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P-Noy’s dearest friends dragging him down

01:40 AM March 28, 2015

The recent Pulse Asia survey results showing a drop in President Aquino’s trust and performance ratings should serve as a wake-up call for him and administration officials. This drop was primarily caused not so much by what happened on that fateful day in Mamasapano, Maguindanao (since in any military or police operations, casualties from both sides can be expected) as by how P-Noy and his administration handled the aftermath of this tragic event.

Firstly, his failure to attend the arrival honors for the fallen Special Action Force (SAF) 44 was a monumental blunder that enraged the general public. Also, public disappointment continued to grow with his continued defense of his good friend and former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima despite numerous reports already showing that Purisima was on top of the SAF operations despite his being suspended by the Ombudsman. Sadly, this has been a familiar refrain in the Aquino administration:

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P-Noy gambles his political capital just to be able to protect his good friends.

This was seen during the 2010 Luneta hostage crisis where he immediately absolved his good friend, former interior undersecretary Rico Puno from any accountability despite the fact that it was Puno who was tasked by him to supervise PNP operations directly. More recently, President Aquino persisted in supporting Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala despite the rampant rice smuggling and rice hoarding exposed under his watch. In addition to this, Alcala failed to fulfill his promise at the start of P-Noy’s term to ensure that our country would achieve rice self-sufficiency by 2014.

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Instead of helping P-Noy achieve his goals of good governance and poverty alleviation, his closest friends and allies are dragging him down. I certainly hope that this latest crisis he is facing will finally open his eyes to the reality that by keeping his underperforming friends in his administration, he continues to put his future and that of our country at greater risk.

Like many Filipinos, I continue to fully support and believe in P-Noy’s leadership. I just hope that for our country’s sake, he will finally listen to his “bosses,” learn to move out of his comfort zone and take out the “nonperforming assets” in his administration even if they are his dearest friends.

—HARVEY S. KEH, executive director, Institute for Governance and Strategic Partnerships, [email protected]

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TAGS: Alan Purisima, Benigno Aquino III, Mamasapano, Proceso Alcala, Pulse Asia survey, Rico Puno
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