Sunday, March 1, 2015

I’d rather wait for May 2016

By Val G. Abelgas
EDSA-2015THERE are many reasons for people to demand that President Aquino step down, the latest and most plausible being the mishandling of the operation to hunt down two terrorists in Mamasapano in Maguindanao that resulted in the massacre of 44 Special Action Forces policemen.
From the moment Aquino revealed his arrogant and vindictive behavior when he personally pushed for the impeachment and humiliation of Chief Justice Renato Corona – and that was on the very first year of his term – I have been critical of the President that I supported during the presidential campaign as a member of the US Pinoys for Noy-Mar that later metamorphosed into the US Pinoys for Good Governance.
In fact, he was a disappointment in the very first month of his term when he mishandled the Luneta hostage crisis that resulted in the death of eight Hong Kong tourists. Instead of apologizing for the incident, Aquino defended the action of the Manila police. Aquino was severely criticized for not initiating contact with the HK government and for not responding to a call by the HK leader during the negotiations with the hostage taker. For years, the Philippine government refused to apologize, resulting in strained relations with the former British colony. And all he had to say was sorry.
Aquino keeps boasting that he has curbed corruption and yet his administration has been saddled with several corruption scandals. He keeps boasting of rising GDP growth and yet the poverty rate has similarly risen in the more than four years he has been in office, meaning that the so-called economic prosperity has only benefitted the rich and left behind the poor.
Aquino promised transparency and accountability, and yet he has left many questions unanswered in the disbursement of the unconstitutional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Fund (DAP) and in the bungled Operation Exodus in Mamasapano.
Just as many other Filipinos, I am disappointed with Aquino, who raised the people’s hopes and left them hanging in the air. But unlike the leaders of the National Transformation Council and other militant groups, I’d rather wait for May 2016 2016 when the nation elects a new and, hopefully, more sincere and competent leader to replace Aquino.
Talks about another “people power” and coup plots are circulating again in the country following the Mamasapano incident. With the apparent arrogance, dishonesty and incompetence of the Aquino administration, there is reason to believe there could indeed be people who are thinking that they could go ahead and successfully push another government change through extra-legal means.
We have prided in having two “people power” uprisings that toppled two corrupt governments – the first in February 1986 when the late President Ferdinand Marcos was forced to flee Malacanang after a 20-year rule, and the other in January 2001 when President Joseph Estrada was toppled from power after less than three years of rule. But both “people power” revolts produced two incompetent successors — the popular but unprepared Corazon Aquino in 1986, and the she-thought-she-was-prepared Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
After two “people power” revolts, the nation has nothing to show for it. Instead, we have the same corrupt system, the same rotten politics of patronage, the same insincere and incompetent officials, the same inept bureaucracy, the same greedy legislature, the same set of wheelers and dealers running the lives of the hapless Filipinos. After two “people power” revolts, the people remain reeling from poverty, and the same despair and hopeless pervade the country.
Aquino and Arroyo failed to capitalize on the goodwill it had with the people and the international community. Instead of igniting the hopes of the people for a new era of a people-oriented governance, the two “people power”-installed leaders proved they were no different from the leaders they helped oust, by immediately clinging to the same corrupt and rotten traditional politics. They merely replaced the cronies of their predecessors with their own, and continued promoting the interests of big business and the upper classes, rather than elevating the people from poverty.
Cory Aquino and Arroyo betrayed the trust placed on them by the people who gathered on EDSA on those two glorious moments. They failed the people, as the others before them had failed the people.
That was the failure of the “people power” revolts. While they had the noble goal of toppling a corrupt government, they failed to ensure a new government that would be more responsive to the people’s needs and aspirations. The failure of those “people power” movements was that they were led by the very same class that started the ails of the country — corruption, cronyism, political patronage, oppression, injustice, and inequity.
Can one honestly believe the leaders of the political opposition or the so-called civil society would suddenly put the interest of the masses ahead of their own? That by one stroke of a mass action on EDSA, these traditional politicians and former cronies of previous administrations would suddenly abandon cronyism, political patronage, and their corrupt ways?
Another “people power” uprising or coup d’etat, however successful, would only result in further alienating foreign investors and the collapse of the economy. In the end, it is the people who will suffer the consequences of such misadventure, because the elite and the upper classes – even those toppled by the uprising — would soon be back in their positions of power and wealth.
The next time they call you to EDSA, make sure the people on the platform are not the same traditional politicians and corrupt military officers, otherwise just stay home and watch on television as the politicians perform their now traditional circus.

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