The petty President


It is unclear now which gave portents of things to come: the President’s speech challenging the Supreme Court’s decision on the (un)constitutionality of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) or news of Typhoon Rammasun making landfall in the Bicol Region and the Visayas.

It is telling of course that this same President thought it wise to go on nationwide television to address the nation and defend his administration’s system of allocating public funds for various projects, a day before a typhoon was to make itself felt.

This is the same President whose administration went on system failure the moment Typhoon Haiyan hit, not so much because it was unprepared for a storm of that magnitude, but because it decided that the wisest way to deal with the hungry and thirsty, the traumatized survivors, was to refuse to give them relief goods right away, because that would mean not following the system government thought ideal.

Never mind that people were in urgent need of food and water, and were closest to the national government’s headquarters in Tacloban; they had to go back to their barangays and towns, and wait for relief goods to be delivered there. Never mind that people were aimlessly walking and in shock—as one would expect of survivors of the strongest storm to ever make landfall in the world.

And lest we forget, this is the same President who was faced with traumatized Tacloban businessmen who implored him to do something about the peace and order in the city a couple of days after Typhoon Haiyan hit. And this President, instead of listening to the tired and pleading voices of these victims, seemed to take offense, delivering a retort that is difficult to forget:

“But you did not die, right?”

Now that would seem to be portents of things to come really, for this President and his administration.

Priorities, priorities!
This President and his administration read Typhoon Haiyan wrong. And anyone who has visited Leyte and Samar since would know that none of the grand promises of permanent housing and building better are actually being fulfilled. What is in the post-Haiyan context is a sinking feeling that the impoverished who survived the storm, are now suffering government neglect, depending more on international humanitarian organizations and local private sector initiatives so that they might live better.

We all know how those bunkhouses look, yes? That is telling of how Haiyan survivors are being treated with regards their other basic needs and rights: food, clothing, health and hygiene, employment.

Now, as rains from Typhoon Rammasun fall, it doesn’t speak well of this government that what we know concerned the President a day before it was to make landfall, was his own administration’s survival given the SC decision on the DAP. And as if to add insult to injury, this morning, the President had the temerity to ask the people to wear a yellow ribbon to show their support for him.

This is what concerns him on the morning Typhoon Rammasun was expected to make landfall: the people’s support for him.

Imagine that.

Pettiness! Pettiness!
It is unthinking and insensitive. It is also exactly the kind of pettiness that we’ve come to expect from this President, putting this yellow ribbon campaign on the same level as a storm that is to displace thousands of Filipinos.

It is also proof of this President’s inability to let things slide, let his insecurities go, especially since the nation faces something far larger, far more important, and infinitely more urgent. That early Tuesday what was on his mind, enough to articulate it to the media, was the need to prove he had the people’s support is utterly offensive.

It is also like watching a Class President demanding a show of hands from his Student Council because he needs to know who’s on his side.

It is simplistic for sure, but that is also how this President and his government seem to have started to view this crisis we are in. Where the DAP has been declared unconstitutional, and this President and his advisers have decided to put the SC into question by insisting that the DAP was okay, that the President and his men had used the DAP system within the confines of the law, not necessarily the Constitution but an Administrative Code they now invoke.

Now this is not about the SC infallibility as far as I’m concerned, as it is about this President’s. The latter is saying that the SC is wrong on the DAP, because look at all the projects it has funded! Look at the good it has done!

And no, this is not just about the horrible false analogy about him parking in a no-parking-zone to save the life of someone in an emergency. It is about the fact that all this talk about the good DAP has done, the projects that it has funded, only remind us what is fundamentally wrong with this government’s DAP.

Two words: no accountability.

The death of the yellow ribbon
If there is anything we’ve learned studying documents and understanding this government’s disbursements of public funds, it’s that it happens in huge lump sums. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) takes pride in its releasing these PDAF – and now DAP – allocations, but these are nothing but huge amounts that do not tell us exactly where the money went.

Giving us a list of projects and telling us that it is now the responsibility of that department or that public official to provide the people with a proper accounting of those funds, is to forget that it is the responsibility as well of the Executive to make sure that this money goes where it should, that it fulfills the project it promises. Without proof of where these lump sum disbursements actually went—to the last thousand at the very least—how can this President even invoke “all the good the DAP has done”?

With no proof that every thousand of these DAP billions actually went to that river rehabilitation, that informal settler relocation, that school building, that batch of scholars, how can this government even prove that the DAP has done the good they say it has?

What this President is asking us to do is to believe that these funds went where they should, and that it was felt by the people it was supposed to affect. Never mind that there is no proper accounting of these funds, no documents that prove these projects even exist.

Meanwhile it takes so little for this President to build his self-confidence and believe that he has the people’s support: wear a yellow ribbon. Where that ribbon used to mean support for a national hero who defiantly went back home knowing full well he might be killed; where that used to mean some love and respect for the widow who dared face the dictator.

Now that just means support for a President who, facing a Supreme Court that has declared his system of disbursing funds unconstitutional, is in dire need of nothing but an ego boost.

That’s not just petty. It’s also pathetic.


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    I believe you got it all right! Thanks.
    i just hope our next president will be not be
    someone like this again. When will the
    Philippines be blessed with a leader like
    Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore and Mahathir Mohamad
    of Malaysia?

  2. DAP! dap dap dap dap… parang batang tinanggalan ng allowance. sisisihin si ate o kuya sasabayan ng maraming project sa school. pero sa totoo lng panglakwatsa lng pla at barkada. kung allowance lng ang habol m kaya k pumapasok edi wag kna lng pumasok, kung ang hangarin rin ay pera at di serbisyo sa bansa, ay umalis at gayahin ang angkan m n mga negosyante at meron ring artista. sure akong pwed kang pang action kasi magaling k gumamit ng baril.
    ayan tagalog n kasi lahat ng speech m ay tagalog. pero di ibig sabihin makabayan k. ibig sabihin lng nung ay malnaw mata mo at mabilis m nababasa ang teleprompter hihihi peace !!! este kapayapaan!!! hihihi

  3. Kayong mga bumabatikos kay PNoy ay pawang mga nakinabang o mga kamag-anak ng mga corrupt na opisyales ng nakaraang 3 corrupt na administrasyon umpisahan mo kay Makoy. Sa aking pananaw ay si Pnoy at ang kanyang ina lamang ang tunay na presidenteng nagmalasakit sa Pinas. I support Pnoy 101%. I would prefer that he held the purse and disburse all the funds as he deems fit rather than course it through congress…which, by the way, many of its members are corrupt. Mabuhay ka Pangulong Noynoy Aquino.


    Now Coloma is saying that Malacanang will bow to the Supreme Court and this
    president’s call to his supporters to wear the yellow ribbon was a joke. What?
    Speaking in major television is a joke. What an incompetent and ignorant president.
    That means to say that in this country running the country is like a pingpong that
    if you are severely criticize you can just withdraw what you already said and say it’s
    only a joke.No wonder this president is not all honest and reliable. He is likened to
    one who shoot first and later on say sorry. Lambasting the Supreme Court head on
    in television demonstrate his gangster attitude. Parang batang kapag inagawan mo
    ng candy ay maglulupasay.

  5. i cannot wait for this president’s term to come to an end. and i hope that the next president will have the balls to prosecute all those that profited from the biggest robbery this nation had ever had.

  6. I thought PNoy simply stated the historical and contextual facts  which eventually formed the basis for DAP. The results of the DAP spending is largely incontestable. Our economy has grown not only as attested to by our local officials but by international bodies. It has not grown to a degree perhaps where many more lower income Filipinos have benefitted from it, but that is because more structural changes need to be put in place and more time is essential;  just the same because of DAP, the economy has now been turned to the right direction.  
    The legal basis for DAP has also been covered by PNoy. It stands to reason that the least the Supreme Court justices should have done is checked on, commented on, and/or took into consideration this law.  But they did not.  So, what gives? Where they fearful of the seemingly ‘large’ backlash they will get from the boisterous noisemakers on the matter?
    Bottomline, PNoy got into the scene when so much corruption and structural problems paralyzed the political machinery of the nation.  Bottomline.  Pnoy did what he could to utilize available finance to get the machinery going towards the right direction. Should it not be the case that where there exists exceptionally troublesome circumstances that exceptionally creative, bright and within the legal limits solutions are crafted?  
    Our past experience of national leaders has been so bad and so sad  that to many it is almost inconceivable that a truly patriotic and selfless  national leader can ever come to the scene. This attitude of blatant hopelessness and incorrigible skepticism when it comes to leaders is perhaps the sorrier and worse reality among realities a lot of us need sorting out today. 

  7. wow!! bravo! I like u r point a lot! thanks for voicing out! down to the yellow cult!!!

  8. A wrong doing cannot be corrected by another wrong doing. Let this gargantuan anomaly takes it due course and prosecute the guilty ones regardless of political party affiliations.

  9. Hindi lang sira ang ulo nitong si noynoy,nababaliw na sa taas ng lagnat,kahit siguro ka kkk nito ay hindi na masisikmura ang pinaggagawa nito,mayroon pa rin naniniwala sa kanya iyong mga utak linta na katulad ni tupas tupak at iyong handang masira ang pangalan dahil sa kasakiman sa kapangyarihan at ganid sa pera,sana lahat ng mga pangalan ng mga ito ay pqgbayarin sila sa darating na 2016!!

    • Lolita marquez on

      Kaya nga iginawa siya ng talumpating lalong nagdiin sa kanya. Sawa na rin siguro mga kasama niya. Iyon ang pinakamasaklap. Traydurin siya pero di bale…. sa ikabubuti naman ng mamamayan.

  10. Your country deserves better than a weak, president and totally corrupt government that is above the law. Lets see how the President acts while his capital city is hit by a Typhoon. My guess, more photo ops, blaming others for incompetence and empty promises.

  11. Rogelio C. Lim on

    Nakita na natin ang resulta ng naglalagay ng yellow ribbon o nagsusuot ng damit na dilaw na mga KKKK niya. Silang lahat ay protektado ni Noynoy na kahit sila magnakaw ay hindi sila makukulong. Ihalimbawa din natin ang DAP, ang mga KKKK ang binigyan ng malaking pondo mula dito.Sa mga supporter naman na nakadilaw na ribbon o damit, ano naman kaya ang binabalak niya? Baka kahit magnakaw sila ay hindi sila makulong. Baka sila lang makakasakay sa MRT. Baka may libreng bigas at de lata hindi katulad ng mga biktima Typhoon Yolanda at Zamboanga Siege kaya mabagal ang pagtulong sa kanila ay dahil hindi nagsusuot ng ng dilaw na damit o yellow ribbon. Kung natatandaan ko pa na may isang pabahay sa mga biktima ng flash flood sa Cagayan de Oro na ang mga bahay ay kulay dilaw. Ang balak kaya ni Noynoy ay hindi tutulungan niya ang taong hindi nakasuot na dilaw? Ito ay isang maliwanag na discrimination.

  12. You hit it right Katrina! However, for me, his father is not a hero. Ninoy was even a traitor when he aided Malaya’s (now Malaysia) quest to take British North Borneo (now Sabah) from the Sulu Sultanate, resulting to its loose from our archipelagic position.

  13. Pathetic, indeed, petty as well, Ms. Santiago. I am afraid that the people are now being punished for the emotional manner and too much belief on the yellow media which made them believe that Benigno Simeon C. Aquino is the next messiah to solve all the problems in this poor, 3rd world country with about 60% saying they are so poor, eating once or twice a day is already a blessing. No one bothered to read who PNoy really is, more importantly his.mental and health status, not knowing that the man has no mental capacity to do and perform great things at all and that he has health issues, hidden inside a bank vault and with sealed lips for those who know, maybe, that can affect his decision making process. Let us here for accept that we the citizens are also to blame in the very miserable situation the country is now experiencing.

  14. Your article said it all and thank you for sharing what every Filipinos need to know how it has been under this administration.

  15. P. Akialamiro on

    This is also the same President who initially denied ‘immediate’ help to the people of Tacloban City after the typhoon Yolanda because the Mayor happens to be ‘on the other side’ of the political fence (and member of an ‘archrival’ clan), refused to cede his authority first to the national government. Yet, there was no public official, but the Mayor, who knew more of his townspeople and the areas hardly hit, and help to the people would have been faster and direct. In a way, this is what this President is telling the SC to justify the disbursement of the DAP. How inconsistent, yet this President is even stubborn enough to defy the SC.

    The yellow ribbon symbolizes personality cult. It is the Philippine flag that symbolizes the Filipino people and the country. The yellow color symbolize “cowardice”.