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Thursday, October 16, 2014

‘Bosses’ have spoken twice: No more!


ON DISTANT SHORE
By Val G. Abelgas
Anti-Charter-Change-rallyGood news appeared to have emerged from the Bali Democratic Forum in Indonesia where President Aquino was reported to have abandoned any possibility of staying beyond his six-year term that ends in 2016.
“Aquino abandons term extension bid,” said the banner story of Manila Bulletin last week. I read into the news but nowhere did I find a quote from Aquino that says he was categorically abandoning hopes of a second term. I found a copy of the speech and still found nothing about term extension.
Obviously, the writer interpreted the speech wrongly, because right after his speech, Aquino told Malacanang reporters who accompanied him in the Bali forum that Filipinos may yet change their mind and agree to amend the Constitution so he can run again as president.
The Bulletin banner was a clear case of quoting something out of context. In the speech, Aquino was talking of a leader’s temptation to consider an authoritarian method when he said that he had reflected on the idea, but the lack of consent from his bosses prompted him to abandon any such thoughts. He was not referring to proposals of amending the Constitution to allow him to run for a second term.
“As leaders, all of us here have our share of frustrations, borne of the many factors that sometimes hinder the realization of our vision. This breeds the temptation to consider an authoritarian method, as this might promise immediate gains,” Aquino said.
“Sitting down and reflecting on this idea, however, we realize that with the lack of consensus and consent from the people, such a mode which offers quick and short-term gains, may be detrimental to society in the long run,” the President said.
Obviously, Aquino was not at all referring to the second term plan because right after saying that, he told a press conference he was still hoping to get the nod of the people.
“There is still the 18 percent undecided, but what if I get about 13 percent (in favor of term extension)? That means an absolute majority. And that’s not hard to get,” Aquino told the reporters.
He was referring to the results of the latest Pulse Asia survey showing 62 percent of Filipinos against changing some provisions in the Constitution to remove term limits for officials and allow him to seek the presidency in 2016. The same poll showed that 38 percent of the respondents were in favor of political Charter change and 18 percent were undecided.
Evidently, Aquino is still intent on a second term despite the survey results and despite the near improbability of amending the Constitution and getting the people to approve the changes in a plebiscite in the remaining 18 years before the 2016 presidential elections. Why would he bother calculating the possibilities if he weren’t?
Hopefully, the latest survey results released by Pulse Asia would finally awaken him to the reality that his “bosses,” the people,” no longer wanted him to continue ruling after June 30, 2016 even if the Constitution were amended.
The survey, released on Monday, showed that only three in 10 Filipinos believe that President Benigno Aquino III has delivered on his promise of “daang matuwid” (straight path) brand of governance. The nationwide survey, conducted from September 8-15, revealed that only 29 percent of the 1,200 adult respondents believe that Aquino was able to fulfill his promise.
On the other hand, 36 percent of the respondents said that he has failed to carry out “daang matuwid.” The survey also revealed that 34 percent of survey participants were undecided, which could probably be interpreted more towards “no” rather than “yes.”
One would think this time, Malacanang would finally listen to the “bosses.” But no, it rejected the survey and said the results were “wrong”!
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda instead asked why Pulse Asia conducted such a survey only now. “That is not correct,” Lacierda said in a press briefing. “Perhaps you should ask the people from Pulse Asia. The ‘tuwid na daan’ has been an ongoing campaign for the past four years. Why is it that they conducted the survey only now?”
Would it matter if the people believed one or two years ago that Aquino fulfilled his promise of curbing corruption and following the straight path? The point is the people now believe that Aquino failed to fulfill his promise. In fact, his many promises.
How many more surveys before Aquino and his cohorts finally come to the realization that the people had enough of his administration’s hypocrisy and lack of vision?
(valabelgas@aol.com)

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