Goodbye, President Aquino

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PRESIDENT Noynoy Aquino’s Disbursement Acceleration Program is unconstitutional. It is not in accordance with the constitution and that has been determined by no less than the Supreme Court.  With this most recent development in the allegation against Aquino as the pork barrel king with DAP being used to bribe potential enemies and reward loyal allies, I thought to myself, “no one can get away with a blunder of such magnitude. One simply can’t.”

How can the people continue to rely on his integrity after he and his budget secretary flouted the constitution, the supreme law of the Republic? It is as final as a conviction!

The ensuing discussions, however, lead by the legal minds and the Palace defenders veer away from a point of certainty where the president and the budget secretary are liable for the unconstitutionality of DAP. Their speeches take on a quality often very high-sounding so that they are impenetrable to the untrained minds. I don’t know about you, but much of what they say elude me. The most that I can discern is this –  the president is not to be held liable because DAP is done in “good faith” and that neither can he be impeached because he controls the majority in both the Congress and the Senate. Further, unconstitutionality is not synonymous with criminality.

My head spun from trying to digest these notions. DAP and good faith are hardly combinable in one phrase, because in order to accept this as a legitimate premise one must disregard the expertise and skills of those who engineered the program. Fingers are pointing at the Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad as the brain. Here is a man with 12 years of legislative experience as a congressman and chair of the House Appropriations Committee. No, it is an insult to Secretary Abad to even suggest that he, along with the president, was not aware of the unconstitutionality of DAP. If that is the case, what a miserable lot we are in. It is not that we are not yet mired in misery and tribulations. In countless and horrific ways, we already are. But for the country to be run by ignoramuses? Some excuse.

No. By any means of stretching logic and reason, I cannot be convinced that it is mere negligence on the part of Abad that gave birth to DAP. An enterprise worth of billions of pesos, significant sum of which were released to Aquino’s allies at the height of former SC Chief Justice Corona’s impeachment, could not  just be a simple accident, a figure overlooked, or a whim realised in a blink of an eye. Recurring issues and political crisis within the rank of the elite show that loyalty and alliance are bought by money. Indeed, that has been one of the accusations against Aquino as the pork barrel scam that so angered the people flared up. With funds from DAP, he fortified his position by ensuring that the majority in both houses submit to his control. That is going to come handy.

Angered by this regime’s latest shenanigan, the few brave in the Congress rose to the challenge of fulfilling their duty to the electorate. Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon is a youthful, daring voice with a bold message to tell. “Impeach the president!”

A flicker of hope grew on me. I was certain that the call for impeachment will gather force, that the number will grow and soon the president’s and Abad’s culpability will be pushed to the forefront of the discourse. No president, no matter how strong and popular, should be allowed to get away with undermining the Constitution. Millions of pesos were given out to senators and congressmen like  paper money while the people are totally excluded from the centres of decision making involving their condition. Surely, the honourable congressmen and senators with even the littlest amount of sincerity and moral integrity would see the point of impeachment.

Alas! Pundits and Aquino’s allies are one in saying that the impeachment case won’t fly.  It won’t fly because the petitioners don’t have the number. It won’t fly because the majority bloc in the Congress vows to resist any move to impeach Aquino. Not surprisingly, this is where DAP is going to be most helpful to Aquino. He has already bought the loyalty of those who have the power to impeach him. It is just again a number game.

Sigh. It is crushing to realize that the unconstitutionality of DAP is poised to go down the history as just another unbridled display of corruption by the authority. We simply watch in disgust feeling helpless as they make up excuses, justifications and even build up Aquino’s hoped-for legacy as righteous in keeping with this “tuwid na daan” rhetorical masterpiece, one that easily crumbles under close inspection.

On the other hand, the brave few are not giving up. With the minimal coverage the media is conceding them, they continue to hammer out an agreement, an alliance not with congressmen and senators whose positions are pre-determined by party and individual interests. My understanding is that the impeachment process will only ever have hope of reaching the august halls of the congress if we back it up. Only our sheer number has the power to compel the congressmen and senators to act according to the people’s will.

The palace defenders will use all kinds of ploy, rhetoric and deceitful propaganda devices to mislead us from the truth. But no. DAP is unconstitutional. DAP funds were used to buy the loyalty of the congressmen and the senators for Aquino. DAP is corruptly used to shore up his regime’s programs which are anti-people by nature. 

We must do something. Goodbye, President Aquino.

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