PNoy’s Strange Twist

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by Ray Orosa

THOSE who have watched PNoy carefully in the last three years have observed that PNoy personally is not a thief and this is why I am really wondering why he came blasting out defending his personal integrity at least as it relates to the question of whether he personally pocketed any money from PDAF in the past or his actuations regarding the presidential pork. I can only assume that that was the doing of a shrewd perception manager to divert the people’s anger against pork, legislative or executive.

I have not heard anyone from the protest groups accusing him of the same thievery that the legislators have committed. What the protesting public have sought, might be called an over- reaction to the glaring corruption practiced by lawmakers, but in simpler terms, they just want to get rid of PDAF wherever it might be located and PNoy has not responded to this issue at all. And what has taken place in the new budget just puts a different collar on the same “pork”. It is not a personal protest against him in the sense that he is a thief that pockets the funds. But it is a protest to use presidential pork as a political tool to reward or punish legislators or to make decisions in its use for political reasons.

This is the crux of the problem, though personally seeming honest: PNoy is just playing politics with the people’s money. He cannot seem to understand that his slogan of “matuwid na daan” demands that he be willing to make the decisions of his office in the best interests of the nation or region, and not based on political considerations and so in this sense his integrity is being questioned, i.e., he is not really committed to the “matuwid na daan”. And that slogan encompasses all of his decisions.

That is in short the leadership that the people are looking for and it is terribly inconvenient politically. That is at the heart of a one term office of the President. Because he is no longer running for re-election, he ought to decide rightly while in office. Pursuing the “matuwid na daan” ought not to depend on its effect on his popularity or ensuring the liberal party candidate wins in 2016. In fact, to pursue this slogan is to ensure that many people will not like him and there are far too many such minded thieves in our society. But that is the cause should really pursue relentlessly. After all he voluntarily chose the slogan and promised to do just that not some of the time, but all of the time. He cannot blame anyone for such a high minded joust with the windmill, just like Don Quixote de la Mancha and his “Impossible Dream”.

It is in this area that the people’s dissatisfaction at him is focused. Because he has shown that he is just another traditional politician, maybe just a notch higher. This is not to say that he has done nothing in office. There are some things that he has initiated, but now is not the time for him to falter and slow down in this critical issue. The entrenched interests might hate him for what he is doing, but so what? They don’t care about this nation, they just want to hold on to power for generations and keep the people under their thumbs.

They certainly don’t care about the people that is why they employ an army of perception managers, skilled in fooling the people about what is really going on and they are willing to do so at all cost, considering the returns that they receive from their office: Double compensation, excessive salaries and bonuses, per diems here and there not to talk about all the kick backs from pork and from other segments of the national budget, perks and practices that are as old as the hills. All prior congresses have so behaved except that they have refined it now to a fine art, having mastered all the intricacies and how to protect themselves or shall we say by hiding the truth, pretend that their asses are clean. But oh how they stink?

This is what PNoy does not get, or if he does get it, he or his handlers are clever enough to divert issues and prevent his being pushed to the wall. The long and short of it is that being measured by the recent events, he has shown that he may be personally brave but he does not have the character to face what has to be faced squarely and act decisively on matters that really count. Well, that is really not the strong suit of any politician, and he has shown that he is unable or at least seems to be unable to rise above the conflicted values they go by. This is a cause for much sadness for the people.

Indeed, if he just saw this whole issue as an opportunity to make great new strides for the nation, to redeem her tattered image, then indeed the nation may be headed for greater glory. But this issue, which he seems to be mishandling, may well break him for the rest of his term.

I would have wanted PNoy to speak to the nation and declare that he realizes that legislative pork indeed is a source of corruption and that his administration will pursue all of those who are involved because it is high time to reform some of our encrusted structures. He could have said that to do so entailed some risk to him but that he was willing to face such risks with a mailed fist because the cause of the nation is greater than their interests and support. Maybe he could have added that just like his father, Ninoy, he believes that the Filipino is worth dying for, excluding of course the thieves, unprincipled hypocritical legislators and their allies in the pork scam. Unfortunately they are quite a number! Whew!

I would have preferred for him to justify presidential pork at a much lower level because he realizes that those funds do not for the most part require his personal discretion and the funds could very well be part of the contingency budget of line departments and that these departments must report to him on the use thereof.
I would rather have him say that Ps, 600 Billion is too much but he does need some and so he is voluntarily reducing it to say Ps.150 billion. This kind of message would have been received very positively by the people especially if it included his declaration that individual lawmakers may no longer initiate projects or interfere in it its implementation because the line departments will indeed undertake whatever has been budgeted. Because if the lawmakers have to reform, so does the executive branch which has been complicit to say the least about the PDAF expenditures, even in the use of His pork as President.

In other words, the presidential pork should not be a political tool as it continues to be and has been used and certainly not of that magnitude. The message bottom line has to be that the rules have changed and it is no longer business as usual. But as they say, “Draw your own conclusions from his speaking to the public which most people were disappointed about if they would dare to speak!

Oh well, hope springs eternal and only God knows how this “annus horibilis” will eventually turn out for PNoy and the nation. PNoy is still our greatest hope to move rapidly into new directions, and he must also consider that those against all kinds of pork are not against him unless he shows that he does not really give a damn about the people’s sentiments except for show!