Power corrupts P-Noy

By Perry Diaz

Noynoy-Wang-WangAfter repeatedly denying it in the past, President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino had let the cat out of the bag: He wants a second term! And he wants it for a strange reason: To curtail the power of the Supreme Court. Whoa! What happened?

Going back to Day One of the Aquino presidency, it reminds us of the promise of hope and pagbabago (change) that P-Noy made to the people whom he called “boss.” He promised in his inaugural speech that there would be no more “wang-wang” and the bosses roared in approval.

Noynoy.6But what was really the centerpiece of the mandate his bosses gave him on Election Day was predicated on his campaign promise of “Walang korap, walang mahirap” (No corruption, no poverty). Yes, there will be no more corruption, no more poverty! That pumped the people up. Finally, here is a man who would deliver the poor from their hellish lives. Hope… Pagbabago… No more pagpag for food. How sweet.

For the next four years, the poor experienced the taste of sweetness. But it was not the sweetness of progress. It was artificial sweetener to keep them contented from day to day. And for as long as they get a taste of “sweetness” they’d be out of harm’s way. Indeed, feeding the poor has always been the ultimate act to pacify the malcontents. Feed them and everything would just be sweet and sassy.

The “sweetener” that P-Noy gives to the poor is called Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, a form of conditional cash transfer (CCT). Its goal is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by implementing health and education programs for households that have children ages 0-14. It operates in 79 provinces covering 1,484 municipalities and 143 cities. Currently, the program has more than four million registered households.


Janet Lim Napoles in police custody

Janet Lim Napoles in police custody

But no sooner had the program been implemented than allegations of “ghost” beneficiaries were made triggering demands for investigation. However, the Aquino administration had repeatedly denied the requests.

But nothing is more serious than the plunder of pork barrel funds, which were intended for projects that would have benefitted the people – particularly the poorest of the poor and the hungry or “food-poor.” Instead they were diverted to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) controlled by Janet Lim Napoles – the “Pork Barrel Queen” – who, with the connivance of elected officials, had siphoned off at least P10 billion from Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations to lawmakers. In exchange for the lawmakers’ “cooperation,” Napoles gave them kickbacks anywhere between 40% and 70% of the scammed funds. Napoles pocketed the rest.

Butch Abad confers with P-Noy

Butch Abad confers with P-Noy

Prominently involved in the pork barrel scam was Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad who issued the Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs) approved and signed by the President authorizing the National Treasury to release the funds from PDAF.

In 2011, P-Noy set up the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) – a brainchild of Abad — drawing funds from purported “savings” in budget items and funneling them into a huge “piggy bank.” Since its inception, more than P150 billion were transferred to DAP. But what was anomalous was that DAP funds were spent without congressional authorization.

Double whammy

Supreme Court

Supreme Court

Then the unthinkable happened! On November 19, 2013, the Supreme Court by a unanimous vote of 14-0, declared the PDAF unconstitutional. Seven months later, on July 1, 2014, it ruled that three parts of DAP are unconstitutional.

It was a stunning setback for P-Noy. He accepted the ruling on PDAF but he stood his ground on DAP insisting that it was legal. This set the tone for his “war” against the Supreme Court, which he treated with contempt. He swiped at the Judiciary for “meddling” too much into the affairs of the other two co-equals, the Executive and the Legislative branches.

In my article, Is DAP worth fighting for? I wrote: “P-Noy’s tirade against the Supreme Court is like a little boy throwing a tantrum, making unreasonable and foolish demands. He knows better that the Supreme Court’s ruling, once it became executory, is final and there is no appeal. Perhaps his legal staff should give him advice on the legality – and futility – of what he’s doing.

“What he should have done was do a mea culpa routine just like when then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo appeared on TV and said she was sorry for the ‘Hello Garci’ scandal. She did it without admitting guilt. It was brilliant! Indeed, there is nothing more profound than admitting a mistake. It’s the best defense.”

Charter change

Cha-cha-no.2Then the unexpected happened! Last August 14, a Manila newspaper reported: “President Aquino is now amenable to amending the Constitution and extending his term apparently to check the power of the Supreme Court, a coequal of the executive branch. The President said the judiciary appeared to be using its power to check the executive and legislative branches without restraint. ‘When I took this office, I recall that it was only for one term of six years,’ he said. ‘Now, after having said that, of course, I have to listen to my bosses [the people].’ ”

But the following day, P-Noy backed off after a tsunami of opposition flooded the airwaves, the broadsheets, and the social media. Ninety percent of those who commented in the social media were against a second term for P-Noy. Many commented that his mother, the late President Cory Aquino, had opposed former presidents Fidel V. Ramos and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s attempts to amend the Constitution allowing them to run for a second term, which begs the question: Would Cory have opposed her son’s attempt to stay in power longer than what the 1987 Constitution allows him?

Judicial independence

Judicial-independenceBut regardless of whether P-Noy would extend his term or not, it has become apparent that his hubris was born out of the power that he amassed during the four years of his presidency. Now that he has full control of both houses of Congress and had placed generals loyal to him in key positions in the military, only the Judiciary remains independent, which had demonstrated in the PDAF and DAP unanimous rulings that “judicial independence” still reigns supreme.

Power-corruptsIndeed, the Supreme Court’s judicial oversight and review – which P-Noy objects to — and the checks and balances inherent in our trilateral form of government, guarantees that our country shall be governed by the rule of law and not by the rule of man. I must also add that for as long as we have an independent Judiciary, nobody – not one man or group — should ever have absolute power. And as Lord Acton had once said: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This is a mantra that should always remind our leaders that corruption thrives on power.

Has power corrupted P-Noy?


14 Responses. Have your say.

  1. Juan M. Montero,II,MD says:

    For all the chaos going on in the Philippines, now is the opportune time for charter change, to a Parliamentary System and to change our restrictive laws to incentivize foreign investors.

    You lead the march Perry.


    • pat talens says:

      Hi Doc

      I would concur that the Philippines needs to incentivize foreign investor to impact well on the economy and people. But that poses acute challenge as the country is awash in criminalities and upon culture in which corruption is endemic and the norm. Manila’s high-rise hotels and impressive facades only mask what is truly the persistent and massive blight, security concerns and poverty that abound.

      I was once on the side of parliamentary system to remedy the country’s ineffective government and make it truly a government that it is for, of, and by the people—but no longer. Because of economic misery and the new norm of endemic corruption, so many close their eyes, unwilling to recognize right from wrong, that their only obsession is to survive and be able to put food on the table for their loved ones. My argument is that the Philippines has now crossed the threshold when, to solve the dysfunctions in government and in the justice system and to cure the culture of corruptions and dishonesty in society, there is now installation of an authoritarian leader, perhaps by a “coup”. A de facto patriotic, wise leader is better than a democratic system in which its framework is weak and corroded to the core that makes the “bosses” all the more hungry and trampled.

      • Bobby Bagos says:

        I remember saying not too long ago that our country had finally reached that point of no return. We’ve been given the opportunity to succeed time and time again and yet we continue to deny ourselves those opportunities because of century old mentality that we still practice today. Instead of striving for perfection we are content in doing things half assed. Just say puwede na yan or bahala na and everything will be hanky dory.

  2. Gabriel says:

    The President of the country must realize that the Supreme court had already made a decision. which is final. The Executive and the Legislative must follow the Law of the Land.

    With the personal concerns of the President which are bias and selfish motive, he must be impeached already. The common people must rally and tell the President of his mistake and wrong doing against the Supreme Court decision.

    The second term is but another violation of the constitution. Let us all rally as P-NoyNoy is been corrupted by Sec. Abad .. both must be removed already including those in the Cabinets that want their positions.

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      Gabriel, our system of government is very unique, not just some part of it, I’m talking about the whole shabang. A former president was tried and convicted for plunder and now he is a Mayor of Manila, heck during the last presidential election he almost won. These people don’t give a rat’s ass about the constitution, if it suits their fancy they will do whatever they want.

  3. perry says:

    Dear Perry Diaz;

    First We would like to appreciates your arches on discussing social issues especially with regards to our recent public personalities’ scandalous attitudes.

    Your article as posted to the above web is very interesting, and well articulated. But we want also to cast some comments on base on our bias observations on P-Noy’s “BOSSes” because his “bosses” are not the people or the whole filipino people who need the most especially the poor, plebeian, oppressed and marginalised in our society, nevertheless, his “bosses” are absolutely those rich, wealthy elites people in his circle. for example, we don’t buy his words “‘Now, after having said that, of course, I have to listen to my bosses [the people].’, if these bosses are those common people that really struggled their everyday lives. We do highly believe that these “bosses” his talking are those who are behind the killings of filipino democracy and lives, albeit, the rich elites people of the society that loves greediness. Well, Erece is now the one proposing to destroy the rule of law just for the benefit of his boss-PNoy.

    Additional comment, We hope that you could include by next time in your article the exact data of your 4P’s arguments for that is more striking and scandalous of P-Noys irrelevant program, because we finally found that 4P’s program has been used to promote extra-human rights violations in our country especially in our most vulnerable brethren.

    Please also, include the massive human rights violations that P-Noy has committed against humanity, for example the Yolanda victims which until this day, has been denied by their demands and cry.

    Thank you, so much for your article,

    Oreki Hotaro
    (Sent by email in response to Mindanao Examiner op-ed)

    • pat talens says:

      Hi Oreki, while reading your post it seems I was almost to snooze and day-dream till my eyes caught on the last line of your writing about the Yolanda victims. True indeed, that Yolanda catastrophe to date brings about another reminder of the weakness and failing of President Aquino’s leadership and “ningas kugon” and apathetic attitude towards his “bosses”. Despite world’s interests and attention to helping out victims of the disaster, the region is a mess—a shameful ly glaring example of historic mismanagement in rehabilitation before the world, when much material and money was donated for the victims.

      Indeed, shameful and historic failures to assist the victims and to rehabilitate the areas demands full-blown inquiries on behalf of the whole Philippines, in which its prestige as a nation (of crooks and of corrupt) is on world stage.
      As a case in point, Congressional Senate Blue Ribbon Committee must hold hearings about this unthinkable fiasco—uncover where and how the material and cash donations spent, why till now people live in subhuman conditions that contribute to human trafficking, poverty, and so much criminalities.

      The voice of reason and President Aquino’s “bosses” demand explanations and want people to account for this exacerbated nature tragedy!!!

  4. perry says:

    Dear Oreki,

    Thank you for your comments and feedback. You brought up very good points and I will certainly address them in my next opportunity to write a column on these subjects.

    I’ll post your comments in Global Balita so others may read them.


  5. Bobby Bagos says:

    Mr. Hotaro, you will be hard press to find any political elites (including PNoy) socializing with the people that they supposedly work for. The only time that these elites come in contact with their bosses is when it’s time for them to get their votes.

  6. Pons says:

    Pure and simple remedy to the problems of the Philippines:
    “Kick the bum out of office!”

  7. philip says:

    At the rate things are shaping up, it won’t be farfetched if PeNoy declares martial law during his last year.

  8. David Lim says:

    I think the main reason why PNoy is considering running for a second term is because of the failure of our body politic to find a credible alternative to the “sure victory” of Jojo Binay in the next elections just 2 years from now! Hope his Liberal Party can convince some parties, Congress and the electorate’s majority to make him get a second term. On second thought, Is there no one from among 100million Filipinos who can be the presidential alternative to Binay?

  9. manok says:

    frankly, I do not understand us..we blame all our problems on politicians..leaders etc. etc..we should blame ourselves and the media..we elected our officials..and the media is corrupted..it has been 60 years since pres. Magsaysay..NOTHING..Edsa was just a power play with Marcos being out of the picture because of health problems..with the backing of AN uncorrupted media..uncorrupted military and police..uncorrupted justices, the Filipino people can claim their right to a government by the people and for the people..if we choose to do so…

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