I was compelled to start blogging in 2009 about Philippine politics and culture after I read a report that former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III who was then still a Senator announced that he will be running for President in 2010. I found it extremely ridiculous that the reason why he decided to run was because of the clamour from both his Liberal Party mates and rabid Aquino supporters who were in mourning after the death of his revered mother, former President Cory Aquino. I thought then that I had to help knock some sense into people who were letting their emotion rule instead of reason.
Alas, I and a few others who tried to warn people that BS Aquino would be a dud failed to stop the madness that would follow over the next six years. I was even prepared to be wrong about my perception of BS Aquino. But, I thought that since BS Aquino who didn’t have any plans of running until his mother died only meant that he didn’t have any vision that would translate into new policy changes for the country. What he had was hubris. A lot of it.
For six years, I monitored BS Aquino’s Daang Matuwid. It’s probably the same as what some of the critics of current President Rodrigo Duterte are doing now – monitoring and criticising his every move. I must admit I showed no mercy. I thought a public servant deserves public scrutiny. For six years, BS Aquino’s supporters labelled me too negative and full of hate for BS Aquino. Those are harsh words for someone merely pointing out the obvious that his most rabid supporters are refusing to acknowledge. They were either too gullible to believe what BS Aquino was claiming — that things are under control — or they were too proud to admit to their mistake in supporting him. Either way, they were part of the problem. Because they did not help BS Aquino stay grounded in reality, he continued to believe his own lies – that much has improved under his government.
Fast forward to 2016, the Duterte government is giving everyone a reality check. The new President is not congratulating himself for a job well done after less than 6 months on the job. At least not yet. That is a stark contrast to BS Aquino who kept bragging about economic gains even when he was still using the economic policies of the Arroyo government.
Duterte is honest about the fact that there is still so much to do and admits that he didn’t realise the enormity of the problem, especially the country’s drug problem, until he was already at the helm. To be fair, I don’t think majority of the public was aware of the problems the BS Aquino government tried to hide. With the help of mainstream media allied with the Aquinos, he glossed over issues plaguing the nation and entertained the public with his supposed love life and reminiscing about his mother and father.
BS Aquino was on campaign mode for his entire term. He continued to blame the previous government until his last days in office. While this tactic was effective before he was elected since the public was still angry over a lack of progress, it just became too annoying and not to mention unproductive hearing BS Aquino blame Arroyo for everything, even his own incompetence. He and his most rabid supporters were the only ones enjoying blaming Arroyo. He had six years to reverse the mistakes of the past administration, but he chose to waste it on crucifying his enemies. The economic gains he kept trumping about were also a result of policy changes during the Arroyo years and not just his alone.
Why am I writing about BS Aquino when I should be writing about Duterte? Well, I just can’t accept that his rabid supporters are too impatient for “progress” under the Duterte government when he is only less than six months on the job. BS Aquino supporters were so patient with him for six years, but now they can’t wait for Duterte to solve the very problems BS Aquino left behind. They even call for his resignation and label him incompetent. I just had to laugh. Duterte has probably accomplished more in less than six months what BS Aquino couldn’t accomplish in six years.
Indeed, BS Aquino’s supporters are so arrogant they can’t even admit their idol was a big part of the reason Duterte’s government has to work harder fixing the country.
Speaking of arrogance, Duterte’s number one critic Senator Leila De Lima is one. She criticises the way Duterte is handling country’s drug problem as if she did such a good job when she was in charge. As a matter of fact, she tolerated the debauchery inside the country’s national penitentiary, the New Bilibid Prison when she was still Department of Justice Secretary. In fairness, I personally don’t think she was aware of the full extent of shenanigans inside Bilibid like the gangs running a prostitution ring and operating a drug laboratory. How could she when BS Aquino made sure her hands were tied up filing cases against his political enemies like Arroyo, former Chief Justice Renato Corona and the three Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla? However, as the head of DOJ, she should be held accountable for negligence of duty. If she gets away with this, it will make culture of impunity worse.
While I don’t condone personal attacks against De Lima, she is not helping herself. She is also guilty of spewing personal attacks against her detractors. Just recently she made fun of the new Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre’s hairdo and implied that he is wearing a wig. De Lima continues to hold press conferences attacking Duterte and pleading with the international community to help her. I think her ego is preventing her from realising that she just needs to stop attacking for her enemies to stop retaliating. She should take a leaf from Michelle Obama and go high when her critics are going low.
It is not so much De Lima’s lifestyle in the past of sleeping with different men that I have a problem with; it is the seeming abuse of her position and having sexual relations with a staff and being such a hypocrite by acting like she is so clean.
Unfortunately, De Lima’s behaviour is a product of BS Aquino’s padrino style of governance. She got used to getting away with being a bully because BS Aquino tolerated it. Too bad for her the tables have now turned. She has to deal with a much bigger bully who is out to get her no matter what. The best thing for her to do is to just stop talking and act with more dignity. It might earn her the sympathy she’s been trying so hard to get. Otherwise, she’s just giving her critics and bloggers like me something to write about.
[Photo courtesy Inquirer.net.]