Lame mind, lame excuses, lame duck

PerryScope
By Perry Diaz

Noynoy-ampawTwo of the most intelligent presidents the country ever had turned out to be the most corrupt. So much for intelligent people running the government. How about those with a lame mind “ampaw” (rice crispies) as President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III called them last March 13 when he advised voters to elect someone with substance. “In essence, who really has substance and who is ampaw?” he asked the students at an open forum at the Hope Christian High School in Manila. “With ampaw, you might be happy for a while but after 10 minutes, you’re hungry because there’s nothing in it,” P-Noy said in Filipino. “Ampaw” is a pejorative for people lacking in substance.

Ampaw (rice crispies)

Ampaw (rice crispies)

But P-Noy is also the target of his critics who questioned his qualifications to run the country during the 2010 presidential elections. They claimed that in his nine years in the House of Representatives and three years in the Senate, his legislative record was zero; that is, none of the bills he authored have been enacted into law. “A real ampaw,” they said.

Actually, before P-Noy raised the issue of ampaw presidential candidates, his critics have already been calling him “ampaw” for what they believed was his incompetence in governing the country. His disappearing acts during crises further exacerbated public perception of his incapacity to deal with the country’s problems.

Favorite scapegoat

P-Noy and Gloria in better days.

P-Noy and Gloria in better days.

But nothing is more pathetic than P-Noy’s string of lame excuses for everything that had gone wrong. And his favorite excuse was to blame his predecessor Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for a lot of things that went awry under his watch. Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz calls Gloria as P-Noy’s favorite scapegoat. P-Noy even blamed Gloria for the dip in his satisfaction ratings from a 2013 survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS). While admitting that the “pork barrel scam” had an effect on his ratings, P-Noy blamed the administration of Gloria because it occurred during her presidency from 2007 to 2009.

“In time people will see what we are doing to stop the shamelessness that happened – from 2007 to 2010 were the worst,” he told reporters in an ambush interview. “On the surveys, I have said before that we should not be governing based on ratings. We should be governing based on what is right, that is what should be our basis in making decisions,” Aquino added.

But while P-Noy believes that governing based on what is right is the way to go, it should – nay, must — always be within the purview of the law. And this was the gist of the recent Supreme Court decision, which ruled that three parts of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) are unconstitutional.

Debilitating blow

Supreme Court

Supreme Court

The high court’s 13-0 decision had caught P-Noy by surprise. At the very least he was expecting his four appointees, including the Chief Justice, and two other justices to support DAP. There were two more justices that P-Noy had been lobbying so hard to get their support. That would bring eight votes, which would have been enough to uphold the constitutionality of DAP.

In the end, after an extended delay in issuing a ruling, the justices did what was right, not what was politically expedient. Once again, the Judiciary manifested its independence from the influence of its co-equals, the Executive and Legislative branches of the government, who used every trick to persuade the justices to uphold DAP in its entirety. But the justices resisted and dealt P-Noy a debilitating blow.

But P-Noy, wounded politically, counter-attacked and delivered a scathing tirade against the Supreme Court. In a broadcasted speech last July 14, P-Noy lambasted the Supreme Court for its ruling that DAP is unconstitutional. He warned that the Executive Branch and the Judiciary might run into a head-on collision because of the ruling. And, cryptically, he said, “My message to the Supreme Court is: We do not want two equal branches of government to go head to head, needing a third branch to step in to intervene. We find it difficult to understand your decision.” He said that the Executive Branch would file a motion for reconsideration and called on the justices to “see DAP his way.” But the justices were unfazed by the veiled threat of impeachment. They vowed to uphold “the rule of law,” not the “rule of men.”

A Manila newspaper reported that a source said that the high court is “solid” in its ruling and the justices wouldn’t be swayed in their decision. “There are no more Arroyo or Aquino appointees. It is the institution, the Supreme Court, which must be protected,” the source said.

Hacienda Luisita

Hacienda-LuisitaLast July 21, it was reported that the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) filed an impeachment complaint against P-Noy for the P5.4 billion from DAP that was allegedly used to pay his family – the Cojuangcos — for Hacienda Luisita and other landowners under the agrarian reform program. The KMP said that the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) website carries an “admission” by its head that the agency had received the DAP funds for the landowners’ compensation.

Although, it is doubtful if an impeachment complaint against P-Noy would gain traction in the House of Representatives, it would put him on the defensive for the rest of his term and he’d be hounded to no end.

Quo vadis, P-Noy?

Opinyon353.inddWith an imminent defeat on his motion for reconsideration, P-Noy wouldn’t have many options left. It’s either he accepts the high court’s ruling or declare martial law and fire all the Supreme Court justices. But would he go to that extent? If he did, that would be the end of the legacy of his father, Ninoy Aquino, whose martyrdom had broken the Marcos dictatorship. Is P-Noy too bull-headed that he would dismantle the democratic institution his iconic mother, Cory Aquino, had built from the rubble of martial law? No! P-Noy wouldn’t dare do that.

But to accept defeat after all that hullabaloo of attacking the Supreme Court, P-Noy faces the inevitability of becoming a lame duck too soon. Normally, a sitting president doesn’t become a lame duck until his successor was elected, which is about 60 days prior to the end of his term. But when a president lost his political power due to diminished influence, he becomes a de facto lame duck, which begs the question: Will P-Noy’s influence wane as a result of his ignominious defeat at the hands of the Supreme Court justices?

At the end of the day, there’s nothing harder a president could swallow than being a lame duck for the last two years of his presidency, which makes one wonder how history would treat P-Noy? The last things that he’d like to be known for are: lame mind, lame excuses, and lame duck.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)


16 Responses. Have your say.

  1. DANNY says:

    DAP was used to pay the Cojuangcos for the Hacienda Luisita farmers? This is unbelievable because we know the President is incorruptible. Kindly verify further. If this is true, this should not be a part of what they call “good faith”.

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      Is there anything pleasant and productive ever going to come out of our government? And is there anyone at all in our country’s political arena that doesn’t have one iota of corrupt genes in their body? The people that took an oath to serve and protect our constitution are the same people that are causing our country’s demise. The Maguindanao massacre, still no closure for the victims and their families, those thieving generals, whatever happened to them, how about our illustrious Ate Glo and her thieving family members, what’s going on with their cases? Now we have these sh*t for brains Senators continuously denying their involvement in the pork barrel scam, and are we going to believe that the Sandiganbayan will have a chance to convict all of them? I wouldn’t hold my breath on that idea. Our country will never get out of this deep hole unless the people of our country get their common sense back and that might take some doing, divine intervention perhaps? Naw, not in this lifetime.

      • pat talens says:

        Bobby, opportunity for better Philippines may still persist in our lifetime. After thinking of all the possible options, here I seem to support a military “Coup D’etat” that runs parallel with current Egyptian government. Just like you said—to remedy this turtle-paced machineries of Philippine justice system and to stop these moronic political stunts and special treatments of crooked leaders and politicians such the 3 Senators and more. This is one way to neutralize the power and influences of these thieves—a Coup, a detention camp for all crooks including the Ampatuans, then a firing squad maybe, oopps this is too much. Yes incarceration for all of them without benefits of special treatments (for these people must be dealt more dearly than ordinary criminals), then a gradual return to civilian government (as Egypt).

        Problem though here who is that person to lead this Coup D’etat? Maybe Gringo Honasan who once was a member of the famous, patriotic RAM. This is well opportune time for Honasan to redeem himself and be that once he was (I admired then by the way)—an idealistic, truly patriotic military warrior. What say you folks?

        True it is, the Philippines desperately needs a charismatic, bold, transformative, and inspiration leader—not now seen at the status quo.

        • Bobby Bagos says:

          Pat, Gringo and Ping Lacson were once dominated by strong sense of principles and character. All of that went out the window once they’ve got a taste of what power is all about, coupled that with almost unlimited supply of cash, the oath they took to defend and protect the constitution are no longer relevant. It’s really up to the people of our country to make things right, there’s really no problem to whomever they choose to guide our country, just do it consciously and then hold their feet to the fire when they go astray and punish them, don’t coddle them. I agree with you, there’s still hope.

          • pat talens says:

            For me, Ping Lacson never occupies part of my political logic for titular head of the Philippines. The current abysmal Yolanda rehabilitations, whereupon he is the administrator, speaks volume about his failings in leadership in such a historic way. I even believe ongoing rehabilitation efforts now demand Congressional oversight, that the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee must hold hearings to bring these failures into the open for the entire country to know.

            As for Gringo Honasan, I find some attributes of charisma and past boldness of warrior-leadership on him that could be assets to transform the country. I can only urge him to let those virtues—of Courage, Integrity, and Loyalty—embedded in his heart and soul during his patriotic days in the Academy to regenerate and to remind him till his last days. It is never late for him to start anew for his country.

    • Terry Sarigumba says:

      According to the report posted by Rappler.com, the funds paid to the Luisita landowners came from the general appropriation allocations, not from DAP. KMP is basing its impeachment bid on factual errors. You all can check the following site:
      http://www.rappler.com/nation/64031-abad-luisita-dap

  2. Roman R. Guerrero says:

    PNoy have defended the indefensible DAP whose legality was based upon 3 provisions of Administra- tive Code of 1987 found to be lifted in toto from provisions of Marcos’ PD 1177 issued on the basis of the 1973 Constitution. The surreptitious insertion by a Marcos loyalist in the Cory cabinet may have alerted her in some way, which was why she never used it. The said PD1177 was supposed to be stricken down along with the discard & nullification of the 1973 Constitution when the 1987 Constitution was overwhelmingly ratified with 74+% vote of the people in 2/7/87. N.B. our source about those AC1987 provisions having been lifted in toto from PD1177 was Raissa Robles’ reply to Fr. Bernas.

  3. Pons Tucay says:

    The real crooks in the Philippines are those who have perpetuated the gap between the rich and the poor. The Aquinos and the Cojuangcos are members of that group!
    Pons

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      The bottom line is that most of us in this forum are just spitting against the wind. All have wonderful ideas and insights as to what should be done to improve the quality of life in our country, but the reality is already etched in stone, our kababayans will continue to support the people that couldn’t care less about the fate of our country as long as their bank accounts are full. It’s been over six decades since we gained our independence but what have we got to show for it. This is the 21st century but our way of life and way of thinking seemed to be stuck in the middle ages. Being a retired US military, I have been in a lot of third world country that really remind me so much of ours.

  4. zenaida ferry says:

    It’s a sad day to hear that a president could be so weak in his principles of integrity and honesty. Why won’t he agree that the DAP is unconstitutional? It demonstrates that he is no different from those who were accused of stealing the money of the people.

  5. Cesar D. Candari MD says:

    I agree with Pat Talens. . The country needs truly a bold patriotic Head-of-State or ruler to truly transform the Philippines. Yes, a Coup but have someone ready to take the leadership , ala Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore.
    A lot of things have to be done. Doc C.

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      Our country need someone with a strong sense of integrity, principles, courage and Patriotism. These powerful traits are something that we’re not going to find in our present political scene, I’m sorry to say.

  6. Mac Flores, Jr. says:

    PNoy and Abad counter statements after the SC ruling is in line with democratic exercise.

    I believe what they are contesting may have been expounded already by the Solicitor General during the hearing before the Supreme Court.

    I foresee an affirmation of the SC ruling after the appeal for the good of the country… if not…DRAWING LANG PALA. If this will be the case, PDAF and DAP become legal but without FUND because BIR maybe continuously missing its tax collection targets in the long run.

    I think Martial Law or Coup D’etat already lost its glamour. But assuming either of the two miraculously happened (God forbid), those already charged in fund misused and those to be charged soon should not be exonerated from their misdeeds, including those answerable to the SC ruling.

    The people must strive for good governance.

    The current Presidential system, where the HEAD of State and EXECUTIVE functions are assigned to a sole person, the president – is obviously not good for the country based on experience.

    In my opinion, why not shift from Presidential to Parliamentary system as some suggested?

    The Senate will be abolished. The Executive function is retained by the President/Prime Minister/Premier.

    The HEAD of State shall emerge to help and guide the Executive in performing its function. You see 2 heads are better than one.

    Who will be the HEAD of State? It should be a body/organization whose objective is to safeguard the Constitution.

    Possibly PHILCONSA (please make a Google).

    My expectations seem to be wild but this is just my humble opinion.

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      Folks, even if Satan happens to be our Country’s chief executive, people like Enrile, and Jinggoy and Panday and Ate Glo will always find a way to outsmart evil. There’s really no sense bothering God anymore, I think he’s either going deaf or he doesn’t understand our language anymore.

      • pat talens says:

        HE HE HE…you being funny again Bobby…ho ho ho ho

        • Bobby Bagos says:

          When Erap was running for president, he was telling a bunch of reporters that if gets elected president the first thing that he would do is to change our national flower, from Sampaguita to Chrysanthemum. Another reporter asked him how to spell Chrysanthemum, Erap’s response was, “Rose na lang siguro”!

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