Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa
War in the Palace
IS THERE trouble brewing in Malacañang? With two camps running the Palace—the so-called Balay and Samar groups headed by Sec. Mar Roxas and Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa, respectively—the answer is a resounding YES.
It’s an odd marriage forged in 2010 during the election campaigns, a partnership that was immediately strained with the loss of Mar Roxas to Jejomar Binay in the race for Vice President. From then on the two camps barely managed to co-exist, engaging in minor scrapes and arguments every now and then on the handling of issues of national import. But that was before the PDAF scandal got out of the bag which put the whole administration in its biggest quandary.
The fragile relationship between the two camps have reportedly reached critical mass anew with President Aquino’s “I am no thief” speech, which aired on primetime television recently. Apparently, the idea of giving the speech was a unilateral decision made by the Roxas camp—a call made by the Liberal Party. This means Ochoa and company were against the speech which put PNoy on a defensive stance on the PDAF issue.
In hindsight, PNoy’s speech appeared to have had very little positive impact on the public perception that PNoy and company are equally liable in the PDAF scandal. If the intention was to disconnect PNoy from the PDAF fiasco and reinforce his “matuwid” image, the speech backfired. “Why deny involvement in the PDAF scam if you are not involved in it the first place?” Ochoa’s camp must have argued.
As it is, the PDAF scandal will involve lawmakers in both the opposition and administration camps. The present ploy of limiting the scandal to a handful of lawmakers is simply a means to buy the PNoy administration some time to figure a way out of the fiasco.
If there is a way out.
With the Senate Blue Ribbon failing to get a piece of testimony from Janet Lim-Napoles, it is clear that the PDAF scandal will be a long-drawn drama. It will take years before charges are filed against the guilty parties and even longer before the guilty are brought behind bars. PNoy and company do not care if the whole investigation process takes forever. Right now, they just need to survive until 2016.
- CHRONOLOGY OF THE RIFT: Pacquito Ochoa VS. Mar Roxas (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- Trouble at the top (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Palace urged to adopt ‘orphaned’ pork scholars (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- PDAF defeat prompts Aquino to fly back to Manila (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- LP eyes new budget scheme vice PDAF (manilastandardtoday.com)
- President to discuss pork issue Wednesday night (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Why I Voted No to the Pork-laden 2014 Budget (mindanews.com)
- Philhealth, BSP got P29-b of PNoy’s special ‘pork’ (manilastandardtoday.com)
- What Is PNoy Up To? (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- Snake Pit (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)