What now, ‘daang matuwid’?
In 2010, millions of Filipinos voted Benigno Aquino III for president on his promise to steer the campaign against corruption through his “daang matuwid.” He gained more credibility as president when graft cases were filed against public officials widely perceived to have committed plunder, like the three senators linked to Janet Lim Napoles. Even the business community showed appreciation of his drive against anomalies in government by investing more in the country.
But things changed when P-Noy turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the anomalies and shenanigans of the closest of his political appointees and allies, even ignoring strident public clamor for their suspension or removal from office.
Like Virginia Torres, who clung to her post as Land Transportation Office chief until Malacanang was forced to replace her because of her “slot machine sortie” that she couldnít deny. Like Rico E. Puno, who took a long time to step down as interior and local government undersecretary. Like Zenaida Ducut, who remains chair of the Energy Regulatory Commission despite being caught sleeping on the job when power rates notched a record-high increase and despite having been identified by the Commission on Audit as among the former legislators who dipped their hands into the PDAF barrel.
In contrast, P-Noy immediately suspended Enrique Ona even before any investigation into the health secretary’s alleged anomalous transactions could be started. (Which reminds me of Prisco Nilo, the Pagasa official President Aquino readily fired because of inaccurate weather forecasts derived from very poor-quality forecasting facilities.) It’s clear, Ona’s suspension is meant to “accommodate” the ambitions of Janet Garin of his Liberal Party, despite her being named among the “beneficiaries” of PDAF misuse. She is now acting health secretary.
Most glaring is P-Noy’s stubborn refusal to heed public clamor for the replacement of Alan Purisima despite the mounting charges against the police director general, which range from incompetence to bribery, to manipulated public bidding, among other allegations. If not for Ombudman Conchita Carpio Morales, Purisima will still be in office.
The President can no longer brag about his daang matuwid.
—JUN M. SAMBALILO,
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