The word “clueless” made a mark during the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) inquiry session of the Senate. Responding to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Francis Escudero, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said that the Aquino administration is clueless on how to go about with the projects funded by DAP. This cluelessness, nevertheless, appears to drop some clues on various realities the administration is trying hard to conceal. Likewise, there are other instances of cluelessness in other current affairs developments worth examining.
The Clueless DAP Architect
It’s puzzling how Secretary Abad claims to be clueless on what to do with the DAP-funded projects. This implies that the program still existed even while they were arguing their case in the Supreme Court. Lest he forgets, the Office of the Solicitor General, while defending DAP in front of the Supreme Court justices, claimed that the issue was already “moot and academic” since it supposedly had already been discontinued. Now, the Aquino government’s lineup of alter egos is singing a different tune. Do Aquino’s cabinet members and top officials ever exert the effort to coordinate their actions? All of these only seem to make it clear how factionalism is affecting Aquino’s administration.
Crashed Logic with Clueless Airport Fund Diversions
Neophyte senator Nancy Binay didn’t sound clueless when she questioned how it was helping the economy (the supposed intention for adopting DAP) that the Aquino government decided to impound billions intended for airport and seaport projects and realigned the allocated money to projects that have very little economic impact. This made DOTC Secretary Emilio Abaya go on the defensive, struggling to come up with acceptable reasons. Even the former DOTC secretary and now DILG secretary Mar Roxas failed to provide any good answer to this issue. Senator Recto pointed out how he was impressed with the budget for airports and seaports during the budget deliberations only to eventually learn that virtually none of them materialized.
Clueless Belated Defense
President Aquino and his team continued defending DAP by even coming up with additional arguments to support their claim. Here’s where we sense their cluelessness or the intention to conceal the truth. For instance, President Aquino assailed the Supreme Court’s supposed attempt to do a DAP-like cross-border fund transfer but failed to point out that the Supreme Court actually refused their fund offering through the “pooled-in savings.”
It’s also “eyebrow-raising-ly” interesting how the President’s men, including allies in the Senate, Senator Drilon in particular, enthusiastically discussed how DAP allocations for legislators (just like PDAF) don’t make money pass through the hands of congressmen and senators. This has been the consistent defense of lawmakers when they were accused of thievery with their PDAF allocations. What they failed to realize is that the three senators who are now in jail for the PDAF scam also have the same setup. They only got allocations and no bundles of cash or checks ever passed through their offices or bank accounts but they still managed to allegedly steal.
We are saddened by how bar topnotcher Senator Drilon lamely resorted to such a pointless defense. He tried his best to inculcate in people’s minds that no stealing happened with the DAP allocations for legislators but he failed to realize how things work in real life. It could be that he does not really know anything about it or he has not been reading and hearing about the cases filed against the three jailed senators over the PDAF scandal. Either way, his arguments only sounded like very desperate attempts to deodorize the DAP issue. The way he emphatically explained things for Aquino and Abad in the Senate was an insult to the intellect of discerning Filipinos.
Cluelessness in the Midst of an Energy Crisis
According to Palace officials, DAP started in 2011 or barely a year into the President’s term. Senator Serge Osmeña, in an Inquirer interview, said that it takes at least 4 years to build a power plant. A power plant costs around $300 million or around 13 billion pesos. If the government was really concerned about economic growth, the power problem should have been one of the projects they pursued with DAP. At the least, they should have exerted extensive efforts to make sure there were enough power plants to cover the country’s needs. The power shortage problem is no secret. It’s even more obvious than the shiny balding heads of two top DAP defenders. If they had the “brilliant” idea of instituting DAP as early as 2011 to pump up the economy, focusing on the country’s energy needs was a no-brainer.
Clueless Public and Public Officials
ABS-CBN News correspondent Doris Bigornia made it to the worldwide Twitter trending topics after her cringe-inducing interview with “ordinary folks” regarding President Aquino’s DAP defense address. She interviewed people who mostly said that there was nothing they understood about DAP as “explained” by President Aquino in his address. This was not surprising considering how President Aquino himself had a confusing metaphor for DAP. As we explained in an earlier post, he likened the savings used in DAP as extra money left because a mother spent less in buying meat only to provide a different meaning for savings later on, defining it as money left because the purchase was stopped or suspended.
Secretary Abad claimed that the senators were already told about DAP as early as 2011. This does not appear to be the case though as even allies Senator Chiz Escudero and Antonio Trillanes said that they had no idea about receiving it. Senator Trillanes even said in an interview with GMA News’ Balitanghali that the DAP he received was said to be additional PDAF. Perhaps Secretary Abad wasn’t really lying when he said he already made the concept of DAP public in 2011. The problem is nobody outside of the Palace’s top officials circle knew how DAP money was applied. Even COA didn’t raise any flag on it.
Supporters quickly defended Aquino as he struggles in the midst of the DAP controversy. Some make sense in their calm and composed argumentation but most only exhibit clueless fanaticism. After the Senate’s DAP inquiry, many attacked Senator Nancy Binay for her questions that were viewed as an attempt from the opposition to cash on the controversy. They fail to find sense and reason in what the neophyte senator was digging from the President’s cabinet officials. Regardless of her political colors, when she made sense, there’s no denying that she made sense.
To attack sensibility by assailing personal or political associations is unproductive. People should realize how the Senate DAP hearing demonstrated the importance of having an opposition. In the absence of any opposing view, the DAP hearing could have turned into a completely disgusting showcase of shameless patronizing and cover-up. Of course, neophyte Senator Binay’s asking of bold questions that put DAP defenders on the spot should not compensate for whatever allegations the Binay family is facing. It’s just that we have to view things objectively.
Sycophants immediately attacked the Supreme Court when Aquino said that they tried to do a DAP-like act without reading the high court’s answer to the allegation. They were quick to accuse bad faith in those who criticize President Aquino’s relentless DAP defense, labeling people limitedly as those who are either pro-Aquino and anti-Aquino. They should realize that there are still people who just want things done right, those who don’t seek the President’s downfall but only want him to do everything right and be consistent in applying the “Tuwid na Daan” principle.
In all of these cluelessness, there are faint clues that indicate how the country is still politically immature. For most, it’s still all about personalities. Principles rarely become the center of discussions. It’s about pride and claims of achievement. We believe changing all of these has long been overdue. We should all get a clue. Let’s transcend personality-based politics and governance and work on principles. Let’s do what is right.
Infographic via Ibon. Some rights reserved.
As originally posted at Philippine Online Chronicles.