By BENJIE OLIVEROS
Vice President Jejomar Binay was right when he called the Aquino administration as callous and incompetent. How would one call an administration that refuses to raise the salaries and wages of rank and file workers and employees while allowing the prices and rates of basic services, utilities and commodities to rise such as oil, electricity, water, MRT and LRT fares, among others? How would one call a government that privatizes and allows the rise in charges and fees of health care and education while unemployment and poverty continue to worsen? It even caused the closure of schools catering to Lumads, who, for the first time in their lives, have access to education for their children.
How could one describe a government that perpetuates impunity in enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, killings of journalists, and other human rights violations? How could it remain deaf to the cries for justices of relatives of the disappeared?
How could one describe an administration that peddles the country’s remaining natural resources and its cheap labor to foreign big businesses whose only concern is to generate profits while majority of Filipinos are deeply enmeshed in poverty and future generations are in danger of not having any to live by?
How does one call a government that uses as cannon fodder its own elite police force just to satisfy the US government’s desire to catch one of its perceived enemies? How does one call a government that presided over the Luneta hostage crisis and the bungled Mamasapano operations, and has been failing miserably in solving the accident prone, deteriorating MRT train system, the worsening traffic problem, the crisis in the mass transport system, the disasters being caused by projected weather disturbances and the failed relief and rehabilitation efforts for victims of past disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan despite the billions of dollars in aid that poured in?
But Malacañang was also right when it raised the question why Vice President Binay is talking about this now when he was part of the Cabinet.
The answer is plain and simple: self-interest.
This is how the political system in the country works. Politicians and elected government officials act not on the basis of principles, issues, much less concern for the Filipino people, but in accordance with what will push forward their political career. Forget about the “kayo ang boss ko” tagline of Benigno Aquino III or the “para sa masa” or “para sa mahihirap” of Jejomar Binay and Joseph Estrada.
Binay did not raise a whimper while these were happening to avoid being perceived as a threat by the Aquino administration and the Liberal Party and therefore, suffer its attacks. At the same time, while he was in the government, he could gain political mileage, and money on the side for his campaign for the presidency. Unfortunately for him, the Aquino administration – which had the gall to say that it treated Binay well – did make him the subject of its attacks, along with his allies Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, covering it up with a supposed anti-corruption drive while sparing its allies.
Meanwhile, it appears that the Aquino administration is purposely delaying the filing of charges against its allies who were allegedly involved in the pork barrel scam until the public’s attention is diverted toward the 2016 elections. Nothing has also come out of the cases against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Janet Lim Napoles. Why is the Aquino administration attacking Binay and other probable candidates who are not its allies, while sparing its allies, and not pursuing the cases against the past president? Aquino is afraid that like Estrada and Arroyo, he would be pursued when he steps down from Malacañang.
Candidates for the Philippine presidency spend tens of billions of pesos of their and their financial backers’ money from big business, not to serve the country but to further their own self-interests while in office and even after. And after elections, it has always been payback time.
Does anybody really believe that even just one of the probable candidates for the presidency and vice presidency – Binay, former and current senators Panfilo Lacson, Bong Revilla, Grace Poe, Chiz Escudero, Allan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes IV and Bongbong Marcos – would be willing to spend tens of billions of pesos just to serve the country?
Does anyone believe that the next president and vice president would not try to, not only recoup but also to multiply their and their financial backers money through influence peddling, graft and corruption, and favored government contracts, franchises and licenses?
Unless a radical restructuring of the country’s political and electoral system is undertaken, running for political office would always be treated as an investment and opportunity to make money, and occupying government position as a business.
Don Quixote does not exist in the real world. Some in government do emulate his insanity, but not his idealism.