• The real score of Benigno Aquino’s presidency

    18

    First of three parts

    Yes. I admit I voted for Aquino and now I admit it was a big mistake. I thought he was honest and he was experienced. But it did bother me that he never had any organization management experience. I did buy into the straight path line and thought he could help get rid of the corruption.

    Slowly at first I began to see the incompetence but I always balanced this with his honesty and his reliance on his help. But the half-truths and lies came more and more. Excuses for bending and breaking the systems and the laws were explained as necessary because it was good for Filpinos. I now realize that his only management skill is that of bribing to get his way.

    It also dawned on me that his promise of FOI, is meant as not FOI for him, but passed so that the next President will have to open up to the public. He cannot stand FOI for him because he would have to tell the truth and explain things honestly.

    So yes my assessment of him has changed. He is honest in not stealing money from government for himself. But he is dishonest in enabling others to feast upon the people’s money. He has tried to make stealing money legal. There is no plan to make the Philippines a better place. I cannot wait to get to 2016 and see him leave.
    — Online comment from ‘vg’ to my August 13 column

    It took four years, three unconstitutional rulings (against RH, PDAF and DAP), two unprecedented anomalies of P200 billion each (the last two acronyms), and a single presidential term which now supposedly isn’t enough. But gradually, erstwhile supporters of President Benigno Aquino 3rd like “vg” are beginning to see him as he really is.

    Those belatedly losing their yellow streaks need not feel ashamed. It was understandable for Filipinos weary of corruption scandals in the past decade to desperately seek a savior and wishfully think that they had found him.

    Moreover, leading public figures and media extolled Aquino’s clean if unremarkable reputation during the 2010 election campaign and in his years as president. If these seasoned observers of national affairs could get things wrong, so much more would ordinary Filipinos, especially those relying on the largely pro-Aquino mainstream media.

    In major newpapers and broadcast networks, his purported achievements get headline billing. Aquino was praised for the economy’s rebound, although it was already a regional growth leader since 2007, even managing to grow in 2009 while most countries sank in recession. Arroyo-era fiscal reforms heralded the Philippines’ current surge and set the stage for credit rating upgrades. Meanwhile, Aquino’s claims of near self-sufficiency in rice and declining crime would later prove illusory, if not distorted.

    Presidential foibles and failings, on the other hand, while still reported, were quickly forgotten. When Aquino stopped talking up the disappointing public-private partnership program, so did media. It deplored his repeated defense of close associates caught up in anomalies, then quickly forgot them.

    Mainstream media’s fawning praise of the Aquino regime and downplaying of its flaws, would seem disturbingly familiar to those who recall the Marcos dictatorship. But even in the time of Macoy, as the strongman was nicknamed, independent media managed to expose the truth. So have they in this time of PNoy. Here’s a slice of that largely hidden story, which hopefully will be shared with more Filipinos.

    The jueteng scourge
    Based on his winning campaign slogan, “If No One Is Corrupt, No One Would Be Poor,” Aquino’s paramount strategy is to reduce poverty by eradicating corruption. He has done neither, as the undeniable facts in this article show.

    Among the biggest sources of sleaze in the country are jueteng, smuggling, and kickbacks. In Aquino’s first month in office, anti-jueteng crusader Pangasinan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz named then-Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno, the President’s shooting buddy, as “ultimate recipient” of bribes from operators of the illegal numbers game, along with then-Philippine National Police Chief Jesus Versoza.

    Without investigation Aquino dismissed the accusation — the first time Cruz publicly named top officials allegedly on the jueteng take. The President did order then-Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, who wiped out jueteng in Naga as mayor, to crack down on the vice. But Aquino kept the PNP — the main weapon against jueteng — under his control through Puno, not Robredo. Evidently, the President never really wanted to shut down one of the biggest sources of political funds.

    The contraband flood
    Two other staples of political war chests are smuggling and kickbacks, including pork barrel. It’s an age-old practice that ruling elites get their people appointed to revenue agencies, generating hefty amounts every day. And under Aquino, the lucrative smuggling trade surged to unprecedented levels.

    Contraband is estimated by comparing exports to the Philippines as reported by its trading partners, with the total imports tabulated by the Bureau of Customs (BoC). The difference between the two figures is deemed to be the value of shipments not recorded or properly assessed to evade taxes and duties. In a word, smuggled.

    For 2011 and 2012, based on data tabulated annually by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the discrepancy between exports to the Philippines reported by other countries, and total shipments tallied by BoC averaged $19 billion a year — more than six times the $3 billion annual figure in the Estrada and Arroyo governments.

    If the uncollected levies were just the 12 percent value added tax and did not include hefty luxury duties, $19 billion in smuggling deprived state coffers of $2.28 billion or about P100 billion a year under Aquino. No wonder his 2013 State of the Nation Address (SONA), reporting on his first couple of years in office, blamed BoC for losing P200 billion in revenues. The SONA also lamented the inflow of guns and narcotics.

    Those losses would have been much reduced if Aquino had named as BoC head the respected former customs and internal revenue commissioner Guillermo Parayno, one of the two men the President interviewed for the Customs post. Parayno’s leadership and computerization reforms made BoC one of the least corrupt agencies in the 1990s, and no less than the IMF hired him as consultant on customs reform.

    But like Robredo, Parayno was denied the job of stamping out another big source of political largesse. And just as smuggling trebled under Aquino, so did pork barrel, our topic for Wednesday.

    (The next part on Wednesday will discuss pork barrel and DAP.)

    Share.
    loading...
    Loading...

    Please follow our commenting guidelines.

    18 Comments

    1. westphilippines on

      I did not vote for PeNoy in 2010. I believe he has good intentions and he does things in good faith for he depends a lot of his decisions from his appointees. He has appointed a lot of intelligent people but mostly lacks the necessary competence. And with an inexperienced person at the helm of our government, what do we expect? A miracle! Miracle doesn’t just happen, it happens for a purpose! PeNoy is a changed man already: His 4 years in office made him believe that he is doing great, an illusion that he can not distinguish between reality! All negatives is treated as a complaint from those affected by his actions believing he is doing right. Maybe, in most instances, his actions are almost right, not wrong, but they are not right either. He can not reconcile his “good intentions and actions in good faith” to be “unconstitutional”. He has a problem of definition!

    2. With Abnoy surrounded with overweight SWINES – Drilon Belmonte, Abad, and other corrupt honchos in his administration, I feel there is no way this country will ever be great again (?). This country had never been great before. Palubog na palubog na tayo. Some said Abnoy is honest – that is an illusion.

    3. the worse this administration gets the better is is for the electorate.

      sure a lot will go hungry, die or otherwise suffer but it will serve as a excellent object lesson for the ignorant electorate that mindlessly fell for the propaganda spewed out by the Inquirer and ABS CBN (among others).

      like children given a complicated but dangerous toy, they promptly misused their right to suffrage to shoot themselves in the head. maybe now the distress that they feel will actually make them start making and intelligent vote.

      but whom am I kidding, this is the Philippines right, where spin counts more than substance, where information fed by TV is swallowed hook, line and sinker and where critical thinking is as rare as an honest politician.

    4. Jueteng still exist and not a single day in the incumbency of PeNoy Aquino’s administration did it stop. In Pampanga where the Governor is the wife, and the son is the vice governor of the Jueteng King.And all the local officials down to the barangay level has a take. The military and the media obviously are getting some payola too. Lantaran ang jueteng sa pampanga. Pati si Bishop Oscar napatigil nila. Do you think PeNoy dont know these and is not getting some payoya too from jueteng?

    5. So most people thought pnoy was the wrong man for the job. Who do they think was the right man for the job. You see thats the big problem in this country. How do you know who is honest & who is dishonest. I remember what one person said on here that when politicians tell us things it should always be done under oath then if they are lying it can be held against them.
      So we have an election coming up in 2016, who is best to be president of this country & why. Im a foreigner living here & i want whats best for the country.

      • Aquino did not win the presidency. He was installed by the CIA using the PCOS machine.

        ERAP won the presidency. It is just common sense. 90% of the Filipinos are poor. The poor are die-hard Erap fans. 9 out of ten voted for him. Just ask your maid, driver, police, soldier, tindera, fisherman, slum dweller, office worker ..etc. Majority voted for erap.

        But still we should have voted for GIBO. He has the track record of excellence. He is the right Conjuangco. Not the lazy and dimwitted BSA.

    6. I never voted for Abnoy because I knew he is not qualified to run the country like her late mother. I want to call all emotional voters who voted for Abnoy to wake up and see what great mistake you have made and see what really his true color is. I would assume that you like him beause you like Kris, and all of you are Kris’s fans. Come on, Aminin. Kawawang Pinas talaga.

    7. Maaring hindi naging masama si noynoy,kung hindi siya napasama sa mga tulisan,katulad nina abad,drilon,roxas at mga demonyitang mga ambisyosang sina delima,morales at coa-tan! Ang sakit na autism,ang alam niya kapagbinobola siya ng inaakala niya mga kaibigan, totoong may nagmamahal sa kanya, kaya ang mga tulisan ay kayang kaya siyang paikutin!!nakakita siya ng mga kaibigan naghulog sa kanya sa kumunoy habang gumagalaw at sumusunod siya sa mga ito,lalo lamang siya nababaon .isa lamang ang sulution sa nangyayari sa kaya,tanggalin niyang lahat ang mga linta,yamang wala namang mabuti nagawa ang mga ito,100%kung hindi man magiging payapa ang magiging pagtanggap ng tao sa kanya at hayaan niyang ang lahat maging ang kaalyado niya ay maimbestigahahan,baka dumating ang panahon magingmabuti ang mga taong naapi niya at mapatawad siya sa kasalanang hindi siya ang nagplano!!

    8. PRESIDENT AQUINO IS NOT ONLY INCOMPETENT. (LOOK AT HOW HE MANAGED THE LUNETA HOSTAGE SITUATION WHEN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SITUATION HE WENT TO THE LOCATION OF THE BUS CARRYING THE HOSTAGES ALL SMILES?) HE IS ALSO STUPID AND ARROGANT BY WANTING TO HAVE THE SUPREME COURT UNDER HIS OFFICE CONTROL. WHILE THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES LOVE THE AQUINOS FOR THEIR DEMOCRATIC IDEALS. HE DOES NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT UNSCONSTITUTIONAL ACTUALLY MEANS. HE WANTS SOMEONE TO REFEREE HIS DISPUTE WITH THE SUPREME COURT SO THAT HE COULD CONTINUE WHATEVER HE IS DOING WITH THE P150 BILLION DAP FUNDS THAT WERE DECLARED ILLEGAL BY THE SUPREME COURT. NOW HE WANTS THE CONSTITUTION TO BE CHANGE TO ALLOW HIM TO RUN FOR ANOTHER TERM. SO HE WANTS TO CHANGE THE CONSTITUTION CHANGED TO BE ALLOWED TO DO WHATEVER HE PLEASES.

      • From the Online Editor — Mr. Joseph Padre, please follow the rule that comments in ALL CAPS will not be published.
        Thank you, Sir.

    9. Thanks much for such a fundamental assessment of Aquino’s dictatorial regime. He proved to be unreliable, vindictive, stubborn, cannot take criticisms, juvenile, inexperience leader, double faced (not standard, since he does nit one), changeable mind, untrustworthy, etc. Yes, I used to support him. But when he showed some kind of autistic behaviors, I lost my confidence in him.

      Thanks again,

    10. Naku sa interview kay Dean Mel Sta Maria ni Pnot, compare na naman sa former admin. So insecured president, for 4 years hanggang ngayon konting ulan baha, mas dumami ang mahirap ay mas maraming corrupt sa mga allies niya.

    11. wag na tayong magtaka like his mother . tita cory anu ba ginawa nya, im a die hard cory kya nga original member ako ng NAMFREL volunteer nung 1986 precy election,but after that ano ginawa puro paninisi sa mga x precy,kya natapos ang term nya,walang nagawa .sayang ang diwa ng edsa

      • EDSA was just a typical ningas cogon reaction by Pinoys. It was never meant to be. Behind the scenes where the CIA which at that time was protecting Marcos using the US Navy Seals. On the other side Cory was being protectd by another group of US Delta Force sent by US State Dept.

        As you can see, the people of the Phiippines really did not have any choice. Everyone was an Elite in cahoots with the Americans.

        What Uncle Sam wants, Uncle Sam gets.

        BS Aquino was installed using the PCOS machine until now the Comelec has not released the “Souce Code” which is mandated by law. So until now we can not check independently who really won in 2010 !

      • Celestina Ovejera on

        Tama, wala naman talaga nagawa si Cory Aquino. Halos lahat ng mga projects ng former administration gustong itigil kahit napakinabangan. Vindictive talaga tulad rin ng anak nya.

    12. “— Online comment from ‘vg’ to my August 13 column”

      Poor vg. You got duped, taken for a ride. And as he took you on that momentary fleeting ferris wheel ride back in 2010, he lulled you with his “kung walang korap, walang mahirap” mantra pa-effect – only to realized later on – to your horror – his true colors. In truth, your vote was sodomized – by none other than a mere speech prop and presidency doctrine of Pa Tuwad na Daan. Your vote went for naught. And now he’s asking for your hand – for a last dance of Cha-Cha. I am very PROUD to say to
      to high heavens I NEVER voted for this dude, NEVER, EVER Voted for him as a Congressman representative of Tarlac, let alone a Senator, or a National Leader. I don’t cast my vote for mere Incompetency .

    13. Enough of this honest cuteness of pnoy bcoz he is not. He is a liar in the eyes of the people, coloma even admitted that you dont take everything he says seriously. Abad and pnoy actions became one-if someone will recognize the word common sense and liability.