Senator Poe will hit the Aquino administration and slam it hard


Senator Poe has spoken to demolish Mr. Aquino’s mantra of inclusive growth, though not in a brutal takedown. Because it was about policy, not a catfight, media failed to notice. The gains from 6.2 percent growth rate, she said in a speech before she made her presidential declaration, have not trickled-down below and poverty remains massive. She did not actually say this but it was implied. The brutish, nasty and short lives of the underclass have remained brutish, nasty and short under Mr. Aquino’s presidency.

The solid proof that she is not a cheerleader of Aquino’s growth figures? She said that the Philippines has the worst Gini coefficient in the Asean Region and that more than one out of every four Filipinos live below the poverty line. Ms. Poe used the DBP Good Governance Forum to demolish the Aquino government’s spin of growth gains trickling down to the bottom. She said a society of great inequality is “simply unacceptable.” That line was clearly borrowed by her speechwriter from the lines of another woman seeking the presidency – Hillary Clinton.

Ms. Poe has yet to say that Mr. Aquino’s government is “ by the 1 percent, for the 1 percent and of the 1 percent.” But many think, she will be coming to that very soon. She may tame the language, but she will deliver the same message.

Why will she do a realistic, candid assessment on who benefited from the economic growth under the Aquino administration? Other than it is true, many reasons for that stepped-up rhetoric, mostly the need to win in the battle over governing ideas.

First, it is right on the mark and that message will find resonance and traction. No one is diminished by telling the unvarnished truth. Aquino’s government has primarily benefited the 1 percent. The Aquino government has been responsible for the emergence of dollar billionaires, no thanks to the upward trajectory of his redistribution policies. It is only now that I fully get the rationale. The Aquino administration decided early on to prop up society’s winners because it was the lazy, uninspired way to generate growth. A growth strategy that promotes the middle and the lower classes is something beyond the intellectual reach of the Aquino administration, and is challenging work to say the least. The Aquino people do not have enough brains for that challenge.

Whereas, promoting the interest of the 1 percent to ensure sustained growth levels, regardless of whether the beneficiaries are plain rentiers that do not really move the economy and create real jobs, can be done without much policy creativity. Just give three things: government contracts, government incentives and the lax regulatory environment required for their operations to flourish.

One more huge concession: just give them prime government lands – via sale or lease – at bargain basement prices. We have to have a study on this: the volume of state-owned land handed over by government to the property and mall giants at fire-sale rates.

The fact that Mr. Aquino’s key economic people were former employees of the favored firms just sweetened the pie, rather the sweetheart deals with the favored oligarchs.

Second, critiquing the failed economic policies of the Aquino administration will separate her from Mr. Roxas, the Aquino-anointed. The truth is Ms. Poe has yet to fully untangle herself from her identification with the Aquino administration. She ran as a guest senatorial candidate of Mr. Aquino’s coalition. She used to be invited to major LP events. For all intents and purposes, her political alliances, throughout her brief life in the Senate, were with the Aquino coalition. The fact that she sounds as stern as Mr. Aquino props up the Aquino connection.

Slamming Mr. Aquino, obliquely or bluntly, will convey the message that she is her own woman.

Owning a space in the inequality debate, and pointing out to Mr. Aquino’s utter neglect of vulnerable lives, will be an imperative for Candidate Poe as Mr. Binay will make this the centerpiece of his economic agenda. Mr. Binay is down but not out and his resiliency has been manifested in the polling numbers. A lesser candidate would have been blown out of the race with less than half of the negative publicity and pundit scorn that Mr. Binay has received. According to the polls, he is in statistical tie for the second place, still standing and competitive. That his numbers did not sink into the path of political oblivion indicate that the lumpen proletariat are more forgiving, and probably supportive of Mr. Binay.

With his back against the wall, Mr. Binay can go all-out in painting Mr. Aquino and Mr. Roxas as heartless technocrats that are, for and by the 1 percent. Which is entirely accurate, given the duo’s loathing of a simple tax break for ordinary workers. A play on economic populism, given his magkakaning-baboy background, is entirely credible for Mr. Binay.

So Ms. Poe cannot let Mr. Binay own this political space. She has to hit the Aquino administration and hit it hard on the upward redistribution, the brutal Social Darwinism that has been the hallmarks of the administration.

What about the supposed commitment of Ms. Poe not to hit the president? Take it as one of those meaningless parcels of he said-she said journalism. Once you give context and perspective to that story, you will know that she did that already, although in non-brutal rhetoric.

The whole truth is that her speech at the DBP Good Governance Forum was an indictment of the growth-at-all-cost policy of the Aquino administration. If that were not a harsh critique of Mr. Aquino, I don’t know what it was.


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  1. Whatever comes out of Poe’s mouth is irrelevant. She will be the political dummy of Escudero and the economic puppet of Ramon Ang and his co-conspirators who are moving heaven and earth to foist Grace Poe on this pitiful country.

  2. apolonio reyes on

    Even at the start, the POE’s were never a Yellow Army but a Red Blooded Marcos Loyalist like ERAP and family. So it is not surprising, Mr. Ronquillo, that Sen. Poe Llamanzares will hit the Pnoy Administration and slam it hard. But the Big Question is will Pnoy ALLOW HER, WHO WAS ONCE A TRAITOR TO OUR COUNTRY BY RENOUNCING HER PILIPINO CITIZENSHIP FOR CONVENIENTS AND WITH A US FAMILY, TO RUN THIS COMING 2016 ELECTION ?

  3. Sincerity requires proof, according to John F. Kennedy. Well, so does claims of integrity, capability and also intent. As far as integrity is concerned, Grace’s submissions to the SET are enough to tell you what a poseur this woman is. As for capability and intent, what proof do you see and will you please share these with us? Im sure you will agree by now after seeing Cory and her son in power, that the ability to read a ghost-written speech is not proof.

  4. If we simplify the “president to be” question in this election, each should be their own person and not as an extension of a previous administrations success and failure. They only need to have “clean hands” in handling the country’s finances because the plans are already there and the implementation can be methodical and simplified. The history of our country is being written by the actions of the current and future president and it is their name that will remain there and not by their cabinet members.

  5. Jose A. Oliveros on

    But Grace Poe-Llamanzares had announced before when she was being “courted”by PeNoy and Mar Roxas to be the latter’s vice presidential candidate, that she would continue PeNoy’s “Daang Matuwid.” Now she is singing a different tune. Indeed, it is a lady’s privilege to change her mind.

  6. Doesn’t experience in our government translate to being corrupt? Since they have been in the system longer, they know all the inner workings and where to get money. And that’s why they’re trying to put Grace down, they know she will bring true changes to the government and country! She’s untainted with corruption and has ideal plans for the country. Grace is sincere and genuine unlike our other politicians! The people can see this that’s why she’s leading in surveys!

  7. The country seems to be so desperate enough for seasoned and qualified leaders that it is willing to settle with a clean (no record; she was not a Filipino citizen and been out of the country) self-declared honest, but “unqualified” candidate for president. Beyond her natural-born problem, what has Mrs. Llamanzares to offer as head of more than 100 million or so, Filipinos amidst the international, socio-economic, crime, drug and other problems of the country?

    I hope the voters won’t be fooled by her ‘pledge’ to continue what her adoptive father alleged to have started (?). He started “nothing” in the first place, unless one has to consider the heroic deeds — in the world of make-believe or fanatasy. .

    • Agree. She is being used by many people around her. I have not seen her personal vision and advocacy but dictated by her close associate.
      I believe that she will be defeated like her father. In hindsight, she should have listen to Sheryl Cruz her half cousin who seems to be more knowledgeable on politics.

    • Nicely put. Whatever delusions this Llamanzares-Poe about being the chosen one. Popularity is not the only element that makes a good president. Popularity led to the election of Jinggoy, Revilla, Tito Sotto, etc. who we all know did nothing, are worth nothing, and will add nothing to our over politicized government. Please lang, tell this woman to be honest with herself and wake up from this dream.

  8. Rodan Guerrero on

    Whoever will win in the two opposition candidtes will make it better as long as Korina Sanchez will not become First Lady of this Republic!

    • Korina and Elenita…let these names be banned in the august halls of the palace. The former is a two timer and the latter is corrupt. We need a saintly FL not a re-invented to be sanitized one. It smells sewer even when FL is sanitized. Remember Imelda..