By Miguel Raymundo
PRESIDENT Benigno S. Aquino III becoming a lame duck president came too early in his administration. The worst part is, the President brought this upon himself and to the seat of power by his mishandling of a series of crisis that hit the country in a span of six months.
A spike in cost of living could be the proverbial last nail in this administration’s collapse. Observers are tempted to believe that unseen hands are deliberately leading this country to a political crisis caused by economic upheavals. This political crisis will force PNoy to resign even as unnamed sources claim PNoy is under extreme stress that he himself wishes to give up the post.
The blame game has started as the Aquino family is reportedly upset with people “using” the unsuspecting bachelor President.
There will marching in the streets in the days to come with prices of electricity going up by P3.00 per kilowatt-hour and liquefied petroleum gas getting very expensive and beyond the reach of the ordinary wage earner.
Fuel and Power Costs
Why the spike on cost of power and fuel when world prices are on the slump is a mystery to many. Even the reason that the price increases are beyond the control of the President has not been accepted by the people. This unreasonable twist of events led parties to speculate that forces are out to bring down the administration of PNoy. It is common belief that PNoy got the highest post of the land because of support and funding by the moneyed class that control money and mass media in the country.
Why these kingmakers are not protecting the back of the President, but instead bringing him down by increasing cost of living justifies the speculations that big business is fearful PNoy will not last his term and that it is better to bring him down earlier while they have good control of the political and economic situations.
The general perception is the President is not in control of government. He has been reduced to reading speeches written by spin doctors detached from realities on the ground. Time and time again he has been proven to be lying in his public speeches like his assurance that the government was ready to pick up the pieces from the storm surge of Super Typhoon Yolanda. His lack of leadership and poor performance in the super typhoon Yolanda relief and rescue operations was an international concern, forcing other nations thousands of miles away to come in to rescue millions of devastated families in Central Philippines.
The latest corruption reports and misuse of public funds had PNoy in the middle of the scandal. The worst being that he bought solons to oust Chief Justice Renato Corona. His corruption is worse than that of the GMA administration. He is seen to be willing to twist the Constitution so as to use the budget to pay solons’ support. This is the issue of DAP. Then USA Secretary of State John Kerrey walks into town not in a Santa Clause suit stoking further speculation that the Americans are worried on what is happening to the Philippines. It is common knowledge that the a shadow government continues to rule this country.
What is going for President PNoy is the general perception that he is not corrupt. How this perception was created though has been subject of healthy and dirty speculations. The healthy reason being that he does not need the money. The dirty reason is he wanted the presidency only because of the perks of the position and not the responsibilities, hence does not get into the real job of the presidency. And the money is in the discharge of the functions of the office.
The real leadership in the country now publicly exposed and accepted, the big money guys that propped up the Aquino campaign are running worried.
Real Estate Bubble
The international economic movements do not augur well for a healthy business climate. The real estate bubble could come sooner than expected. The big banks are vulnerable in this bubble. The money crisis that hit the USA some years back will come to wallop this country 10 times more devastating than Yolanda.
Hot money is in rapid departure from the Philippines as the US economy shows improvements and the west being secure parking place for hot money. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported massive losses due to intervention in the foreign exchange market.
The Yolanda devastation will surely slow down the economy of the Visayas Region, bringing down consumers’ spending and resulting a slowdown in industries and production.
The infighting in Philippine politics will drain the energies of the President worsened by realignment of loyalties and alliances in the political circles. The kitchen cabinet being also a shadow government, other forms of shadow governments are shaping up ready to take over. This is expected when the President is generally perceived to have lost control of the office. The kitchen cabinet is fortifying its hold dreadful of what is to come when PNoy steps down or is thrown out.
But disturbing are the speculations that other groups are forming, preparing for the worst for the President.
So far, no prominent figure has emerged as behind any plot to form a shadow government, apparently to avoid any backlash from the powers-that-be in Malacanang Palace. Going by past events, those waylaid by Aquino’s ill-starred “tuwid na daan” reform agenda are expected to take the lead in forming a shadow government in the run-up to the 2016 presidential polls.
In varying persuasions, their ranks could range from political and business elites to the rightists, centrists and leftists—all potential characters in an alternative form of government. While they may have divergent agenda to pursue, they are expected to forge a unifying and common position in the face of complexities that may arise in the process of closing their ranks. Talk about a shadow government is nothing new as it has been bandied about in some public fora in reaction to a government in power found in disarray for corruption and ineptness.
In some ways, a shadow government is in reality an opposition, considering that nearly all political parties are indistinguishable from each other. In some countries, a shadow government refers to the practice by the political opposition of forming a stand-by government in case it wins the next election. It does not refer to a parallel government like that set up in the United States to try to ensure that the federal rule could continue in the event of a catastrophic attack on the nation’s capital.
A shadow government literally means a “government-in-waiting”. It is in waiting until it takes control of government in response to some event such as a general election. Its primary objective is continuity so that an incoming government does not begin from scratch or operate in a vacuum. Shadow government prepares the opposition to take over government. It fosters stability, making it one of the strengths of a democratic system. Changes of government through elections should not disrupt the overall economic and social well-being of a nation which is often the case with a presidential system.
In some parliamentary governments, the largest opposition party often refers to itself as a shadow government. Opposition leaders are prepared to assume certain ministries should their party come to power. In Britain, the largest opposition party’s Defense spokesperson is referred to as the Shadow Defense Secretary. More importantly, they are often in consultation with their counterpart in the incumbent government. Smaller parties have spokes people but do not have shadow government designations.
It may be argued that forming a shadow Cabinet will be used as a check and balance to the performance of Cabinet officials.
However it is done within the context and structure of a parliamentary not a presidential system. There are important operational contexts to be considered. Moreover, the socio-cultural and institutional dynamics is necessary for a shadow government to be effective.