Is Abad P-Noy’s Rasputin?

By Perry Diaz 



Tsar Nicholas II

Tsar Nicholas II

One of the most — if not the most — despised royal advisors in history was Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin. Known as the “Mad Monk,” Rasputin was a Russian mystic who was an advisor to Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra during the tumultuous years of Imperial Russia under the Romanovs. Rasputin became close to the Tsarina because he was said to possess healing powers, which the Tsar and Tsarina believed gave relief to their only son and heir to the throne, Tsarevich Alexei, who was suffering from hemophilia, an incurable disease.

Rasputin became very influential to a point where Nicholas relied on his advice on matters of State. Many believed that Nicholas’ reliance on Rasputin had created the conditions that contributed to the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. However, it was corruption, poverty, and the oppressive rule of Nicholas that finally brought down the Romanov dynasty.

Almost a century later, the Nicholas-Rasputin model was replicated in the Philippines where she remains mired in poverty in spite of the economic bonanza that was being touted by President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III. But if one has to eyeball the numbers, the Philippines still ranks as one of the most – if not the most — corrupt countries in Asia.


Anti-DAP rally

Anti-DAP rally

While the genesis of the Disbursement Accelerated Program (DAP) might have been a noble attempt by P-Noy to boost the economy — which is to realign “savings” from slow-moving government projects to new programs — nobody questioned the method he used.

Pork Barrel King

Pork Barrel King

DAP similarly works like the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or “pork barrel” system. The basic difference is that Congress appropriates the PDAF while the Executive Branch transfers funds from the national budget to the DAP without the authority of Congress. But since the members of Congress also benefitted from DAP, nobody rocked the boat… until Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, in his privilege speech before the Senate, dropped a bombshell.

In his privilege speech, Jinggoy exposed – and questioned — the existence of DAP. He said that the 20 senators who voted to convict then Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012 were each given an additional P50 million in discretionary funds. Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad admitted the release of the DAP funds to the senators; however, he denied that they were used to reward the senators who convicted Corona.

Patronage politics

Supreme Court

Supreme Court

The controversy about the creation of DAP was finally settled with unanimous vote – 13-0 — by the Supreme Court. The high court ruled that three key parts of DAP were unconstitutional. It was a major setback for P-Noy, who depended on Abad when it comes to fiscal matters, particularly the disbursement of funds from DAP and PDAF, which the Supreme Court had ruled unconstitutional last year. Indeed, it was a double whammy for P-Noy, who had hitched his presidency on the heavily funded PDAF and DAP to achieve his goals. However, many believe that P-Noy used PDAF and DAP to buy the loyalty of the members of Congress.

But what is really sickening is the revelation that P-Noy approved P177 billion for DAP. According to the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), they obtained copies of seven memoranda from DBM signed by P-Noy over the past three years, approving projects worth between P174 billion and P177 billion under the DAP.

According to presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, 91% of the DAP funds was spent “properly” by the Executive Branch. However, he couldn’t account for the remaining 9%, which is about P16 billion of the P177 billion that P-Noy allocated for DAP. That’s a lot of moolah, Mr. President!

But PDAF and DAP are peanuts compared to what P-Noy had inserted in the 2014 national budget. According to former National Treasurer Leonor Briones and Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares, the lump sums under the President’s discretion amounted to around P1 trillion. This “presidential pork barrel,” as Briones and Colmenares called it, represented a whopping 38% of the national budget!

Collapse of an empire

Tsar Nicholas II blessing the Russian troops.

Tsar Nicholas II blessing the Russian troops.

Regardless of how P-Noy spins it, the fact remains that the highest court of the land had unanimously struck down the DAP program. But P-Noy’s defense of Abad amidst calls for his resignation, manifests the strong bond between them, which is an alchemy of a weak leader and a strong surrogate, just like Tsar Nicholas II and Rasputin. But ultimately the Nicholas-Rasputin alchemy failed and the House of Romanov, which had ruled Russia since 1613, fell when Nicholas abdicated the throne on March 15, 1917.

The question is: Could Tsar Nicholas II have stayed in power had he gotten rid of Rasputin? This question had been the subject of speculation by political scientists and history buffs. Some say that the downfall of the Romanovs was inevitable due mainly to the tyrannical and ineffective rule of the weak Nicholas who depended too much on Rasputin for advice.

During World War I, Rasputin claimed that he had a revelation that the Russian army would only succeed if the Tsar took personal command. Nicholas immediately went to the front line and took command of the Russian army. With no experience in commanding an army, the Russian army was beaten.

While Nicholas was away at the war front, Rasputin’s influence over Tsarina Alexandra increased. Pretty soon he became Alexandra’s confidant and personal advisor. He also convinced her to fill some government positions with people he had handpicked.

As the Russian economy rapidly declined, the people blamed their problems on Alexandra and Rasputin, whose immense influence over her was deemed the cause of all the ills of the empire.

Aquino-Abad tandem

Aquino-Abad tandem

It’s interesting to note the uncanny similarity between the Nicholas-Rasputin relationship and the Aquino-Abad tandem. Nicholas and Aquino were both perceived as weak leaders who had to rely on strong people for advice and direction. Nicholas had Rasputin. Is Abad P-Noy’s Rasputin?


16 Responses. Have your say.

  1. doc cesar d candari says:

    Perry, your article is a classic analogy between Rasputin and Abad, perfect, factual, clear comparison, and expressed in straightforward presentation of what is going in our decadent country. My heart bleeds for the poor people that President Aquino claimed to help with funds from the DAP. Granting 116 projects were funded, how much were actually spent on the projects? He reminds me of Robin Hood working in reverse…taking money from the poor and giving it to the rich. (I am thinking of the rich ‘tongressmen’ and rich ‘senatongs’.) Doc cdc

    • perry says:

      Hi Doc,

      I’m amazed that in spite of the Supreme Court unanimous ruling against DAP, P-Noy continues to defend it. As a result, his popularity rating went down to a net rating of 25%. t looks like he’s plummeting down just like Gloria. I wouldn’t be surprised if P-Noy would be charged with plunder and detained next to Gloria and Janet.


  2. jaime says:

    What puzzles me is the SC ruled on 3 counts that the DAP was unconstitutional yet P-Noy is continuing to use the funds. If the Executive Branch does not implement the Law, what can the SC do.

    P-Noy’s action compares to what is happening here in the US today. Obama implements only the part of the Laws he likes and when there is none, he makes up one (Presidential decrees).

  3. This comparison is a SSSsstreeeeech to say the least…PNoy like Czar Nicholas? Abad, Rasputin? Is 1917 all over again? Are the REDs ready to line up PNOY, Kris and Balsy against the wall?
    C’Mon, Perry!!!
    For a president who successfully gotten rid of Gloria’s Merciditas, Renato Corona and now Senatongs Tanda, Pogi and Tanda finally under indictment…and to the disgust of the Rasputin-like bishops of the feudal Catholic church we now have the RH law….now the World Bank just came out praising the economic gains and the on-going corruption campaign in the Philippines…hey, let us prove DAP disbursement really went awry….until then let us tone down the heckling….
    Noynoy for his lack of charisma, might yet be the best contemporary president the Filipinos have ever elected.
    No proof has yet credibly come out yet that he lined his pockets with the DAP everyone is soooo concerned about…
    What we have plenty for sure is DAK DAK…words words words…

    • perry says:

      Hi Mariano,

      Thanks for your response. First of all, I didn’t say that it’s 1917 all over again. All I compared were the Nicholas-Rasputin relationship and the Aquino-Abad tandem and how Nicholas relied on Rasputin and Aquino on Abad. Both Aquino and Nicholas are weaklings who rely scheming advisors to run the government.

      While it is true that there was no proof that P-Noy lined up his pockets with DAP money, there is evidence that at least 20 senators and 120 congressmen had stolen money from their PDAF allocations. Had P-Noy stayed within the limits of the PDAF established by Gloria, the corruption wouldn’t be as blatant. And now with P177 billion in illegal DAP funds that P-Noy can dole out without any congressional authorization and COA audit, it creates more opportunities for corrupt officials to enrich themselves. Therefore, if PDAF, DAP, and the P1-trillion presidential pork barrel are abolished, corruption can be licked. But what is happening is that P-Noy, by way of his actions, is encouraging lawmakers to steal public funds in exchange for their loyalty.

      The fact that P-Noy used the DAP to reward the 20 senators who voted to convict Corona makes one wonder if P-Noy’s vindictiveness against Corona was because of the distribution of Hacienda Luisita to the farmers, which Corona strongly supported.

      P-Noy would be known in Philippine history was the one who corrupted lawmakers with public funds. That’s Robin Hood in reverse — stealing money from the poor to give it to the rich.


      • Terry Sarigumba says:

        Perry, I disagree with you and I agree with Mariano who hit the right issues on the head. PNoy, definitely is not a weakling and there is no Philippine equivalent to Tsarina Alexandra with whom Abad would spread a “bad” advice. PNoy and Abad have constitutional and EO provisions to back their decisions. It’s just a matter of interpretation and I don’t consider the SC justices infallible, despite their near unanimity. If the money involved in DAP had been handled by people other than PNoy, such money would have ended in personal pockets or bank accounts in Switzerland. I continue to have confidence, faith and optimism about PNoy.

  4. jose balmadrid says:

    They all should be behind bars. Perhaps people and genuine democracy in our country still holds a chance with the courts. Let’s us start filing charges, the first step to making this bastards accountable. Let us support everyone who has the courage to condemn such crime against the poor people of the Philippines.

  5. perry says:

    Before P’Noy, the Philippines is in the top
    10 of most corrupt countries in the world.

    After 3 years of P’Noy’s rule, S&P, Moody’s and Finch all three rating agencies gives the Philippines for the first time in its 100 years of history triple BBB investment grade.

    You have myopic vision.
    You need new glasses.

    God’s blessings,
    Loida Nicolas Lewis
    (Sent by email)

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      Most diseases are cured by anti-biotic but that doesn’t mean the virus is out of your system, same thing with corruption in our country. The triple BBB ratings is not a guarantee that we’re free of this dreaded disease. Getting rid of this disease is not going to be an easy process because corruption also exist in our Justice system. It’s up to the people of our country to really make this important process happen, otherwise we’re not going anywhere.

  6. Pons Tucay says:

    The Philippines is so corrupt!! Kaya walang asenso. Little Taiwan, is now an economic power. With all the bright engineers, economists, teachers, workers in the Philippines, why are we still wallowing in poverty and decay? Nakakahiya sa buong mundo because of the entrenched corruption of the Filipinos!!!

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      Our country is so corrupt because we allow it to be that way and it will stay that way until we get enough balls and common sense to stop it. Corruption is now a part of our culture, it’s how business is conducted and because of it we even earned a coveted title of being one of the most corrupt country in the world, a title that we will most likely keep because the leadership of our country doesn’t seemed interested in losing it. And you’re right, talagang nakakahiya ang ating bansa.

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      We are so corrupt because we allow it to be that way and we are going to stay on this path unless we grow enough courage and common sense and say enough of these bullish*t. How much more of these can our country take from these greedy and worthless politicians? Talagang nakakahiya any ating bansa.

  7. pat talens says:

    a humorous play:
    Ralph and Edna were both patients in a mental hospital. One day while they were walking past the hospital swimming pool, Ralph suddenly jumped into the deep end.

    He sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed there.
    Edna promptly jumped in to save him. She swam to the bottom and pulled him out. When the Head Nurse Director became aware of Edna’s heroic act she immediately ordered her to be discharged from the hospital, as she now considered her to be mentally stable.
    When she went to tell Edna the news she said, ‘Edna, I have good news and bad news. The good news is you’re being discharged, since you were able to rationally respond to a crisis by jumping in and saving the life of the person you love…. I have concluded that your act displays sound mindedness.
    The bad news is, Ralph hung himself in the bathroom with his bathrobe belt right after you saved him. I am so sorry, but he’s dead.’
    Edna replied, ‘He didn’t hang himself, I put him there to dry.
    How soon can I go home?’

    Above parody is classic Philippines in humorous style. Here Ralph represents the mentally retarded citizenry betrayed and hunged. by crazy leaders in govt and by Napoles who are symbolized by Edna, while President Aquino seems to be the Head Nurse Director who thinks DAP is good for Ralph.

  8. Bobby Bagos says:

    Kind of remind me of a story about Erap and FPJ when they were young. Both were walking home from school when Erap spotted a mango tree loaded with mangoes, since FPJ was the more athletic one, Erap told his friend to climb the mango tree and check if any of the fruits are ready for picking. FPJ with gymnastic ability was up in no time checking all the mangoes. He then yelled at Erap and told him that quite of a few of them were ready to be picked. Okay, pare baba na at susungkitin ko na. Erap up to this day still think that way.

  9. don givens says:

    Ang kawawa sa Pinas ay ang maraming mahihirap na lalung naghihirap as time goes by.

    Kokonti kasi ang middle class eh. Therefore, ang mahihirap or pulubi ay puro nasa survival mode. They could care less who is in power as long as they can buy a one ganta of rice from the small money they got in selling their votes.

    The politicians made sure that there are only two classes of citizens in Pinas, the haves and the have not.

  10. don givens says:

    The poor pinoys are easily controlled by the rich. They are for sale like all the politicians and the government officials and their cronies. They have no integrity, no moral values, and as far as I am concern they all can go to hell.

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