By Bernadine Racoma, as originally posted on Blog Watch /Philippine Online Chronicles
It wouldn’t be fair to say that there’s nothing positive about President Aquino or the current Aquino government. It may not be easy digging these positives, but they do exist and they can serve as criteria or guides in choosing Aquino’s successor. There might be a need to mentally isolate these positive attributes from the entirety of President Aquino’s persona, though, since many of his words and actions would tend to negate these supposedly good characteristics.
Aversion to stealing
President Aquino is not a thief! This is one strong argument many Aquino fans can use without getting a good retort from critics. It’s difficult to accuse President Aquino of having stolen from the government’s coffers. He is clean probably because he is not that interested in money. As critics would put it, his interests are more on younger women, guns, and cars, and he can already afford all of them with the money he has inherited from his rich family.
The next leaders of the country should have no interest in building their own wealth through government funds or through the abusive and wrong exercise of government authority and influence. While it’s not enough for someone to simply refuse the temptation of getting one’s hands on the monies of the government, the resolve to refuse to become a thief is already an impressive start for any politician who wants to lead the Philippines.
Fixation on the crimes of past officials
Again, as mentioned in the opening paragraph, it’s important to isolate the good traits from the negating bad traits of President Aquino. His fixation to the alleged crimes of his predecessors is not necessarily bad as long as you ignore the fact that he does not apply the same fixation to former administration allies who are now his allies. It’s difficult to deny that he is being selective in his crusade against corruption. He even said nothing when his DOJ Secretary announced that DOJ is unlikely to file a third batch of PDAF cases.
However, if President Aquino could only manage to be as fixated to all commissions of corruption and misdeeds in the government as he is deeply attached to former president Gloria Arroyo’s cases, he is likely to produce dramatically better results in his fight against corruption. The “Daang Matuwid” slogan could have made more sense and spared from the accusations of being hypocritical. There’s nothing wrong with persecuting erring public officials deemed to be political adversaries as long as the same persecution applies to all other erring officials. A corrupt congressman who was once associated with the past administration should never be shielded from prosecution or even persecution just because he switched sides.
Past crimes should not be forgotten for the sake of moving on. If a public official stole taxpayers’ money, he or she should be brought to justice. Unifying the country does not require the granting of forgiveness to thieves in past administration nor does it require people to forget about how congressmen, senators, cabinet secretaries, and other government officials abused their powers and deprived people of the funds that should have been used for their benefit.
That’s why it’s important to ask aspiring leaders about their stand on how they plan to run after the corruption of outgoing officials. It greatly helps to evaluate candidates based on their pronouncements on how they intend to address the persistent problem of corruption in the government.
Choosing the right person for the BIR
Many would hate Kim Henares but it can be argued that she is by far the best person to have led the Bureau of Internal Revenue. She is fearless and determined. Even with all the criticisms and questionable policies or impositions like the (tax on tax) toll tax and the inconveniences with the e-filing system and the BIR’s poor sense of technology, Henares has remained steadfast and has become a credible face for the country’s tax collection operations. You may hate her but in your righteous consciousness you know you love her. And we have to thank Aquino for the good choice.
This does not change the fact that Aquino made objectionable appointments elsewhere, but it’s a good example of doing the right decisions for crucial matters. The next aspiring leaders should choose the right people to work with.
Not associated with religion
Recently, President Aquino invited some religious people to do a “pray over” for him but this did not necessarily make him that associated with religious groups. Unlike his immediate predecessor, President Aquino is not fond of pleasing and mingling with church groups. Even his controversial support for the MILF does not make him associated with Muslims. It will be preferable to have a successor to Aquino who could be similar to him in being unattached to religious organizations. The absence of religious influences, usually, leads to more objective decisions and policies.
President Aquino sounds like he is always rushing when he does his speeches. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. He relatively quickly ends his speeches so his being a fast talker is somewhat welcome. He may have not inherited the brilliance of his father nor has he adopted the composure of his mother but he is in no way a bad speaker. He can be convincing when he talks. More importantly, it’s easy to figure out if he is lying or trying to avoid an issue. You would rarely catch President Aquino trying to lie or doing the spins on issues on his own. This is a good thing for other politicians to have although it should be paired with the absence of a propaganda team that does the lying and spinning that the President can’t properly do.
President Aquino continues to enjoy some support from people not necessarily because people are blindly being loyal to him or to Cory Aquino. It can be argued that he also has good traits and achievements that make up for his wrongs and convince people that he is not as bad as what others want to make him appear.