The SONA you didn’t hear

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AFTER then-President Benigno Aquino 3rd delivered his first state-of-the-nation address six years ago, Fidel Ramos, a loyal defender of his mother Corazon who succeeded her as President, said it was “the most unpresidential SONA” he’d heard.

One reason: Aquino’s relentless attacks on purported failings and anomalies under Gloria Arroyo, an unseemly excoriation of his predecessor to which no other President had ever stooped, not even his mother, despite her bitterness over the assassination of her husband by soldiers of the Marcos regime.

So yesterday Rodrigo Duterte didn’t lambast his predecessor, despite Aquino’s campaign attacks and last-ditch bid to get his rivals to unite against him. Duterte admired and thanked Ramos for his own rise to the presidency, and didn’t say anything unfitting for the office.

But let’s say it for him. We aren’t obliged to be presidential and can tell it like it is, especially how Aquino’s rule created the criminality Duterte now has to grapple with. And that is very much part of the state of the nation today, although pro-Aquino media have largely concealed it, even from normally well-informed experts.


In sum, actions and data debunk the widely parroted claim that Aquino’s Daang Matuwid slashed graft and strengthened the rule of law. In fact, the opposite happened: Aquino’s policies and actions spurred the lawlessness scourge now afflicting the nation.

Crime tripled under Aquino
But you won’t know it from the most widely patronized media. For instance, how many knowledgeable people realize that crime tripled under Aquino? That’s the big reason Duterte got elected—and has resorted to drastic methods to fight the syndicates behind the explosion in lawlessness.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, crime incidents rose from 324,083 in 2010 to more than 1 million every year since 2013 (see <https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/2015%20PIF.pdf > and <https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/2012%20PIF.pdf >, noting that 2011 – 12 data are grossly understated, for which several police chiefs were suspended or investigated).

Hence, there have been well over 3 million crimes tallied in the last three years alone—plus more unreported—with some 4.5 million victims, assuming 1.5 victims per crime on average. Then there are the rising millions of drug addicts in the country.

Add to those dismal figures the close relatives and friends of crime victims and addicts: at least 30 million, assuming three immediate family members and three bosom friends per victim or addict. That’s more than 35 million Filipinos who are either victims of crime and drugs or close to them.

No wonder Duterte got 38 percent of the vote, and most Filipinos are silent in the face of escalating killings of alleged drug users, pushers, bosses, and protectors.

That unprecedented crime and drug surge began in 2010, when Aquino abetted jueteng and police sleaze by putting the Philippine National Police (PNP) under shooting buddy Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno, accused by Archbishop Oscar Cruz of receiving gambling payoffs.

Aquino also let smuggling treble, from $7.9 billion in 2009, based on International Monetary Fund data, to $26.6 billion in 2014. Despite that record contraband, he ordered no smuggling probes, not even when more than 2,000 uninspected cargo containers disappeared in 2011.

Result: drugs and guns flooded in, as Aquino himself admitted in his 2013 SONA. Imagine the narcotics and firearms one can hide in one vanished container. No surprise that gun and drug prices plummeted after the contraband flood, and Filipinos are the world’s biggest users of shabu.

Thus, Aquino’s abetting of jueteng and smuggling enabled syndicates to flourish as law enforcers were corrupted, and border controls subverted.

Drug lords take over Bilibid
The third factor in the lawlessness explosion is the corruption of prison authorities by well-heeled inmates. It began with Aquino’s friend and first Bureau of Corrections Director Ernesto Diokno.

Though forced to resign after wealthy inmates were found getting unauthorized furloughs, Diokno was never sanctioned, just like Puno after the latter was found culpable in the Aug. 2010 Luneta hostage crisis.

Diokno set the precedent for succeeding BuCor bosses, who also quit after their own scandals, but were never punished. Result: drug lords set up second luxury homes and syndicate headquarters in the New Bilibid Prisons.

Thus, under Aquino, not only were law enforcers and customs agents letting syndicates ply their criminal trade unhampered. Even those convicted were able to continue their nefarious activities and gilded living in jail.

With such unbridled lawlessness abetted in the past six years, is it any wonder that even devoutly Christian Filipinos may see the need for extreme measures to stop the syndicates that have driven crime and drugs to unheard-of levels?

The threat of narco-statehood
But even the corruption of police, customs and prisons isn’t the most scary legacy of the Aquino years. Rather, it is the sleaze at high levels of not just the PNP, but even local government units, with governors and mayors feeding on both jueteng and narcotics.

That alarming development, highlighted by Duterte’s warning to drug-tainted PNP generals as well as governors and mayors, raises the fearsome prospect that the Philippines could descend into Colombia-style narco-statehood, with syndicates wielding political power through corrupt officials, legislators, and judges.

Duterte has named five active or retired PNP generals allegedly involved in narcotics, and has the list of local government unit executives also in cahoots with the syndicates.

It is not hard to imagine that only a bit of the high-level sleaze is being exposed. Nor is it difficult to see how Aquino’s abetting of cronies and allies would encourage PNP generals and LGU chiefs to stray.

So now, Duterte needs to address the country’s No. 1 problem of crime and drugs, afflicting at least a third of the nation, with crooks on the street and in jail allied with those in the corridors of power after six years of Daang Matuwid.

Even as one must condemn the police and vigilante killings, one can see why those grappling with Aquino’s legacy of lawlessness are charging ahead with guns blazing. And why many Filipinos are quietly accepting the bloodletting.

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47 Comments

  1. B. Francisco Marto on

    Aren’t all of them our leaders, yet they do not really obey our Creator who owns all goods with true fruits?

    Jesus, Our Lord, please come and show your true Wisdom to us.

  2. Kung yan Lang alam nya, “pumatay”..kaya pala ganyan na kaganda NG Exhibit A nya NA Davao City! At kung maraming alam Ang previous admin NYO, bakit “narco state” na TAYO at ANG 6 percent growth rate ay nasa papel Lang wala Sa hapag kainan ng bawat Pilipino?!kung makapanghusga Ka!?

  3. We deserved what we got when the Filipinos elected an incompetent and insensitive president in 2010, in the person of Noynoy Aquino. What’s happening today is actually a residual effect of the rampant corruption perpetrated by the yellow minions during their heyday, from 2010 to 2015. Now we’re paying the price.

    • Robert Robert on

      You said it painfully right it really was the fault of the Filipino people why our country deteriorated and almost fell to disarray, thanks to this abnormal and retarded duly elected president Abnoy Aquino who doesn’t know, doesn’t have the guts and illiterately manhandled the Philippine Republic.

  4. Debbie Comia-Ac-ac on

    The truth is finally out! I’ve always wondered why the Yellow Team, made up of supposedly very intelligent people, couldn’t see what we, the ordinary people, saw – the alarming crime rate (carnapping, rape, theft … etc), the drugs (which even the “poor” can afford to buy), tanim-bala …. We didn’t feel safe at all. It was scary!

    • Di po kasi nila ramdam yun, nasa safe place sila may car nakatira sa secured subdivision unlike sa ordinary filipino citizen na nakaka experience nang pag commute holdup, snatch, yung shabu parang kendi nalang na binebenta.
      Sa kanila wala po yun kaya d nila ramdam.

    • It’s because of the same adage they claim, the smarter the more corrupt. It is quite true what they say. When you speak you can’t hear yourself.

    • Ruby Estorninos on

      It is because most of them are not affected by it, either they are rich, retired, housewives. People who were not affected are most likely can be influenced by the media supportering the yellow fanatics.

  5. Rudi Miranda on

    Congratulations! Thank you, you’re one hell of a journalist, and may your kind increase! There must be vigilance even in writing news!

  6. We had one before that was killed in a helicopter crash…almost identical to DU30 approach of maka-MASA…then fate intervened and shortlived was the MASA approach of MAMBO….I dare say not to DU30 the helicopter you may use I pray not to be fueled by meth courtesy of the Lords of the Drugs. I pray fate to intervene in favor of DU30 for he who can continue the lost aspirations of MAMBO.

  7. Prinze Fisher on

    Next move for the President must be the eradication of Jueteng. The Jueteng operations in the Province of Isabela is non-stop until now. The untouchable operators should be indicted as early as possible.

    • NEIL MCNALLY on

      From the point-of-view of some of the local poor folks,Juteng is a nice way to spend a few pesos during a very boring day.

  8. I have a suggestion for Pres. Duterte about the the over population problem. Instead of promoting RH bill we must give incentive to those who have more children by helping them on their basic needs. Not all filipinos have the capacity to have children and i think the most important resources of our country is human resources. If we can only control the development of our children instead of having them under the care of their poor parents then these young filipinos would be an asset to our country. Imagine all the children having a good education, well feed and of good health replacing us. This will also assure our children not lured into drugs and other bad vices because the government will monitor their existence. I should say that instead of limiting the the number of children, the government will have to adopt the children of families which cannot afford to give sustenance to basic needs and these children will be taken care of by DSWD or other agencies which will be organized. Philippines is not over populated because there so many lands that are not fully utilized. The problem is many people do not have the capacity to get job because of under education, health problems, exposure to job availability and confidence building programs. High cost of living is also a problem because mobility is stagnated. I realize that getting a job requires mobility and if it cost you more, then everyone is discouraged to find appropriate jobs and will stick to his own place which generally not advantageous. With this kind of program we can also obey God to his dictum, “go and multiply”.

    • That suggestion is very short-sighted. We only have enough arable lands to sustain a controlled population. Moreover, the government can not just give dole-outs to families who can’t afford to raise their battalion of children, at least not right now when we’re still suffering from having a high unproductive population problem (and by unproductive I mean the one-third who are drug addicts and criminals). We can’t afford that yet. Maybe in the far future, when we’re more stable as a country.

      The least we could do as a people is to not give the goverment even more problems, no? And if they’re pushing RH then we must comply regardless of religious beliefs. That way we not only helps ourselves and our own families but also the government and the rest of the country as a whole.

    • Low cost of living man sa amin maam/sir (basic need, water electric fruits and vegetables) Pero ang taga duon umalis at pumunta sa big city… Ako galing big city and I enjoy the low cost of living sa lugar nila, ang many luzonian and even foreigners migrated dun… Sad to say, they sold their land to migrant and they migrate to big cities where in cost of living is high… They dont need to be employed, kung pagyamanin nila lupa nila they can be an employer… Palkata is the trend their maliit ang puhunan, million ang kikitain… Their government school is not over flowing unlike sa school na pinanggalingan ko abot na nang 50+ sections per sission, 3 sessions a day…

  9. pedro publiko on

    i supported the president and i approve the programs that he wanted to accomplish during his 6-year term. the only thing that he did not mention that i am truly hoping for is – the end of contractualization of the labor force. it is hard to always be looking for a job, and with no benefits, a worker could not even provide for his or her family, so sometimes, one has to resort to crimes to make a living.

    • Agreed. This is a huge problem and extremely difficult as I myself am a single parent. Currently employed and received no 13th month pay or health benefit during my 6 months of contractualization. Now a “regular” but still no health benefit for a year according to employer

  10. ernie del rosario on

    “That’s more than 35 million Filipinos who are either victims of crime and drugs or close to them.”

    This more than 35 million figure neatly jibes with the 38 million votes Duterte really got.

    • Thank you for your comment, Ernie del Rosario.

      Just a small point of fact: presidentiable Rodrigo Duterte won 38 percent of the vote (actually, 39 percent in the final official count — the article cited an unofficial figure). That’s 16.6 million votes.

      But it is right to note that the more than 35 million figure — equivalent to over 35 percent of the population — neatly jibes with Duterte’s vote share.

      Thank you again.

  11. no wonder that his first and second names end with NO – NO accomplishment and maybe kNOw nothing.

  12. Who is to be blamed ? The people that elected Pnoy Aquino. Remember, we are a democracy and the voters rule. The voters did not check Pnoy track records when he was a Congressman . He did not enact any bills and or laws. That is his main job as a legislator. Like Pacquio, voters did not check that Manny only attended 4 sessions in Congess when he was a Congressman. Who is it be blamed.? The VOTERS.

    • Because a lot of people thought that he is like his father ninoy, the one one who could unite the mnlf and the government. Now it’s president duterte, the one i believe that can unite the philippines just like ninoy.

    • Having BSA as the president did one thing good. It tarnished the good name of the Aquino for those who doesn’t see it.

      He is the reason why their good name wasn’t what is used to be.

  13. Elskiski Boy on

    Dapat talaga alisin na at palitan na ang pangalan ng Airoprt into Manila International Airport…hindi Aquino etc etcetera!

    • Boy Els leave the hallowed name NAIA as it is. The hunt for the site of a world class international jetport for Maynilad is in full swing. NAIA could be relevant as Titanic.

  14. The Military, NPA/NDF and MILF/MNLF should help clean up the corrupt goverment officials and employees in their areas.

    • jose mercado on

      you may be asking the corrupt to go after the corrupt. i suggest you reconsider your proposal.

  15. Hector David on

    Trillions were not only wasted …also stolen during the previous administration with no regard or respect for institutions and the rule of law…the former occupant acted that our country was his hacienda

  16. Hector David on

    Give Coloma a medal for kissing ass and misinforming the public …. fooling some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time. .. good student of Goobels… during Hitler Era. …

  17. Thank you for this column and giving us the facts, which most of the media has

    ignored. It is not only drugs that we have a problem with, but also jueteng or illegal

    gambling. I have not heard the president mentioning this problem and going after

    this. He should.

    I pray that the president be successful , for the sake of the country.

  18. Thanks you for this column and giving us the facts, which most of the media has

    ignored. It is not only drugs that we have a problem with, but also jueteng or illegal

    gambling. I have not heard the president mentioning this problem and going after

    this. He should.

    I pray that the president be successful , for the sake of the country.

  19. Napagaling ng inyong pananaw noon at ngayon at napakadaling intindihin ang inyong komento na makatotohanan pa sa sinag ng araw, sana mabasa pa ito ng mga tao para maliwanagan sa kalagayan ng ating bansa. Saludo po ako sa inyo.

  20. Thank you Mr. Saludo for narrating what was then and what is now to be done to redirect again our country into a path of decency and honesty. President Duterte is so humble to say that he does not have the brain of President Marcos but he just did have one more than in comparison. President Marcos made an extemporanious speech so did President Duterte. President Duterte is down to earth person but wise and will fight for those being marginalized. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas to have such personality.

  21. Dominador D. Canastra on

    God bless you, Mr. Saludo for a wonderfully accurate column article, except for one thing: we are already a narco state. We turned into one during the Aquino Administration. . Let’s pray hard for President Duterte to succeed in wiping out the drug lords and their minions who have turned our country into an actual narco-state.

  22. Girlie Bebbeb on

    The Aquinos should be erase in the Philippine history books, because they are not worthy to be included. The mother and son president really did not contributed for the good of the country, but they focused on how they get their revenged on people who may or may not have wronged them. What a shamed.

    • Daniel B. Laurente on

      Never mind the English language..mind the thought being conveyed. Naintindihan mo nga yong short messages ng cellphone na minsan nakakabuang basahin yan pang sinasabi nya kaya

  23. ANG BAGYO AY MAY KATAPUSAN / END THEN – that is the aquino rule
    The next / susunod ay TAG INIT – THAT IS DUTERTE.
    MABUHAY PRESIDENT DUTERTE

  24. this administration should not only focus on illigal drug campaign, illigal gambling is now flourish in almost all provinces in mindanao. it could contribute to the hardship of poor families by betting their hard earned money..