Nobody at home

Published by rudy Date posted on May 3, 2011

Here’s a sampling of the commentary offered up by the oddball coalition of leftist agitators, Liberal Party trapos and administration gunslingers who are charged these days with bulldozing over anything and anyone standing in the way of their daang matuwid, following the resignation of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez:

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares: “Gutierrez is now fair game for anyone interested in taking her to court. It must be clearly stated that even though she resigned, we will still hold her accountable.” Spoken very much like the merci-less Red Guard this lawyer spiritually is, never mind the legal sheepskin he holds.

LP Rep. Niel Tupas Jr, the would-be leader of the impeachment posse: “The key to Gutierrez’ resignation was the strength of the prosecution panel’s evidence and the growing public support for her impeachment.” What, no credit at all to the “zero pork” text message that literally overnight drove the honorable congressmen to a feeding frenzy at the trough?

On the other hand, former special prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio’s theory is that Gutierrez’ resignation was actually engineered in order to prevent the public airing at her trial of facts allegedly adverse to former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Make up your mind, Dennis—Merci should resign or not? Sala sa init, sala sa lamig—I hope this doesn’t sum up your notions of justice and fair play.

As a matter of fact, the former Ombudsman—a career public servant who still lives on a public street in Sta. Ana and has never once been charged with corruption—simply reached the limits of her capacity to endure the ordeal that was being inflicted, not only on her, but also on her friends and family, including a seriously ailing mother. And when it’s the president of the country no less who’s whipping up the mob against you—against all notions of decorum in the office he holds, or even simple decency—then it’s just a matter of time before you, or anyone else, would fold too.

If P-Noy, or Tupas Junior, or Colmenares think they can find any honor in that achievement, then they really do deserve each other.


We’ve now passed the 300-day mark since the inception of this young presidency—a reasonable point at which we can begin to assess how much has been accomplished. Conveniently, the benchmark is provided by the President himself, in his grandly titled Social Contract with the Filipino People. There are sixteen promises he made in this contract; let’s look at how he’s done so far.

In this piece I’ll go over the first five promises captioned as “Transformational Leadership”. Promise number one:  “From a President who tolerates corruption, to a President who is the nation’s first and most determined fighter of corruption.” [Notice how he defines himself as being the opposite of what he says his predecessor was. And the entire document reads like this! Say what you will—this guy knows what his market wants.]

Reality: The Philippines’ corruption score—as tracked by Hong Kong think-tank PERC—actually worsened under Aquino, from 8.25 to 8.9.

Promise number two: “From a government that merely conjures economic growth statistics that our people know to be unreal, to a government that prioritizes jobs that empower the people and provide them with opportunities to rise above poverty.”

Reality: Aquino should check with experts like the BSP governor and even his own finance secretary, both of whom have praised the growth achieved by his predecessor. As for unemployment, it actually increased year-on-year from 7.1 percent to 7.4 percent in January 2011, despite the 7.3 percent GDP growth in 2010. Compare this to the year-on-year drop in unemployment from 7.7 percent to 7.1 percent in January 2010, despite the much-lower GDP growth of 1.1 percent in 2009.

The other Aquino economic achievement is higher-than-expected inflation (which the poor often experience, and describe, as “job insecurity”). The price story is the same for food, fuel, tuition, transportation, you name it. With oil prices around $110 per barrel, gas prices at the pump are already hitting P 61, same as in 2008—even though oil prices in 2008 were much higher at nearly $150 per barrel.

Bottom line? Nobody’s at home to make sure that growth gets translated into more jobs, not just higher prices.


Promise number three: “From relegating education to just one of many concerns, to making education the central strategy for investing in our people, reducing poverty and building national competitiveness.”

Reality: Aside from building classrooms, distributing textbooks, training teachers, and granting scholarships all over the country, former President Arroyo also took the trouble to ask then-Ateneo president Fr. Bienvenido Nebres to head up a multi-year Philippine Task Force for Education. She handed a copy of their final report to her successor on the way to his inauguration. Now that’s educational commitment for you.

How did Aquino respond? By throwing the report out the window and replacing it with a K+12 strategy whose pedagogical, practical, and consultative provenance are unknown. He’s also stopped basic programs like Food for School, slashed funding for state colleges and universities, and starved the education budget—at 3 percent of GDP, way below the recommended 6 percent -in order to feed dole (and slush-fund) programs like cash transfers to the poor.

Promise number four: “From treating health as just another area for political patronage, to recognizing the advancement and protection of public health, which includes responsible parenthood, as key measures of good governance.”

Reality: If anyone has politicized health care, it’s been Aquino himself, who most recently unleashed attack dog Frank Chavez—a Cory-era solicitor general—to make political hay out of the transfer of OFW health insurance to the health department in the early years of the Arroyo presidency—a move that was simply mandated by new law.

Another example of political calculation is Aquino’s aggressive defense of the RH bill, poisoning Church-State relations but scoring points among the majority of the population who reportedly like the bill. As I said earlier, the guy really knows his market.

And promise number five: “From justice that money and connections can buy, to a truly impartial system of institutions that deliver equal justice to rich or poor.”

Reality: This president will play hardball even with the justice system to suit his own ends. An early example was his grant of amnesty to Magdalo coup plotter Senator Antonio Trillanes—on the very eve of a court ruling on the senator’s case—evidently to get him on the administration’s side for future adventurism of another sort—namely, impeachment trials.

A more notorious example was Aquino’s blaming the Luneta hostage incident solely on—of all people—the Ombudsman’s office. This butchery of logic required him to extol the hostage-taker as a victim, not a mass murderer; absolve the entire chain of command on and off the scene; and defy the findings of his own justice secretary. But Aquino did not flinch from doing this.


In fine, there’s been nothing transformative so far about this presidency. If anything is being transformed, it’s the public’s expectations of his performance, which are constantly being managed down by the ministrations of his comm group.

While wrapping up this piece, I overheard the President on TV boasting in his Labor Day address that the next annual pay increase for government employees under the Salary Standardization Law—a legacy of Mrs Arroyo—was being moved up from July to… (drum roll, applause please)…JUNE!

Actually, if the original payment date was July 1 and will now be June 30, then you could say that the improvement was literally overnight. But don’t expect the President’s PR boys to point out something like that. And, come to think of it, with a “nobody at home” president like this one, maybe such improvements—no matter how small—really ought to be treasured and cherished. -Gary Olivar, Manila Standard Today


Month – Workers’ month

“Hot for workers rights!”


Solidarity with CTU Myanmar,
trade unions around the world,
for democracy in Myanmar,
with the daily protests of
people in Myanmar against
the military coup and
continuing oppression.


Accept National Unity Government
(NUG) of Myanmar.
Reject Military!

#WearMask #WashHands

Time to support & empower survivors.
Time to spark a global conversation.
Time for #GenerationEquality to #orangetheworld!
Trade Union Solidarity Campaigns
Get Email from NTUC
Article Categories