, 2012 (MALAYA) BY NESTOR MATA - JUST a few days before the curtains fell marking the end of 2011, President Noynoy Aquino painted a glowing picture of the state of the nation under his watch after one year and six months in Malacañang.

Aquino recited during aTV-radio interview his "accomplishments" in office, including the "creation of jobs," "savings in billions of pesos," et cetera, and then perorated that the country had "risen from the grave of corruption and poverty" and that "…we have returned the blindfold of Lady Justice."

He was saying in effect that he had delivered to the people his promises of "forthcoming gains" which he boasted he would make in his toast during the Vin d’Honneur at the Palace along the Pasig River last January.

Not a few commentators raised quizzical eyebrows at Noynoy’s claims of what he and his administration had achieved in the brief time of a little over 500 days after he came to power.

"Unbelievable!" one pundit, who has been closely watching Aquino since the start of his presidency. "No, no, it was not ‘Annus Mirabilis’ but ‘Annus Horribilis’!"

Many other political observers shared the same views and opinions that the last six months of 2010 to the twelve months of 2011 of his presidency were really "Anni Luctus" or years of mourning. They noted that he himself removed, not returned, the blindfold of the Lady Justice, classical symbol of fair and equal treatment of the rich and poor alike under the law.

Indeed, instead of addressing the challenges of the uncertain outlook of the global economy, the slow growth of the national economy, the ever rising prices of food, fuel and power, the unemployment problem, the plight of the poorest of the poor, and other innumerable problems of governance, Aquino spent most of his presidential hours in hounding and demonizing his perceived political foes.

Not only that, they pointed out, he failed to act like a hands-on leader in the handling of emergency situations like the infamous massacre of innocent Chinese tourists at the Rizal Park in Manila, the tardiness in extending humanitarian assistance to victims of devastating floods and typhoons, the unprecedented diplomatic faux pas like declaring a word war against China and treating the leader of a secessionist Muslim chief as if he were a "head of state" and other political boo-boos.

But the most horrible thing Aquino did was in flagrantly assaulting not only the person of the Supreme Court’s chief justice but his office and the institution that represents the Judiciary, the third co-equal branch of government as ordained by the Constitution, effectively tearing off the Lady Justice’s blindfold!

As a matter of fact, Aquino’s daily hate campaign goes back to the day he took his presidential oath at the Quirino Grandstand before an associate justice of the Supreme Court instead of Chief Justice Renato Corona, whom he ignored with intentional rudeness and later on even insulted him to his face during a national convention of judges and justices organized by the high tribunal.

Then Aquino dictated the filing of criminal charges by his compliant legal advisers against his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and her arrest after stopping her right to travel, all done speedily and in blatant violation of the Rule of Law.

After that, he shifted his vindictive gaze to Corona, vilifying and plotting the impeachment of the chief justice. At first he didn’t reveal his hand in the insidious plan, but when his political pit bulls succeeded in "railroading" the Articles of Impeachment against his bête noire Corona, he proudly admitted he was the "brains" behind it.

Yes, Aquino did it all, mindless of the constitutional ban against executive interference with the impeachment functions of Congress.

 And he even bragged that "we will prevail because we’re doing what is right, and because we have the best interests of the people in mind."

No wonder, almost all those in the legal establishment, eminent lawyers in the Philippine Constitution Association and the Philippine Bar Association, except those already tainted with the yellow political virus, rose in collective protest against the President’s assaulting and intruding into the constitutionally-mandated powers and functions of the Supreme Court justices and the entire Judiciary.

Just like them, legal savants in academe, and pundits and commentators in the media establishment noted that Noynoy Aquino wasn’t defending democracy, nor preserving the independence of the judicial courts and the highest tribunal, nor upholding the Constitution.

And then, with remarkable courage, they viewed the President’s acts as unconstitutional and warned the people that these were ominous signs of an emergent despot!


Thought of the Day: "Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall. Whoever hates his brother is in darkness; he walks in darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes!" --- St. John


Aquino OKs plan on 'governance' By MADEL R. SABATER January 3, 2012, 6:42pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno S. Aquino III has approved without objection the Good Governance and Anti-Corruption Cluster Plan that aims to address graft and corruption and empower citizens under the Aquino administration.

Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Butch Abad (PHOTO) said the President approved the plan Tuesday after a two-hour deliberation. The DBM heads the Good Governance and Anti-Corruption cluster.

“This is to make sure that the problem of corruption is curbed and public services get to the citizens who require them most,” he said in a press briefing in Malacanang Tuesday afternoon.

Abad said that there are three initiatives under the plan: transparency, accountability, and the engagement of the citizens.

“This requires us to also look into the necessary legislation and policy that need to be reviewed, strengthen enforcement of laws and promote the digitization and innovation of government operations and undertake aggressive communication campaigns,” he said.

Under transparency, Abad said these include the disclosure of budget information among all 24 departments within the Executive branch and all local government units by the end of 2012; electronic bidding system of government and a single portal for government information.

For anti-corruption, these include a speedy resolution of corruption cases, especially cases of grand corruption.

“We will push for the whistleblower protection law and strengthening of witness protection program,” Abad said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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