Tuesday, March 24, 2015

No transparency

Written by Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Quite frankly, presidential spokesmen have no business diagnosing the health of a president, despite talks that made the rounds over the weekend that Noynoy either had collapsed or blanked out.

They are not doctors, and are not competent to clear such talks, as trying to dismiss such talks, makes speculations grow even more on the president’s health condition. Besides, all they really come up quickly with to quell such talk, is to deny that the president had collapsed or had gone into a temporary catatonic state.

Firstly, these spokesmen have zero credibility, whether they talk about the medical condition of Noynoy, or whether they deny whatever negative issue is leveled against Noynoy.

Secondly, these same spokesmen contradict themselves when they come to the defense of their principal.

Recall that Edwin Lacierda, in defending Noynoy in the long gap between his buddy, now resigned Gen. Alan Purisima’s text on the Mamasapano mission, claimed that the president turns off his phone when he goes to sleep, as this is normal, since Lacierda himself turns off his phone at night.

Yet after midnight of that day, Lacierda furiously sent text messages to all the reporters who wanted to know about the reported “collapse” of Noynoy, saying he had immediately called Noynoy about this, to which Noynoy had replied with a “no such thing” message.
So, do Noynoy and Lacierda put off their phones at night or not?

In the same manner, there also went Lady Gaga, the next day, denying the same talks of presidential collapse, saying that she had also seen Noynoy, and he looked okay. She added that she had also spoken to the doctors of Noynoy who told her that in essence Noynoy is in the pink of health.

Really? Now why should she take the place of the doctors? For that matter, why would the doctors talk to her about the health condition of Noynoy?

This is not being facetious, but the fact is that under the Constitution, the presidential health should be made public, as the public should know the health condition of the sitting president, as the public also must know just who is running government.

And Noynoy is known to go missing every time a crisis blows his way.

Already, even as the reporters were alerted by the Palace of Noynoy holding a press conference, that same scheduled press conference was cancelled, with the excuse that not all reporters will be present, being a Saturday, and that Noynoy didn’t want them to rush to Malacañang just for that press conference with media.

Instead, Malacañang issued a photo of Noynoy and his shooting buddy, BIR Commissioner Kim Henares, at a Chinese resto having dinner.

Yet even those dead brain Malacañang spokesmen ought to know that a photo does not prove Noynoy had a nervous breakdown or whatever, since that is not proof he is in the pink of health.
He may of course be okay, health wise, but these denials from the Palace do not help any in dispelling such talk. Noynoy even made it worse by announcing a press conference then canceling it.

Everybody — or almost everybody — knows that no matter how sick a president is, his or her health condition is always kept secret from the public.

This was done during the time of then President Marcos who was already suffering from kidney problems and lupus.

No politician or president wants the public to know how sick he is, as this could bring about the perception that can weaken his presidency or his political stock.

In Noynoy’s case, with his presidency already weakened substantially, as it would be, from the Palace’s point of view, to admit that Noynoy’s incapacity, since it is also stated in the Charter that when the president is incapable — even temporarily — of attending to the affairs of the state, the Cabinet — or a majority of the Cabinet — can deem him incapable and inform both leaders of Congress of his inability to perform his tasks.

In the case of Noynoy, however, he should not be scared of his Cabinet doing this, as the same Cabinet members are too scared to lose their jobs. Dinky and the same Hyatt group in the Palace today, won’t resign, not when they are making so much money, and they are scared that when Noynoy goes, they face charges.

Besides, that proviso in the Constitution is useless, since the President can write the Legislature that he is already able to take on his duties as president, in which case, that means he takes over again.

Or, the president can do as Gloria Arroyo did, which was to replace her Cabinet members who quit.

What all these denials prove, however, is that Noynoy and his administration are far from hewing to their own mantra of honesty and transparency.

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