Philippine President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino will be giving his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) soon. Just like his previous SONAs, we can all expect him to start off with motherhood statements and then proceed to bash the people he thinks are getting in the way of his agenda. His previous SONAs have become so formulaic so much so that some Filipinos think that he’s just wasting everybody’s time.
The most annoying part of BS Aquino’s speeches is his use of the words “po” and “bosses”. His over-the-top show of deference does not mean that he cares about what the average Filipino thinks. On the contrary, the bulk of his message actually gives the impression that he thinks the Filipino people are stupid enough to believe his propaganda.
It is hard to believe the President is being respectful especially when he spews negative propaganda against his political enemies and engages in the blame game in the same breath. Yes, he plays the blame game every chance he gets. His SONA will include blaming the Marcos years and his predecessor. Never mind that in four years, he could have done a lot to reverse the damage if only he had real vision for the country and had he not focused on persecuting his political enemies.
BS Aquino’s fifth SONA will also include blaming the Supreme Court Justices who got him in trouble for ruling parts of his Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional.
BS Aquino’s fifth SONA could be dedicated to how the DAP supposedly benefited the Filipino people. Of course he will not mention that a big bulk of the funds went to lawmakers whose priority projects include building impractical structures and giving handouts to individuals or groups of people who they think “deserve” their help. Their so-called “projects” won’t likely help our country achieve First World status. What these do achieve is help the lawmakers and their families stay in power for years to come. You see, a lot of Filipino voters love receiving freebies from public servants who look generous giving away public funds.
A week before the President’s SONA, the public already got a taste of what they might hear. In a televised speech defending the DAP, President BS Aquino gave a veiled threat to the Supreme Court saying that if they do not reverse their decision, he will have no choice but to order his minions in Congress to “intervene”. Judging by the move by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to request for the justices’ statement of assets, liability and net worth (SALN), we can all assume that “intervention” means Congress could start impeaching the justices one by one.
The threat could just be a bluff or a joke. As Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma insists, BS Aquino is a joker and should not be taken too seriously. The President’s communication team has become so good at spinning that they can turn around a joke that has gone flat or a statement that has become a public relations disaster. His threat to the SC for example, is something they have denied as soon as there was public uproar after his speech on the DAP.
Hopefully, the Supreme Court justices will not bow down to the pressure from the Chief Executive and his allies. If they have nothing to hide in their SALN, they shouldn’t have a problem even when BIR boss, Kim Henares is breathing down their necks. If they still care about the future of the Philippines and the democratic system, they should not allow BS Aquino to bully them into reversing their decision on the DAP. We can only hope that the justices have filed their SALN correctly. Otherwise, BS Aquino will have something to use against them.
BS Aquino’s fifth SONA will be interesting to some people. During his previous SONA’s the President’s popularity rating was high. Because of the outrage on the DAP, he knows a lot more people will be taking note of everything he says. The real question is, will he behave or throw another tantrum?