, JANUARY 31, 2011 (STAR) By Aurea Calica – President Aquino conceded yesterday that his administration has been under attack on several fronts since he started reforms in the government.

The President said that while trying to put in place massive reforms in the country “we are stepping on” a lot of people.

Asked if the camp of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was one of the groups trying to pull him down, Aquino said he did not want to pinpoint anybody at this time.

“I am not saying that. But there are many. There was one who was removed from his position and now doing nothing but incessantly hit me,” he said.

“Maybe there are those who are just envious of me. Maybe that’s how it is really but for me it is very clear that what we are doing is right,” he added.

Aquino said some of the criticisms against his administration were utterly baseless and the detractors would not even bother to check their facts.

He cited house cleaning being done at the National Food Authority (NFA); the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

“In the case of NFA alone, aren’t there who are not worried? There was supposed to be a private transaction but the checks came from one bank alone. In the DPWH where we started the rehabilitation projects, the P900 million plus is now only P600 million. Don’t you think we did not run over those who would lose P300 million plus that they thought would fall on them?” Aquino said.

The President earlier bared that the NFA was suffering from a P177-billion debt because of over-importation and overpricing of rice during the previous administration.

In the case of the DPWH projects, Aquino said the projects were negotiated instead of being subjected to bidding so his administration stopped them.

The President said he was also supporting the investigation into the alleged corruption in the military and government-owned and controlled corporations so the government would have more funds for social programs.

He lamented that he was being criticized for having a luxury car even if it was purchased using his personal funds.

On Friday, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda again rallied the people behind the administration, saying it was trying its best to address all the problems of the country.

He said some issues must not be sensationalized and that government efforts to stop corruption and criminality must be fully supported.

Lacierda would not say if some groups were out to destabilize the government with the spate of carjacking-slays and the bus bombing on Tuesday.

“There is a coherent attempt, effort to solve the problem and this has been going on,” Lacierda said.

“We are asking the public to cooperate with us and to remain vigilant in an effort to secure the country. We need the cooperation of the public and this is not only an effort on the part of the government to assure the public that we are doing something,” he said.

Lacierda said the government was working round the clock to make sure the campaign promises of Aquino to eradicate corruption and reduce poverty are achieved.

The President said he could understand the criticisms against him but appealed for fair treatment, stressing that he had never lied to the public as regards his activities as public servant.

Aquino is facing criticisms for buying a Porsche but maintained that he bought the luxury car with his own money. He said was not the owner of the armored Toyota Lexus that he was using for security purposes. He said it was leased by his brother-in-law.

The President said his critics should not begrudge his spending his own money on something that he found to be worth investing in.

He cited the P29.25 billion remitted by GOCCs to the national coffers this year compared to less than P10 billion last year when he was not yet President.

Aquino also said he would not be buying new vehicles for his own use if it would not be justifiable and could not be afforded by the present budget of the government.

“I think from the campaign to now, hinahanapan ako ng isyu (they try to find issues against me). Kung wala, gawan ako ng isyu sinusuportahan naman ng mga kalaban (If they can’t find an issue, they will create one which my enemies support),” he said.


Aquino’s critics grow; protest rallies set 01/30/2011

Aquino needs management skills & human relations with his administration - Catholic Bishop Gutierrez

The rank of the disillusioned with President Aquino keeps growing and now includes supporters of his mother, former President Corazon Aquino, who indicated plans to start holding protest actions mainly as a result of the rising cases of criminality in the country.

The group, some associated with the Council for Philippine Affairs (Copa) led by Pastor “Boy” Saycon (photo at left), openly expressed to the Palace its intention to organize an anti-Aquino administration movement and added their voice to those warning that Aquino won’t be able to finish his six-year term should he fail to address all the security issues facing his administration.

The Palace said the group is free to express its anti-Aquino views.

“We are always open to them. If they have any concerns, they could have easily approached us. But, again, this is a free country. They have the right to express whatever grievances they have. But we can very well assure them that we are doing everything that we could. In fact, if they are less myopic, they will see that there is development going on,” said presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda at a post-briefing interview when asked of Malacañang’s thoughts about this latest set of Aquino’s detractors.

Lacierda maintained that the ongoing issue about the perceived rise of criminality in the country is just a product of mass media’s sensationalism because they have the statistics to prove that crime rates have actually gone down since Aquino assumed the presidency.

“Against all sensationalized reporting of criminality going on, the truth of the matter is it has gone down and whenever there is a situation and incidents such as the bus bombing, we immediately convene the security cluster, the

National Security Adviser is there, the Secretary of Interior and Local Government, Chief PNP, AFP units are also there. So there is a coherent attempt, effort to solve the problem and this has been going on,” Lacierda insisted.

“Do not jump the gun on the intelligence groups. They are all studying the matter. Our security forces are on top of the situation. If ever there are no responses of it (being felt as yet) this is because the information are still being validated… So there is no truth to assertions that the government does not take these information seriously,” Lacierda added.

It was not the first time that Aquino was warned of the possibility of not completing his six-year term.

Earlier, Catholic Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez (photo at left) said chances are high that Aquino will not finish his term, if he continues to listen only to two of his Cabinet members, and refuses to heed the voice of the people.

Gutierrez said Aquino needs management (skills) and human relations to deal with the series of problems facing his administration.

The prelate cited that all of his seven executive orders are being challenged in court and by the time he reaches his 100th EO, he may no longer be in Malacañang, and no longer president.

“Every executive order is being questioned because they are not reflective of the feelings and aspirations for many people.

“Honesty alone will not save him (Aquino) as he has lost the people’s trust and confidence and if it continues he will be losing all the goodwill. He must consult people and ask those who know and not only his two trusted Cabinet officials,” the bishop said.

“If he is really sincere in his statement that the people are his boss, then he should consult the people who have the the wide contact with the masses, such as the priests,” he said.

“The tuwid na landas (straght path) is now liko liko na (going wayward) and slowly his popularity is dipping,” he said.

Gutierrez said Noynoy started his presidency with a big mandate and he had people power but that he is not utilizing this and as such, there will be continued erosion and Aquino will not last his six-year term.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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