By Dean de la Paz, as originally posted at My president is not a pig!
Paraphrasing Nora Aunor’s famous cry from her award winning magnum opus “Minsa’y may isang Gamu-gamo”, this is one declaration that La Aunor would be unlikely to yield to Benigno Aquino III given his complicity in the damned and dirty Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
This one concerning DAP and political impropriety at the very least is definitely a morality issue. What message is delivered where the highest official of the republic, one whose vows include the vigorous defense of the constitution, stands before the public fora and thereupon is accused of betraying it? Nothing can be more moral, or immoral, than the attempt to steal from legislated expenditure, misappropriate these, transfer to political allies and employ our hard-earned taxes for political patronage.
It is understandable for the president to fly off the handle whenever media reflects the public sentiment and refers to him as “The Pork Barrel King”. He mistakes the reference as based on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the practice of which has been suspended, at least in the form many see it in. But the labeling goes beyond the PDAF. For those who can see farther than their lengthening noses, the pork barrel system involves more importantly, and indeed more substantially, the presidential DAP as well as the various other mutations of the pork barrel firmly under the control of the Executive Department.
Simply attach coefficient figures, numbers and peso signs against these instruments of patronage politics from the DAP, the PDAF, the discretionary slush funds under the control of the president and all the other mutations of the pork barrel, and it is easy to see why the public justifiably criticizes Aquino with the disparaging “Pork Barrel King” label. Analyze the public sentiment. The label is an attempt at virtual retribution against the reckless misuse of their wealth.
If the label of “Pork Barrel King” unhinges Aquino, imagine the victimization of the public from the much larger DAP. The public is exponentially more incensed and justifiably so. Given that officials have apparently monetized a bait-and-switch scheme from one they claim is imbued with good faith,thus transforming a pork barrel mutation into bribe currency for fomenting partisan and patronage politics, that is gross immorality that not even an open-minded liberal like Aunor can countenance.
How is such thievery related to issues relevant to Aunor? Let’s employ the input-output paradigm of econometrics and consider those moral issues inflicted on her by those with far more substantially conflicted morals.
Because of the profound substance of her body of work, including the international recognition her work has received, it is unavoidable that Aunor is considered an icon of sorts, whether in the field of the arts or the universe of politics.
The deep social issues tackled by Aunor in cinema all have substantial political content. Note how over the years and through every serious debate on foreign military incursions against Filipino sovereignty her cinematic eloquence in that classic line, “My brother is not a pig!”, has been transformed from mere movie trivia to an iconic battle cry for true and real independence from foreign intervention.
Beyond substance, Aunor’s influence is based on charismatic eloquence – an uncanny ability to endear, relate and emphatize with one’s constituents without having to hard sell behind a political podium and there lie through one’s teeth.
If her “My brother is not a pig!” declaration is not yet sufficient to prove that aspect of Aunor’s influence on our lives, note how, in the mere mention of the title of her current cinematic endeavor, authorities uncomfortably quiver on the basis of a three-syllable word – “Hustisya”. The movie is a commentary on the sordid state of our justice system, the continuing victimization by the powerful and the misuse of authority and the law. Art imitates life, and vice versa. Nora Aunor does indeed have a distinctly moral and political dimension.
On the morning of the very day when, later in the afternoon, Aquino would succumb to public pressure by admitting his personal reasons for denying Aunor recognition and the accolades she deserves, across the archipelago, broadsheets flashed front page photographs of her donning a T-Shirt critical of the government.
The resultant effect is a testament to her social and political influence.
When Aquino single-handedly junked the recommendation of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) to finally recognize Aunor’s unparalleled contributions to Filipino culture, he effectively trashed her achievements, ironically, on the basis of a moral question.
In relation to U.S. Customs authorities finding drug-related paraphernalia among items packed by her aides in luggage that bore her name, Aquino said “My only problem was her drug conviction. She was convicted and punished”.
Aquino is wrong. Aunor was never convicted because she did not go through the trial process. Following a Diversion protocol under the American justice system, all adverse records are judiciously and officially expunged and under such she can rightfully and more important, truthfully, claim innocence from conviction. She was also not punished. Aquino’s presidential whisperers had not done their homework – a potentially dangerous situation where their principal likewise does not do his.
Questions of morality require intelligent discernment. They likewise require a pure heart, honesty and truth from those who exact on its basis. Thus morality’s advocates must ride high upon a white steed. Such purity comes naturally for Nora Aunor and is the foundation of her personality and her stereotype in her body work.
Unfortunately, this cannot be said of those who insist on trashing her on the basis of their own questionable morality benchmarks as these relate to their vow to uphold the constitution. Indeed, can we honestly declare that our officials are not pigs?
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