the “bread and circuses” style of politics, or in Filipino parlance, “T- shirts and 200 pesos.” Delusional, deceitful, and desperate.

When not Noynoying, his biggest single management mistake was in his initial selection/poor choice of “bad” people as cabinet members, — “the best of the best” according to Aquino! — but that reflects his lack of experience as a leader, his love of micro mismanagement, and the patronage politics which permeates his values, the system itself, and which prevents any meaningful progress. The error in Aquino’s judgment has been exacerbated by continuing to have misplaced loyalty in his underperforming and/or corrupt friends — too many of whom are still making hay while the sun shines, and the full extent of their misdemeanors will only become apparent in due course. Mediocracy in place of meritocracy.

All mouth and no trousers
Ultimately it is results that count, and by which you are judged.

But there were only ever bad intentions with promises such as FOI (freedom of information act), bribery of senators, the corruption of DAP, all the contract backhanders enjoyed by his KKK, and no intention of promoting strategic change through initiatives such as anti-dynasty, 60/40 economic provisions, DICT, etc.

Instead, a money grab to fund the next power grab, and dictatorship to replace democracy (weak as it is)

All mouth and no trousers – all branding and no substance. The lights are on, but nobody is at home!

Everything PNoy Aquino touches turns to calamity — – the reverse of Midas touch.

Headline short-term economic paper gains, hot money, and financial manipulation masking unsustainable policies and no inroads towards inclusive growth. OFW remittances continue to prop up an economy devoid of an industrial base or home-grown innovation, and reduced to a low-cost labor pool and subjected to a myriad of restrictive practices.

Those who can, join the brain drain, which will have significant adverse long-term consequences for the country.

It is ironic that many Filipinos are able to strive and thrive abroad in more egalitarian and welcoming societies where business sectors do not operate as a closed shop, and where ability and effort count, but are consigned to the scrap heap in their own country.

It is even more damning that OFW’s will put up with abuse, or prefer to remain in war-torn countries than return home.

There is no excuse.

It’s social plunder, stupid.

And maybe the economics student should personally explain why high GDP growth is not translating into inclusive growth, or reductions in poverty levels, and why the Philippines will not achieve the Millennial Development Goals in 2015 which is a big deal — grants depend upon it — and a major embarrassment.

It’s economic pillaging, stupid.

* * *

THIS is blistering and intoxicating – the ideas come in a torrent. I will close this digression in my Saturday column, with a few more paragraphs from the letter, and a note on how readers respond to this diatribe.


Please follow our commenting guidelines.


  1. Spitzgeschoss on

    Oligarchs may have thrived in the Aquino administration but private enterprise, investor confidence and the overall business climate are way past the doldrums, but – to paraphrase Churchill – have sunk into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister and more protracted by Aquino’s dimwitted flip-flopping. He continually crows about more FDIs and improved credit standing, but appears to be the only one ignorant of our being the cellar-dweller in ASEAN FDIs with an economy fueled by hot money, and none of going to his ballyhooed ‘inclusive growth’.

  2. well sang nga tigilan na yang mga second hand clothing na yan na for sale na intended as relief goods, kaya naan nating bumble ng bago.

    Sana naman ay welga naman tayo kung sinasabing magtipid ng kuryente, ng tubig mula nuon hanggang ngayon ganun na lang pero sila na naka upo na tayo ang nag babayad pasasa sila. makikita mo mga kababayan mo sa mga balita naka pila sa pag aabang sa tubig, nag tititiis ng ilaw na lampara o ng kandila dahil sa kakulangan ng electrididad.

    Maganda daw ang ekonomiya pero nasaan nararamdaman ba ng mga naghihikahos o ng mga nasa middle class, pero ramdam ng mga milyonarong negosyante sa atin pero ang mga puhunan ay yung mga binabayaran nating tax na ipinapautang sa mga etong mayayamang negosyanteng eto.

    at kung may konting diperensya sa mga planta, sino ang nag babayad di ba tayung mga nag babayad ng mga tax.

    Hirap sa Tuwid na Daan.

  3. Edith Gerona on

    Eso present vice president Binay, who was not even charge with anything by this present government, only endless political harassment in aid of
    legislation courtesy of aquino ally and attack dog trillanes , you are resorting to ad hominem , attacking the person , not his idea.
    Prove Makabenta’s analysis wrong by using sound counter analysis.
    Your foul words only prove Makabenta right.

  4. My dear JVV 123: With due respect, I agree with you on leopards, etc. Spots can be made to disappear; genetic engineering has done wonders. But that will not work for abnoy. His illogic is built-in: not capable of reciprocating despite being loved ( that was before), unknowing of compassion and incapable of empathy, that is simply a case for psychologists, behavioral scientists and even Specialists in Psychiatry to look into and study further as a case. Given the thought that he claims ” No to corruption”, what do you think was the DAP & PDAF handed to Congressmen and Senators? Wasn’t that a picture perfect act of corruption by him to oust Chief Justice Corona? Please discern whether the acronym D.A.P. was disclosed or conveyed beforehand to the Legislators? It was thought of ” on a delayed basis” only when such payola became a hot issue.

  5. Aquino should read this piece and shrink in shame. Its him and all the fault his to a ‘T’.

  6. Whoever wrote you this letter should replace Saguisag as columnist!!! He or she makes a lot of sense!! Time for all with talents to come out and be united in exposing who or what Pnoy really is. Shame on this president who will go down in history as the most ruthless and stupid president we ever had.

  7. jesus nazario on

    HEADLINE (April 14, 2015): Aquino Sets Sights on Market Hitting 9,000-10,000 Within 2016 as PSEi Doubles Under His Term


    CONCLUSION: HE IS THE PHILIPPINES’ VERSION OF MR. BTFSPLK (pronounced by closing your lips, sticking your tongue out and blowing air), THE BAD LUCK BRINGER ANYWHERE HE GOES OR THE WORLD’S WORST JINX CARRIER ! Mr. BTFSPLK is shown in Al Capp’s 1950s Li’l Abner cartoon as a character who walks around with dark clouds and flashing lightning permanently hovering over his head and brings woe to anything and anybody he encounters with.

    Note: the claimed PSEi doubling was during the disastrous global economic crisis which coincided with the first 3 years (2010 to 2013) of his PCOS-created de facto term when international investments had nowhere to go but to countries like the Philippines which looked like safe temporary havens. In 2014 as soon as things improved in the global market, the PSEi annual growth dropped precipitously by 6.6 to 12 times the previous 3 years. Ergo, again the doubling was not because of AQUINO’s performance.

  8. It seems that there are some misplaced elements here barking with an opaque premise. In the first place, if I do not like what a person is talking about- I would rather not read it. Of course I will not give a comment on something I did not read.
    I’m one of the many readers of Messrs Yen, Tatad, Tiglao, Saludo, Jojo Robles et al because to me what they write about are the realities.
    The reader’s piece here was superbly written and concise as it can be. This certainly brings me back to memory lane reading the columns of Max Soliven, Teddy Benigno, Louie Beltran who all fearlessly bare the facts.
    In the Philippine politics and society at large, we cannot get rid of corruption instantly because it is very much embedded in the system. Hence, there’s no point in pitting who’s corrupt or not. You must be riding on the boat of Noynoy if this is your stand because it is part of its grand propaganda a.k.a. ‘pa-pogi’. Since Day 1, this administration has been running on PR or propaganda oil. (I wonder how much money has been spent by the palace occupant on PR today?! Hmmp, it might be running to millions of DOLLARS already)! Sad to say, it is all
    propaganda with nothing to communicate about but concocted, manipulated, some rosy figures being burst like popcorns, credit grabs and not to mention political vendetta. Fantastic!!
    So here’s the coin version I have now… The REALITY in the written columns by Yen Macabenta & co. or the other side that is PeNoy fantasies.
    Take your pick now!
    Take a bow Mr Yen… Thank you for your contribution to press freedom!

  9. Yen, if you are happy with the note on Pres. Aquino as all branding, no substance. My response to you is : all you have is negative criticism but nothing constructive which will benefit the country. People say it’s always easier to impute maliciously or to destroy but difficult to build or establish something good.

  10. Right on Target. I share with the thoughts, serious musings of this writer.
    To the Yellow Cult, just another day at the Office with their diluted agendas of rotten specifics designed for the mere status quo as to the state of the nation. And while they are at it, the nation lingers to a suffering…Time on target indeed – Sad and pathetic state of affairs – and there is no end in sight. And The Dark Clouds of the Binays looms large and menacing in the Horizon…and horrors of all horrors! Manny Pacquiao!!!!! Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!

  11. The piece above from an anonymous author magnanimously published by Yen Makabenta is truly true and well-described who and is the real persona and character of Pnoy! Pnoy is just an accidental President/leader whose only claim to fame and election to Presidency is not himself molded as a genuine person of leadership quality but as an unfortunate product of his parents popularity, not as heroes, but a stubborn politician with ambition to rule in his own socialistic ways and her devotion to her ambitious husband. Pnoy’s courageous manner revolves around his loyalty friends of mediocre caliber as himself but idolizes him as a devoted chum especially in times of crises of public recriminations for bad or corrupt behavior. Pnoy straight policy is only for his critics and opponents but path detours for his friends. The economic growth Pnoy seems to delight upon and makes it as an achievement only applies to the filthy rich oligarchs but do not filter down to be inclusive of the poor 25% of the population, living below the poverty line. The country is mired in increasing violent crimes, rising prices of energy, food and basic needs, homelessness and no sustainable economic base to provide decent employment that supports ” diaspora” of various professions for foreign pastures. Pnoy’s legacy to the country is “the man without intelligence and who thrives on lies to govern a country”.

  12. Democracy’s ugly face at its best. Who elected Noynoy? Unless elections has been setup, then the majority of Filipinos put him in office. The learning curve of the voting public remains flat after all these years. When will they ever learn.

    REPLY: Yes, sir. He was made our de factor president by the Comelec-purchased weapon for PNOPY et al. to use–the Smartmatic AES using PCOS machines.

  13. Hector David on

    It is sad that everything is going downhill except speeches and promises/slogans. Purchasing power is down due to inefficiencies in transport and high shipping costs.. Then you have the stupidity of traffic mismanagement that cuts productivity… High electricity and other utility costs…. Higher rentals gasioline other costs courtesy of the BIR that puts more money in politicians pockets for possible corruption and manipulation.inefficient and ‘Rip Van Winkle ‘ situations in the judiciary , not to mention buying of decisions in practically all government offices… Raids, investigations, probes, for extortion purposes….. A media that is corrupted and influenced and bought…. total disregard of alleviating poverty or helping those affected by environmental disasters ….. Basically all talk ..NO DO,,,,We are on a downhill course without brakes.. You will see desertions in the next 9 to 12 months . A sinking ship where the Captain proudly announces everything is fine and do not worry ,, we are on course and safe…… God bless our country and take special care of the underprivileged and neglected …no one seems to care in government

  14. Direct to the point!

    Nice article.

    The damage that Aquino has done to us are indeed so huge. If we will list all of his “sins”, it will take a very long time.

    And of course, another “C” that we can find in Aquino is “Corruption” to the highest degree.

  15. Start scrapping the ban for USED CLOTHING, USED CARS, and let the people enjoy their lives too!

  16. PNoy Aquino is fundamentally a weak character with little courage, capabilities, conviction, compassion, commitment, or charisma. The only “C” that can be found in PNoy is the Cojuangco attached to his name.

  17. What an insight! Sweet, terse and direct to the points; the sad realities about a leader who wants to placate the people by calling them “his bosses”. The precise words aptly describe B.S. Aquino as a leader. Right on, fellow reader. Congratulations!.

  18. Ang nakakatulad ni Aquino ay ang kontrabida sa Lord of the Rings! Mabuti kapag-naiipit!!

  19. Before going into the meat of Yen’s argument let me resolve his penchant for attributing trite adage as gospel truth. For his information scientists nowadays can manipulate the DNAs of animals (and plants) and make even those leopard spots disappear.Yen is fond of Pres. Aquino or perhaps fond is not the right word, but hates the president or his image immensely and his group including Tatad and a few others conspired to deflect and malign anything that this administration did or will do so that their self-interests will prevail. There are only two sides of the issue involving the future of the country- are you pro-corruption or anti-corruption? Anybody defending the Arroyos or Binays cause are no doubt against Pres. Aquino. Precisely, that’s where Yen and his group belong. They are either part of the solution or part of the problem. I’ll let the reader decide on that.

    • Selective anti-corruption
      Credit grabber, pag palpak sisi sa iba

      O kaya paki elaborate nga ano reforma na nagawa nya, o batas na naisulong nya para sa economy, o para sa anti corruption.

      Ang tingin ko ka si kay Pnoy parang si Marcos din na mahilig ibida ang sarili..

    • none so blind as those who refuse to see… they have altered the dna of the ostrich and his head is now buried even deeper!

    • jesus nazario on

      I am anti-corruption. I don’t defend FIRSTLY the sitting President,then Arroyo, Binay, Abad, the 19 Senators who convicted Corona, the countless Congressmen who railroaded Corona’s impeachment, the 3 Women of the Philippine Apocalypse in the Cabinet and the 4,000 or more (not just 40) other thieving politicians, the Oligarchs, and the like.

    • based on above comments, 6 out of 7. the readers decided. aquino is a useless president.

    • We are precisely anti-corruption. That is why we are anti-Aquino, too as Pnoy was the one who promoted corruption of the highest level with his bribery of congress using unconstitutional DAP money. His closeness to Napoles also speaks loud of his penchant for making friends with people of devious character.
      His administration did nothing right for the country. The economic growth that he brags about to be his doing, is on an automatic positive run because of the growing number of OFWs who leave the country for lack of jobs in their own country. A mediocre congressman and senator, Pnoy is much worse as president.

    • As a readers, you JVV123 are part of the problem, you belong to incompetent president the corruption king, who briBe the congress with DAP, all the contract backhanders enjoyed by his KKK, and no intention of promoting strategic change.

    • It is not about pro corruption or anti corruption. everyone is corrupt. Granted Pnoy is not corrupt and has never gained money from any government deals. BUT, has he stopped the corrupt men under his wing? No he has not, the loot will only be shared by his KKK. Hence, its the same banana. With regards to Binay, i know he is corrupt, but as the saying goes, it doesn’t matter what you know, its what you can prove. So, i would rather have a Binay for president, knowing he is corrupt, but with a HOPE that he will turn the Philippines like Makati. Other presidentiables are corrupt too, so choosing amongst the candidates, i would choose Binay. GMA was corrupt ( as what the yellow media portrays her to be ), but, she laid the groundwork for our economic prosperity and we citizens benefited from it ( low electricity rates/ low water rates, toll fees were low etc ) Aquino didn’t do anything for the Philippine economy, he inherited it from GMA. Now, the utility rates are UP and going up further, the oligarchs and the KKKs are raking it in.

    • I believe you are suggesting that PNoy is not corrupt. Well, he is the most corrupt President of the Republic and you refuse to recognize that as being a fact.