MANILA TIMES: PART 1 --THE REAL SCORE OF BENIGNO AQUINO'S PRESIDENCY  

AUGUST 18 --- COLUMN READER'S RESPONSE --vg says: August 13, 2014 at 8:47 am: "First of three parts: Yes. I admit I voted for Aquino and now I admit it was a big mistake. I thought he was honest and he was experienced. But it did bother me that he never had any organization management experience. I did buy into the straight path line and thought he could help get rid of the corruption. Slowly at first I began to see the incompetence but I always balanced this with his honesty and his reliance on his help. But the half-truths and lies came more and more. Excuses for bending and breaking the systems and the laws were explained as necessary because it was good for Filpinos. I now realize that his only management skill is that of bribing to get his way. It also dawned on me that his promise of FOI, is meant as not FOI for him, but passed so that the next President will have to open up to the public. He cannot stand FOI for him because he would have to tell the truth and explain things honestly.

So yes my assessment of him has changed. He is honest in not stealing money from government for himself. But he is dishonest in enabling others to feast upon the people’s money. He has tried to make stealing money legal. There is no plan to make the Philippines a better place. I cannot wait to get to 2016 and see him leave."— Online comment from ‘vg’ to my August 13 column

It took four years, three unconstitutional rulings (against RH, PDAF and DAP), two unprecedented anomalies of P200 billion each (the last two acronyms), and a single presidential term which now supposedly isn’t enough. But gradually, erstwhile supporters of President Benigno Aquino 3rd like “vg” are beginning to see him as he really is.

Those belatedly losing their yellow streaks need not feel ashamed. It was understandable for Filipinos weary of corruption scandals in the past decade to desperately seek a savior and wishfully think that they had found him. Moreover, leading public figures and media extolled Aquino’s clean if unremarkable reputation during the 2010 election campaign and in his years as president. If these seasoned observers of national affairs could get things wrong, so much more would ordinary Filipinos, especially those relying on the largely pro-Aquino mainstream media. In major newpapers and broadcast networks, his purported achievements get headline billing. Aquino was praised for the economy’s rebound, although it was already a regional growth leader since 2007, even managing to grow in 2009 while most countries sank in recession. Arroyo-era fiscal reforms heralded the Philippines’ current surge and set the stage for credit rating upgrades. Meanwhile, Aquino’s claims of near self-sufficiency in rice and declining crime would later prove illusory, if not distorted.

Presidential foibles and failings, on the other hand, while still reported, were quickly forgotten. When Aquino stopped talking up the disappointing public-private partnership program, so did media. It deplored his repeated defense of close associates caught up in anomalies, then quickly forgot them. * READ MORE + 15 RESPONSES FROM READERS

(ALSO) By Ricardo Saludo, The Real Score PART 2: Aquino’s unprecedented pork 

Aquino-era smuggling, estimated at $19 billion a year based on IMF trade data, was not the only unprecedented scam abetted by this administration. Also at record levels and mostly uninvestigated by the government were the Priority Development Assistance Fund and the Disbursement Acceleration Program. Both ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, PDAF and DAP under Aquino have yet to be audited and probed with the same minute detail as seen in the Commission on Audit’s Special Audit Report on PDAF, published last year, which covered one-third of the 2007-09 pork barrel. The COA report picked apart P8 billion of the P29 billion in 2007-09 pork, detailing disbursements mainly for three opposition stalwarts, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Bong Revilla. But two-thirds of the sum or P21 billion was not covered by the special audit—most of the outlay going to projects of Aquino allies. Reason: despite repeated COA requests, the Department of Budget and Management under DAP architect Florencio Abad did not provide records on those outlays.

PNoy tripled PDAF and tried to save it --Also spared special audits was PDAF from 2010 to 2012, totaling P62 billion—more than twice the 2007-09 amount. Indeed, under the National Expenditure Plans for the last three years, crafted by Budget Secretary Abad, pork barrel shot up to about P24 billion a year, from P9 billion average in then-President Gloria Arroyo’s last four budgets. Thus, while PDAF disbursements to opposition lawmakers got the fine-toothed comb treatment, COA Chairman Grace Pulido Tan said that all the other pork, including two-thirds of the 2007-09 outlays and all the Aquino-era disbursements, would be audited the usual way at the agency level. For that largesse there has been no tally of what each legislator got, unlike the Special Audit Report used against the accused senators.

Thus, PDAF for Aquino allies—not to mention pork barrel for Aquino himself when he was senator in 2007-10—would not be the subject of a special audit. Many now wonder if all those monies—totaling more than P100 billion up to last year—would ever yield plunder cases like those for which Enrile, Estrada and Revilla are detained without bail.
The President’s defenders credit him with PDAF’s demise and the probe and prosecution of suspect legislators. In fact, he opposed pork’s dissolution until massive protests last August forced him to recast it while still keeping it in the 2014 budget. It disappeared only after the Supreme Court ruled PDAF unconstitutional last November.
In sum, not only did Aquino nearly triple PDAF to the highest ever in history, despite its widely known abuses. He also tried to continue it in a different guise until the High Court scrapped it. And he and his allies have yet to be held accountable for the mammoth pork they got. That definitely is not Tuwid na Daan, but the administration’s protection of Aquino’s KKK clique in Congress...CONTINUE READING, FROM * ESCAPING ACCOUNTABILITY........

(ALSO) Aquino’s real score Last of 3 parts: The poor are not better off 

Last of three parts: Despite the appalling amounts of smuggling and misappapriation cited
earlier in this article, if Filipinos are doing fine, then maybe the scams are not so bad. Is the nation, especially the poor, better off under Aquino? Here’s some data from the United Nations’ Human Development Reports for 2013 and 2014. In the decade to 2010, mostly under then-President Gloria Arroyo, the country’s Human Development Index (HDI) improved by an average of 0.61 percent a year, as cited in the 2013 report. That’s up from 0.49 in 1990-2000 and 0.35 in 1980-90. Incorporating the first two full years under President Benigno Aquino 3rd, when gross domestic product returned to the 6-7 percent annual growth before the 2008-09 global slump, the HDI should have improved even faster. It didn’t. Average increase slowed to 0.58 percent a year for 2000-12 after the Aquino years of 2011-12 were averaged with the Arroyo decade. Adding 2013 data, the annual average HDI increase for 2000-13 further slowed to 0.49 percent in the Human Development Report 2014, though it might have been computed differently.

Self-rated poverty is worse --Other data support the UN numbers. Every quarter Social Weather Stations asks respondents if their families are poor. Under Arroyo, this self-rated poverty (SRP) fell from 62 percent of families in 2001, her first year, to 49 percent in 2009, when global recession cut Philippine GDP growth to barely one percent, and 48 percent in 2010. Under Aquino, the 48 percent average SRP rate he inherited climbed to 52 percent in the past two years, despite Asia-pacing GDP growth. In the first two quarters of this year, the percentage of households that said they were poor worsened further to 53 percent in January-March and 55 percent in April-June. Government data as of last month also showed limited improvement in poverty. Incidence moderated somewhat to 25.2 percent of families in 2012, from 26.3 percent in the global-recession year of 2009. There are about 22 million families in the country. The poorest sectors, fisherfolk and farmers, aren’t much better off. Poverty among fishermen’s families declined slightly to 39.2 percent in 2012, from 41.2 percent three years before. Farmers’ lives improved even less: the poor among their households had been stuck at 38 percent since 2006, as reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority. Even more distressing, poverty incidence in the poorest region worsened under Aquino. After dipping in 2009 to 42 percent in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, ARMM poverty rose to 46.9 percent, even with hefty development funds for the Aquino-appointed regional governor.* CONTINUE READING...


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

PART 1: The real score of Benigno Aquino’s presidency


By Ricardo Saludo


MANILA, AUGUST 25, 2014 (MANILA TIMES) by RICARDO SALUDO - First of three parts: COLUMN READER'S RESPONSE --vg says: August 13, 2014 at 8:47 am: "Yes. I admit I voted for Aquino and now I admit it was a big mistake. I thought he was honest and he was experienced. But it did bother me that he never had any organization management experience. I did buy into the straight path line and thought he could help get rid of the corruption.

Slowly at first I began to see the incompetence but I always balanced this with his honesty and his reliance on his help. But the half-truths and lies came more and more. Excuses for bending and breaking the systems and the laws were explained as necessary because it was good for Filipinos. I now realize that his only management skill is that of bribing to get his way.

It also dawned on me that his promise of FOI, is meant as not FOI for him, but passed so that the next President will have to open up to the public. He cannot stand FOI for him because he would have to tell the truth and explain things honestly.

So yes my assessment of him has changed. He is honest in not stealing money from government for himself. But he is dishonest in enabling others to feast upon the people’s money. He has tried to make stealing money legal. There is no plan to make the Philippines a better place. I cannot wait to get to 2016 and see him leave. --Online comment from ‘vg’ to my August 13 column

It took four years, three unconstitutional rulings (against RH, PDAF and DAP), two unprecedented anomalies of P200 billion each (the last two acronyms), and a single presidential term which now supposedly isn’t enough. But gradually, erstwhile supporters of President Benigno Aquino 3rd like “vg” are beginning to see him as he really is.

Those belatedly losing their yellow streaks need not feel ashamed. It was understandable for Filipinos weary of corruption scandals in the past decade to desperately seek a savior and wishfully think that they had found him.

Moreover, leading public figures and media extolled Aquino’s clean if unremarkable reputation during the 2010 election campaign and in his years as president. If these seasoned observers of national affairs could get things wrong, so much more would ordinary Filipinos, especially those relying on the largely pro-Aquino mainstream media.

In major newpapers and broadcast networks, his purported achievements get headline billing. Aquino was praised for the economy’s rebound, although it was already a regional growth leader since 2007, even managing to grow in 2009 while most countries sank in recession.

Arroyo-era fiscal reforms heralded the Philippines’ current surge and set the stage for credit rating upgrades. Meanwhile, Aquino’s claims of near self-sufficiency in rice and declining crime would later prove illusory, if not distorted.

Presidential foibles and failings, on the other hand, while still reported, were quickly forgotten. When Aquino stopped talking up the disappointing public-private partnership program, so did media. It deplored his repeated defense of close associates caught up in anomalies, then quickly forgot them.

* Mainstream media’s fawning praise of the Aquino regime and downplaying of its flaws, would seem disturbingly familiar to those who recall the Marcos dictatorship.

But even in the time of Macoy, as the strongman was nicknamed, independent media managed to expose the truth.

So have they in this time of PNoy. Here’s a slice of that largely hidden story, which hopefully will be shared with more Filipinos.

The jueteng scourge

Based on his winning campaign slogan, “If No One Is Corrupt, No One Would Be Poor,” Aquino’s paramount strategy is to reduce poverty by eradicating corruption. He has done neither, as the undeniable facts in this article show.

Among the biggest sources of sleaze in the country are jueteng, smuggling, and kickbacks.

In Aquino’s first month in office, anti-jueteng crusader Pangasinan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz named then-Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno, the President’s shooting buddy, as “ultimate recipient” of bribes from operators of the illegal numbers game, along with then-Philippine National Police Chief Jesus Versoza.

Without investigation Aquino dismissed the accusation — the first time Cruz publicly named top officials allegedly on the jueteng take.

The President did order then-Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, who wiped out jueteng in Naga as mayor, to crack down on the vice. But Aquino kept the PNP — the main weapon against jueteng — under his control through Puno, not Robredo.

Evidently, the President never really wanted to shut down one of the biggest sources of political funds.

The contraband flood

Two other staples of political war chests are smuggling and kickbacks, including pork barrel.

It’s an age-old practice that ruling elites get their people appointed to revenue agencies, generating hefty amounts every day. And under Aquino, the lucrative smuggling trade surged to unprecedented levels.

Contraband is estimated by comparing exports to the Philippines as reported by its trading partners, with the total imports tabulated by the Bureau of Customs (BoC).

The difference between the two figures is deemed to be the value of shipments not recorded or properly assessed to evade taxes and duties. In a word, smuggled.

For 2011 and 2012, based on data tabulated annually by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the discrepancy between exports to the Philippines reported by other countries, and total shipments tallied by BoC averaged $19 billion a year — more than six times the $3 billion annual figure in the Estrada and Arroyo governments.

If the uncollected levies were just the 12 percent value added tax and did not include hefty luxury duties, $19 billion in smuggling deprived state coffers of $2.28 billion or about P100 billion a year under Aquino.

No wonder his 2013 State of the Nation Address (SONA), reporting on his first couple of years in office, blamed BoC for losing P200 billion in revenues. The SONA also lamented the inflow of guns and narcotics.

Those losses would have been much reduced if Aquino had named as BoC head the respected former customs and internal revenue commissioner Guillermo Parayno, one of the two men the President interviewed for the Customs post.

Parayno’s leadership and computerization reforms made BoC one of the least corrupt agencies in the 1990s, and no less than the IMF hired him as consultant on customs reform.

But like Robredo, Parayno was denied the job of stamping out another big source of political largesse.

And just as smuggling trebled under Aquino, so did pork barrel, our topic for Wednesday.

(The next part on Wednesday will discuss pork barrel and DAP.)

15 Responses to The real score of Benigno Aquino’s presidency

westphilippines says:
August 18, 2014 at 1:44 pm

I did not vote for PeNoy in 2010. I believe he has good intentions and he does things in good faith for he depends a lot of his decisions from his appointees. He has appointed a lot of intelligent people but mostly lacks the necessary competence. And with an inexperienced person at the helm of our government, what do we expect? A miracle! Miracle doesn’t just happen, it happens for a purpose! PeNoy is a changed man already: His 4 years in office made him believe that he is doing great, an illusion that he can not distinguish between reality! All negatives is treated as a complaint from those affected by his actions believing he is doing right. Maybe, in most instances, his actions are almost right, not wrong, but they are not right either. He can not reconcile his “good intentions and actions in good faith” to be “unconstitutional”. He has a problem of definition!
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Laguatanern says:
August 18, 2014 at 11:41 am

With Abnoy surrounded with overweight SWINES – Drilon, Belmonte, Abad, and other corrupt honchos in his administration, I feel there is no way this country will ever be great again (?). This country had never been great before. Palubog na palubog na tayo. Some said Abnoy is honest – that is an illusion.
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Schadenfreude says:
August 18, 2014 at 10:07 am

the worse this administration gets the better is is for the electorate.

sure a lot will go hungry, die or otherwise suffer but it will serve as a excellent object lesson for the ignorant electorate that mindlessly fell for the propaganda spewed out by the Inquirer and ABS CBN (among others).

like children given a complicated but dangerous toy, they promptly misused their right to suffrage to shoot themselves in the head. maybe now the distress that they feel will actually make them start making and intelligent vote.

but whom am I kidding, this is the Philippines right, where spin counts more than substance, where information fed by TV is swallowed hook, line and sinker and where critical thinking is as rare as an honest politician.
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Red says:
August 18, 2014 at 9:36 am

Jueteng still exist and not a single day in the incumbency of PeNoy Aquino’s administration did it stop. In Pampanga where the Governor is the wife, and the son is the vice governor of the Jueteng King.And all the local officials down to the barangay level has a take. The military and the media obviously are getting some payola too. Lantaran ang jueteng sa pampanga. Pati si Bishop Oscar napatigil nila. Do you think PeNoy dont know these and is not getting some payoya too from jueteng?
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dustin says:
August 18, 2014 at 8:24 am

So most people thought pnoy was the wrong man for the job. Who do they think was the right man for the job. You see thats the big problem in this country. How do you know who is honest & who is dishonest. I remember what one person said on here that when politicians tell us things it should always be done under oath then if they are lying it can be held against them.
So we have an election coming up in 2016, who is best to be president of this country & why. Im a foreigner living here & i want whats best for the country.
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Caviteno says:
August 18, 2014 at 7:51 am

I never voted for Abnoy because I knew he is not qualified to run the country like her late mother. I want to call all emotional voters who voted for Abnoy to wake up and see what great mistake you have made and see what really his true color is. I would assume that you like him beause you like Kris, and all of you are Kris’s fans. Come on, Aminin. Kawawang Pinas talaga.
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Marcospolo says:
August 18, 2014 at 6:17 am

Maaring hindi naging masama si noynoy,kung hindi siya napasama sa mga tulisan,katulad nina abad,drilon,roxas at mga demonyitang mga ambisyosang sina delima,morales at coa-tan! Ang sakit na autism,ang alam niya kapagbinobola siya ng inaakala niya mga kaibigan, totoong may nagmamahal sa kanya, kaya ang mga tulisan ay kayang kaya siyang paikutin!!nakakita siya ng mga kaibigan naghulog sa kanya sa kumunoy habang gumagalaw at sumusunod siya sa mga ito,lalo lamang siya nababaon .isa lamang ang sulution sa nangyayari sa kaya,tanggalin niyang lahat ang mga linta,yamang wala namang mabuti nagawa ang mga ito,100%kung hindi man magiging payapa ang magiging pagtanggap ng tao sa kanya at hayaan niyang ang lahat maging ang kaalyado niya ay maimbestigahahan,baka dumating ang panahon magingmabuti ang mga taong naapi niya at mapatawad siya sa kasalanang hindi siya ang nagplano!!
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Joseph Padre says:
August 18, 2014 at 5:16 am

PRESIDENT AQUINO IS NOT ONLY INCOMPETENT. (LOOK AT HOW HE MANAGED THE LUNETA HOSTAGE SITUATION WHEN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SITUATION HE WENT TO THE LOCATION OF THE BUS CARRYING THE HOSTAGES ALL SMILES?) HE IS ALSO STUPID AND ARROGANT BY WANTING TO HAVE THE SUPREME COURT UNDER HIS OFFICE CONTROL. WHILE THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES LOVE THE AQUINOS FOR THEIR DEMOCRATIC IDEALS. HE DOES NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT UNSCONSTITUTIONAL ACTUALLY MEANS. HE WANTS SOMEONE TO REFEREE HIS DISPUTE WITH THE SUPREME COURT SO THAT HE COULD CONTINUE WHATEVER HE IS DOING WITH THE P150 BILLION DAP FUNDS THAT WERE DECLARED ILLEGAL BY THE SUPREME COURT. NOW HE WANTS THE CONSTITUTION TO BE CHANGE TO ALLOW HIM TO RUN FOR ANOTHER TERM. SO HE WANTS TO CHANGE THE CONSTITUTION CHANGED TO BE ALLOWED TO DO WHATEVER HE PLEASES.
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Rene Bas says:
August 18, 2014 at 7:24 am

From the Online Editor — Mr. Joseph Padre, please follow the rule that comments in ALL CAPS will not be published.
Thank you, Sir.

Henry says:
August 18, 2014 at 5:13 am

Thanks much for such a fundamental assessment of Aquino’s dictatorial regime. He proved to be unreliable, vindictive, stubborn, cannot take criticisms, juvenile, inexperience leader, double faced (not standard, since he does nit one), changeable mind, untrustworthy, etc. Yes, I used to support him. But when he showed some kind of autistic behaviors, I lost my confidence in him.

Thanks again,
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Samuel Santos says:
August 18, 2014 at 3:54 am

I did not vote for PNoy, and I am full of regrets he won!?
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Diane says:
August 18, 2014 at 1:30 am

Naku sa interview kay Dean Mel Sta Maria ni Pnot, compare na naman sa former admin. So insecured president, for 4 years hanggang ngayon konting ulan baha, mas dumami ang mahirap ay mas maraming corrupt sa mga allies niya. Reply

allen says:
August 18, 2014 at 12:58 am

wag na tayong magtaka like his mother . tita cory anu ba ginawa nya, im a die hard cory kya nga original member ako ng NAMFREL volunteer nung 1986 precy election,but after that ano ginawa puro paninisi sa mga x precy,kya natapos ang term nya,walang nagawa .sayang ang diwa ng edsa
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Vik says:
August 18, 2014 at 12:35 am

“— Online comment from ‘vg’ to my August 13 column”

Poor vg. You got duped, taken for a ride. And as he took you on that momentary fleeting ferris wheel ride back in 2010, he lulled you with his “kung walang korap, walang mahirap” mantra pa-effect – only to realized later on – to your horror – his true colors. In truth, your vote was sodomized – by none other than a mere speech prop and presidency doctrine of Pa Tuwad na Daan. Your vote went for naught. And now he’s asking for your hand – for a last dance of Cha-Cha. I am very PROUD to say to to high heavens I NEVER voted for this dude, NEVER, EVER Voted for him as a Congressman representative of Tarlac, let alone a Senator, or a National Leader. I don’t cast my vote for mere Incompetency .
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nitz says:
August 17, 2014 at 11:58 pm

Enough of this honest cuteness of pnoy bcoz he is not. He is a liar in the eyes of the people, coloma even admitted that you dont take everything he says seriously. Abad and pnoy actions became one-if someone will recognize the word common sense and liability.

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The Real Score PART 2: Aquino’s unprecedented pork  by RICARDO SALUDO  August 19, 2014 10:59 pm MANILA TIMES


Ricardo L. Saludo, a journalist, is the former chairperson of the Philippine Civil Service Commission. Under his term as chairperson, the SSL-3 or the third Salary Standardization Law was passed. Wikipedia Education: Ateneo de Manila University, University of London

Second of three parts: Aquino-era smuggling, estimated at $19 billion a year based on IMF trade data, was not the only unprecedented scam abetted by this administration. Also at record levels and mostly uninvestigated by the government were the Priority Development Assistance Fund and the Disbursement Acceleration Program.

Both ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, PDAF and DAP under Aquino have yet to be audited and probed with the same minute detail as seen in the Commission on Audit’s Special Audit Report on PDAF, published last year, which covered one-third of the 2007-09 pork barrel.

The COA report picked apart P8 billion of the P29 billion in 2007-09 pork, detailing disbursements mainly for three opposition stalwarts, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Bong Revilla. But two-thirds of the sum or P21 billion was not covered by the special audit—most of the outlay going to projects of Aquino allies.

Reason: despite repeated COA requests, the Department of Budget and Management under DAP architect Florencio Abad did not provide records on those outlays.

PNoy tripled PDAF and tried to save it

Also spared special audits was PDAF from 2010 to 2012, totaling P62 billion—more than twice the 2007-09 amount. Indeed, under the National Expenditure Plans for the last three years, crafted by Budget Secretary Abad, pork barrel shot up to about P24 billion a year, from P9 billion average in then-President Gloria Arroyo’s last four budgets.

Thus, while PDAF disbursements to opposition lawmakers got the fine-toothed comb treatment, COA Chairman Grace Pulido Tan said that all the other pork, including two-thirds of the 2007-09 outlays and all the Aquino-era disbursements, would be audited the usual way at the agency level. For that largesse there has been no tally of what each legislator got, unlike the Special Audit Report used against the accused senators.

Thus, PDAF for Aquino allies—not to mention pork barrel for Aquino himself when he was senator in 2007-10—would not be the subject of a special audit. Many now wonder if all those monies—totalling more than P100 billion up to last year—would ever yield plunder cases like those for which Enrile, Estrada and Revilla are detained without bail.

The President’s defenders credit him with PDAF’s demise and the probe and prosecution of suspect legislators. In fact, he opposed pork’s dissolution until massive protests last August forced him to recast it while still keeping it in the 2014 budget. It disappeared only after the Supreme Court ruled PDAF unconstitutional last November.

In sum, not only did Aquino nearly triple PDAF to the highest ever in history, despite its widely known abuses. He also tried to continue it in a different guise until the High Court scrapped it.

And he and his allies have yet to be held accountable for the mammoth pork they got. That definitely is not Tuwid na Daan, but the administration’s protection of Aquino’s KKK clique in Congress.

* Escaping accountability

Irregularities in the P100-billion mountain of pork look set to be swept under the rug, judging by actions and statements of the Department of Justice, the Ombudsman, and COA — Aquino’s anti-PDAF task force.

Along with the audit agency’s decision not to do another special report on pork, DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima has been giving excuse after excuse for failing to charge more lawmakers after the three opposition senators.

Lately, she affirmed the DOJ-supervised National Bureau of Investigation’s finding that signatures of Aquino ally and vocational education head Joel Villanueva were forged in the former congressman’s pork papers. By contrast, the Office of the Ombudsman said Revilla and Estrada must prove their claims of falsified PDAF signatures.

Notably, the OMB has yet to charge Aquino-allied congressmen for the P728-million fertilizer scam of 2004, despite voluminous documents and testimonies implicating them for years. If that happened to a decade-old anomaly probed long ago by both the Senate and the Ombudsman, it doesn’t hold out much hope that administration lawmakers would be brought to court over PDAF and DAP.

The accountability picture is even more murky with the Disbursement Acceleration Program. Variously estimated at P144 billion to P170 billion, DAP was not detailed and disseminated like the General Appropriations Acts of 2011, 2012 and 2013, whose funds it hijacked and, as the Supreme Court found, “allocated to DAPs [programs and projects] that were not covered by any appropriations in the pertinent GAAs.”

No one but DAP creators Aquino and Abad know its full and detailed extent.

At Senator Nancy Binay’s prodding, Abad promised to submit records of the program to the Senate, but has yet to do so weeks after the hearing.

Senators Binay and Grace Poe also wanted him to account for not just the P147 billion in listed DAP projects, but another P90 billion in “savings” declared by the government since 2010, but not included in DAP.

However, Congress itself is not pressing Aquino and Abad to account for the P247 billion in purported “savings” realigned to items different from the original budgeted outlays. Instead, it is pressuring the Supreme Court for declaring DAP unconstitutional.

And if Aquino has his way, the legislature as a constituent assembly may yet propose constitutional amendments weakening the Judiciary’s power of review, and possibly removing the single-term limit on the President.

Thus, Congress is working to spare the DAP perpetrators and recipients from being held accountable for as much as P237 billion in realigned public funds. It is not demanding a full and public DAP accounting. It is hitting back at the Supreme Court for defending its power of the purse by voiding the illegal transfer of some P150 billion.

And lawmakers seem set to enact charter changes that would make itself and the President less accountable to the nation by clipping the power of judicial review.

And we haven’t even mentioned next year’s draft budget said to contain half a trillion pesos in appropriations for the President to allocate, possibly for 2016 electioneering.P200 billion in smuggling losses counted by Aquino himself.

P100 billion in unaudited pork barrel. Up to P237 billion in realigned funds still unaccounted for. Cha-cha to reduce presidential and congressional accountability—nd add more years of Aquino.

With those mind-boggling numbers, this presidency may turn out to be the biggest mistake Filipino voters ever made. And the poor are paying for it. We remember them on Friday.

(The first part was published on Monday; the last will run on Friday.)

7 Responses to The Real Score: Aquino’s unprecedented pork

Lemor says:
August 20, 2014 at 4:10 pm
They want one more term to continue the reforms, what reform are they talking about?
Reply

rma says:
August 20, 2014 at 8:45 am
I took note of the phrase, “this presidency may turn out to be the biggest mistake Filipino voters ever made”. This is rather permissive. It was and is the biggest mistake. I did not vote for this fellow on account of the published psychological reports on his person, and because of the people around him in 2010. Some say, this fellow is intelligent (probably, but how about his characterization as a “C” student), vindictive (a low adversarial quotient threshold?) and has a long memory on his critics or nemesis ( a high emotional quotient threshold?). So, was it a mistake, a fatal error? Yes, it was, and it is.
Reply

Carlo L. Adan says:
August 20, 2014 at 7:42 am
I’m waiting for all the three parts of this column to be completed, sir. I’ll keep them as part of my permanent reference for discussions on the Aquino Administration. Thank you, Mr. Saludo.
Reply

vg says:
August 20, 2014 at 6:37 am
The current system of attacking enemies and protecting friends is the worse form of corruption. We need an honest prosecution to go after all of those who have stolen our money and/or just accepted bribes. The bribers must also be jailed.
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Maddflo says:
August 20, 2014 at 5:54 am
It’s unfair for Noynoy to drag it’s feet when it comes to the investigation of his allies involved in the pork scam. In light of this, we will not be surprised later when upon the election of the opposition’s candidate to the presidential election, we are faced with a possibility of giving presidential pardon to these jailed opposition senators. Baka ang mangyari niyan ay sasabihin ng bagong halal na presidente ay weather weather lang yan at mawawala na talaga ang hustisya sa ating bayan.
Reply

Henry says:
August 20, 2014 at 4:19 am
Scary presidency. Unbelievable indeed! Let’s have accountability and transparency from PNoy and A-bad!
Reply

Jo says:
August 20, 2014 at 4:15 am
This whole PDAF and PDAP mess stinks to high heavens!! Get Aquino out and put him in jail. Let him rot in it, OR
Aquino, Abad and most senators and congressmen, Napoles,etc. involved in these abuses ought to be facing the FIRING SQUAD.
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Aquino’s real score: The poor are not better off August 21, 2014 11:17 pm


by RICARDO SALUDO

Last of three parts: Despite the appalling amounts of smuggling and misappapriation cited earlier in this article, if Filipinos are doing fine, then maybe the scams are not so bad. Is the nation, especially the poor, better off under Aquino?

Here’s some data from the United Nations’ Human Development Reports for 2013 and 2014. In the decade to 2010, mostly under then-President Gloria Arroyo, the country’s Human Development Index (HDI) improved by an average of 0.61 percent a year, as cited in the 2013 report. That’s up from 0.49 in 1990-2000 and 0.35 in 1980-90.

Incorporating the first two full years under President Benigno Aquino 3rd, when gross domestic product returned to the 6-7 percent annual growth before the 2008-09 global slump, the HDI should have improved even faster.

It didn’t. Average increase slowed to 0.58 percent a year for 2000-12 after the Aquino years of 2011-12 were averaged with the Arroyo decade. Adding 2013 data, the annual average HDI increase for 2000-13 further slowed to 0.49 percent in the Human Development Report 2014, though it might have been computed differently.

Self-rated poverty is worse

Other data support the UN numbers. Every quarter Social Weather Stations asks respondents if their families are poor. Under Arroyo, this self-rated poverty (SRP) fell from 62 percent of families in 2001, her first year, to 49 percent in 2009, when global recession cut Philippine GDP growth to barely one percent, and 48 percent in 2010.

Under Aquino, the 48 percent average SRP rate he inherited climbed to 52 percent in the past two years, despite Asia-pacing GDP growth. In the first two quarters of this year, the percentage of households that said they were poor worsened further to 53 percent in January-March and 55 percent in April-June.

Government data as of last month also showed limited improvement in poverty. Incidence moderated somewhat to 25.2 percent of families in 2012, from 26.3 percent in the global-recession year of 2009. There are about 22 million families in the country.

The poorest sectors, fisherfolk and farmers, aren’t much better off. Poverty among fishermen’s families declined slightly to 39.2 percent in 2012, from 41.2 percent three years before. Farmers’ lives improved even less: the poor among their households had been stuck at 38 percent since 2006, as reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Even more distressing, poverty incidence in the poorest region worsened under Aquino. After dipping in 2009 to 42 percent in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, ARMM poverty rose to 46.9 percent, even with hefty development funds for the Aquino-appointed regional governor.

* Not enough to eat


AUGUST 2013: The number of Filipino families who experienced having nothing to eat at least once during the second quarter of the year rose by one million, according to a recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey. COURTESY OF PHILSTAR.

SWS also measured the food-poverty rate, the percentage of families who do not have enough money to buy the food they need. With her comprehensive Accelerated Hunger Mitigation Program targeting a wide range of factors behind the scourge, Arroyo reduced food-poor households from 53 percent average in 2001 to 36 percent in 2010.

How did Aquino do with strong economic expansion and the conditional cash transfer stipend for millions of poor families, exceeding P40 billion a year since 2012? Food-poor households increased from an average of 36 percent of Filipino families in 2010 to 41 percent in 2012 and 39 percent last year. For the first half of this year, self-rated food poverty averaged 40 percent, no doubt affected by soaring rice and other food prices.

SWS hunger data affirms the lack of improvement in food poverty. The annual average ratio of all families who involuntarily missed at least one meal in the past three months rose from 19.1 percent in 2009 and 2010, to 19.9 percent in 2011 and 2012. It dipped to 19.5 percent average last year, and further to 16.3 percent last quarter. Let’s hope it keeps improving despite still-high food costs and the typhoon season.

Prices and jobs are the key

Two factors are key to alleviating poverty: inflation and jobs. If prices climb, thousands or millions of Filipinos fall below the poverty line and can no longer afford basic needs. After staying below 4 percent in the past two years, inflation has neared 5 percent, prompting the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to raise interest rates to curb it.

The BSP’s rate hikes, however, won’t do much for the current price spiral in edibles burdening ordinary Filipinos, especially the poor. What could help is the increased rice imports announced by President Aquino last month.

Authorized shipments for this year total 2.3 million tons, the same volume needed in 2010, after the Ondoy and Pepeng megafloods wiped out most of the main 2009 crop.

Rice smuggling is the other problem. Due to cheap imports, local farmers suffer reduced incomes and crop prices, driving tens of thousands to penury and leading many to cut cultivation of edibles undercut by smuggled produce.

Now, with shipments constrained by the current Manila ports congestion — itself caused by wrongheaded government policies — food prices have spiralled, squeezing the poor, including farmers.

As for jobs, Aquino-era economic growth, business investment, and government spending have not trimmed unemployment much. Like poverty incidence, joblessness is stuck in a range: 6.5-8 percent. It dropped to 7 percent in the latest Labor Force Survey in April. Usually between 18 and 19 percent, underemployment fell to 18.2 percent.

To slash poverty, both figures need to break through their lower limits.

That looks unlikely with higher interest rates restraining growth, and key growth drivers slowing. Government consumption spending rose just 2.0 percent in the first quarter of 2014, a fifth of the 10 percent first quarter 2013 pace. Fixed capital formation, up 7.7 percent, was just one-sixth of the nearly 50 percent surge in January-June 2013.

Bad news for farmers and fisherfolk, agriculture managed just 0.9 percent growth, less than a third of the same quarter a year ago, with fishing, the livelihood of some of the poorest communities, contracting 3 percent.

Construction, a leading employment generator, also hit the skids: only 0.9 percent up against 31.1 percent a year ago.

After botching his Tuwid na Daan anti-corruption drive, thanks to unbridled KKK, trebled PDAF, illegal DAP, and record smuggling, Aquino has also done little for the poor whom he promised to uplift by purportedly fighting graft, but instead unleashing it for his camp.

Now he wants to do this for six more years and with less judicial accountability. No way.

(The first two parts were published on Monday and Wednesday.)

2 Responses to Aquino’s real score: The poor are not better off

vg says:
August 22, 2014 at 1:38 pm
This adminstration is clearly not concerned about the lower segment of our population.
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Vik says:
August 22, 2014 at 12:10 pm
The poor are his mere props as “Bosses”. As to the real benefits for these hapless, impoverished poor coming from the National gov’t of Penoy, that is as murky as the Pasig River banks’ mud at nearby Malacanang. Meanwhile, his cohorts and cahoots pockets are bursting in their seams…for the loot,of course, what else is news in this Land of the Thieves Pilipinas, the only majority Christian nation in this part of all Asia, and an overwhelming HYPOCRITES majority as well….


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