corrupt by association

I would like to think I’m political. I mean, I try to keep myself updated in Philippine politics and I can engage in discussions about politics and the affairs of the country with some level of competency that affords me my opinions: I pay my taxes, I vote, I participate in some online petitions, and as an HIV advocate, I have done (and still doing) my little part in providing a service to the country, I read the news outlets online, and engage in discussions with people who do the same and try to form a well-rounded and fair opinion about the current state of affairs.

Corruption 101I try to minimize my political inclinations online, though. I do share articles that I feel expose flaws in the government system with a short commentary of how I feel about it but I don’t do this too often (I think) and I like to think I’m fair and objective. I sometimes see a headline and it bothers me and I check and read all other articles of the same topic from different news organizations to verify the veracity of the report before I share. I think I do a pretty good job at my due diligence and I really try to keep it minimal. I have a lot of anger and frustration but what I share on social media is only a fraction of it.

I feel that I know too little to flood the Internet with my still-amateur political opinions. So I keep it minimal. I don’t have all the facts and I don’t have all the answers. So I keep most of my opinions to myself and only share it with friends and family when the topic is raised or discussed. In social media? I keep my opinions down to a minimum.

At least that is what I think I’m doing. You could tell me if I come off as an arrogant know-it-all who is talking out of his ass.

Now that the disclaimer has been said, the full context of my attitudes about being political has been stated, I am afraid I have to get political now because this has been bothering me for years and I just want to get this out of my chest.

Corrupt by Association

I have some friends who are very much in favor of the present administration. I’m not. I’m very, very disappointed with the past five years of the current administration. I’m very frustrated.I think it has been a horrible mess and sometimes, it is best when my friends and I just agree to disagree because we really can’t seem to have a proper discussion on politics. Our standards are very different.

A lot of their defense for the Aquino administration is that BS Aquino is not a corrupt person. There are a lot more reasons on why they are in favor of this administration but that is the biggest/strongest reason they have to give as to why he is a good president. They have bought into the whole Daang Matuwid narrative and they believe that he is not a thief or a plunderer.

I beg to differ but I have no proof so I can’t say otherwise.

What I do have to say is this, though: I can accept that Aquino might not have stolen. That’s a theory that is hard to disprove and there haven’t been any rumblings or rumors of corrupt acts or theft done by him particularly. Fine. I can accept that. But what I do not accept is the fact that there are people around him, friends and political allies who are corrupt, ineffectual and inefficient, and/or suspicious.

Here are some of my justifications for saying such:

After wasting Php 10.07 billion, shouldn’t Abaya be dismissed too? (Philippine Star, October 14, 2015 / Link)

Pork a la PNoy — “Unconscionable” (GMA News Online, August 17, 2015 / Link)

ADB: 30% of Conditional Cash Transfer Beneficiaries are not poor (ABS-CBN News, June 24, 2015 / Link)

Over 30 Liberal Party allies linked to pork scandal (CNN Philippines, June 24, 2015 / Link)

DOTC: A Shameful Failure (Digital Edition, Philippine Star, June 12, 2015 / Link)

COA: Php 7 billion tree-planting project of DENR a failure (Philippine Daily Inquirer, April 24, 2015 / Link)

COA: Department of Agriculture squandered Php 14 billion (Philippine Daily Inquirer, April 22, 2015 / Link)

(just found this photo on the Internet) If daang matuwid/the straight path was going to be your legacy, what happened to your promised Freedom of Information bill/law?

(just found this photo on the Internet) If daang matuwid/the straight path was going to be your legacy, what happened to your promised Freedom of Information bill/law?

These are just some of the articles that I’m using as a basis for my thesis: rampant reports of misused funds, abuse of power, not following proper procedure or protocol, billions of government funds spent on failed projects, and two years since the discovery of the PDAF-Napoles pork scandal, and there are still reports coming out of government budget going to bogus NGOs. This administration talks high and mighty about the “straight path” or daang matuwid but is completely unaccountable for their consistent failures throughout this administration’s term.

Yes, fine, there were three Senators who were detained for their involvement in the PDAF-Napoles pork barrel scandal and some officials were removed from office after being found guilty or even suspicious of corrupt acts. There were some cases. But none of the three Senators have been charged with anything and the administration is about to be over and no one has been tried and found guilty yet for a national plunder issue that blew up two years ago. No one is behind bars, the money is still unaccounted for, and there are people who have been named who are still out there and still in government positions.

But fine, he did put people behind bars but nothing’s really happened.

And a selective offensive against corruption is not good governance. It’s ugly politics where only some people (usually the opposition) are guilty and all your friends who are guilty of the same thing (and sometimes worse) are spared and and rendered untouchable.

Double Standards

Fine, maybe BS Aquino is not corrupt and has not stolen, which is great. I can’t make any statement about that so I’ll accept it as truth. But the mere fact that he has protected his allies from multitudes of reports of inefficiency, not following of procedure, suspicions of corruption makes him an accomplice to their failure as government officials and public servants; in my opinion.

The Department of Agriculture, the DOTC, the DENR have all been found to have huge anomalies in their Commission on Audit (COA) reports and have lost billions of the taxpayer’s money in failed projects and they get to keep their job and the security that they won’t be investigated of any wrongdoing even if there are reports from the COA that they did not follow proper bidding procedures.

Why are they exempted just because BS Aquino trusts them? His daang matuwid/straight path is subjective. It seems to only target enemies and the opposition and does not extend to his allies and friends. And a straight path that is selective is not good governance or any proof of good leadership, management skills, or honesty. What it does is paints him as tribal, cliquish, and a bully. He is not fair. He is not objective. And he has no right to the moral high ground when he exempts friends and allies from the same scrutiny and punishment he has accorded to his enemies and the opposition.

In that way, BS Aquino failed his own concept of daang matuwid/straight path. By not being absolute in his battle against corruption, he discredits the whole narrative he has created for his administration. For that alone, his administration’s victory appears a very hollow one to me. Because of this fact, I personally feel that BS Aquino’s daang matuwid/straight path was not done for the country but done for the strengthening of the Liberal Party’s own agenda and for keeping themselves in power.

That’s what I think.

(just found online, credited to Bladimir Usi)

(just found online, credited to Bladimir Usi)

And fine, the economy improved and I’m not an economist so I can’t say for certain that the improved economy was directly a product of the Aquino administration — but let’s be honest, they’re politicians, it’s to their best interest to make the economy boom because it can benefit them in the long run, and it’s what they are supposed to do — so I’m not giving them bonus points for doing their job. What’s the point of improving the economy if the different departments are squandering taxpayer’s money on failed projects (COA’s words, not mine)?

And whether our economy is really booming, I offer this article. I haven’t verified yet how true it is, but it seems logical and well-researched to me. It’s something to explore:

The Hilarious Reality of the Inevitable Philippine Economic Collapse (The Stagnant Filipino / Link) *article not verified

I have a lot of other reasons to not like or respect BS Aquino, his administration, and the Liberal Party but I feel inadequate to defend my opinions on the matter; so I won’t put up in public display. But this opinion, I am unafraid to make public, especially since there seems to be a growing interest in the future of our country and our democracy, where a lot of my friends have registered to vote after not voting for a long time. I wouldn’t mind entering into a discussion about this and the comments section is open for these kinds of discussion.

But let me say this: it’s still my blog, I will

  • delete comments that insult other people in the comments section;
  • delete smear campaigns and obvious trolling;
  • and not engaging objectively in the discussion and disrupting the peace in the comments section of my blog.

My blog is not a democracy. It’s mine and I have the final say on what stays and doesn’t. But I invite people to discuss and debate on the comment section of this entry because we are at an important crossroad and the 2016 election may prove to be instrumental in taking the necessary steps to a real change.

We still don’t have clear options, to be honest, but a healthy discussion about politics and our choices will hopefully improve the next one. We take the steps when they are available to us and now seems like the time.

So please excuse this sudden curve ball of a blog entry. I won’t be political too often. I don’t think I’m good at it. But I just feel very strongly about this and I feel like it would be great to start the discussion. Because we should. We should talk about it more. We should talk about it until we make better decisions in the future and we don’t let the system control us again as it is doing now.

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