Just barely a month and a half on the job and the Aquino administration is likely to implode faster than most people think.
The promise of eradicating corrupt men and women within the bureaucracy is slower than expected. Big fishes are uncannily hard to pin down. Big names involved in smuggling are still running their businesses, briskier than ever. Drug lords are still lording it over huge territories of the country and jueteng lords are fast adapting to the "rules" of the new administration.
As what DPWH secretary Babes Singson says, its business as usual.
At the very first days of this new administration, prices of basic commodities shot up. Now, electricity rates are also beginning to rise and even water rates. Gasoline prices are unusually high, higher than prices abroad. Telecommunications firms are still charging unjust rates and sending spam messages on mobile phones.
President Noy promised to improve the quality of lives of each and every Filipino. Yet, this administration is beginning to show that it is a regime of the elites or the ilustrados once more. And it is starting to sound like its predecessor with only new faces in power.
And now this...
Malacanang refused to mediate between farmers and the Luisita corporation over the just partition of the hacienda. Other big haciendas have already been partitioned according to the Land Reform Act, yet haciendas of powerful political names still remain.
According to the law, haciendas such as the Luisita should be distributed among qualified farmer beneficiaries and only 5 hectares per owner are allowed to be maintained by the corporation.
The Luisita Corporation however patently violated the law by giving stock or land options to its beneficiaries, a stark, brutal and patently illegal move. Since farmers have been battling it out in the Supreme Court for years, at risk of losing their jobs and their shirts, some 5,000 of them have reportedly relented and were given cash assistance instead of lands.
This is a direct contravention of the law. Yet, Malacanang has refused to intercede on behalf of the victimized farmers, giving the reason that the President is a member of the Cojuangco led board.
Pnoy should have assigned another "truth commission" to handle the Luisita land scandal. THis is just an Executive Order (E.O.), appointing members of his cabinet to assist the legal claims of the Luisita farmers.
Another explosive issue is the impending strike of the employees of the nation's carrier, the Philippine Airlines. Thirty five or so PAL pilots have just tendered their resignations, while the union of airline stewards have given warning that they will strike en masse should the PAL management still refuse to heed their legal demands.
This is a clear case of a labor dispute imbued with public interest and Malacanang should intervene. But, no. Since Lucio Tan is a big campaign supporter of a close Malacanang associate, a Senator, who helped Pnoy during the 2010 elections, the palace wants nothing more than sending a token delegation to assist in the labor negotiations. The union sent a notice of strike already and informed the public of their impending action. Yet, the palace seemed unpertubed in its current position.
And this is ANOTHER EXPLOSIVE ISSUE....
Malacanang wants to impose VAT on toll rates. This is too much. How can the Executive impose a tax in a tax? Toll rates are deemed taxes under our Internal Revenue Code. How then would it be possible to impose a tax in an obviously tax imposition?
Likewise, as correctly pointed out yesterday by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, it is illegal for the Malaysian contractor of the South Expressway to impose a higher toll fee because the fee has been regulated already by government. Increases in the toll fee is illegal and unjustified. A contractor is not allowed to raise toll fees. The contractor's relationship is with the government that contracted it. It is the agency's responsibility to pay the costs of the reconstruction not through the raising of toll rates, but through the regular budget allocations.
Enrile also countered the plan to impose VAT charges since toll fees are not "services nor goods", as classified under the law. Hence, the impending plan of the contractor and the South Luzon Expressway management is illegal, irregular and highly unjust.
If the plan is unjust, then, why is it that Malacanang wants its hands dirty by this? Is'nt the responsibility of Malacanang to give people a better quality of life instead of causing more harm by allowing such rate increases?
This early, Malacanang is showing its true nature--that of an agency of the elite not just to perpetuate its power but to oppress the people by imposing unjust, illegal and irregular taxes on the citizenry.
As what Thomas Paine once wrote---taxes or death! The next revolution would be bloodier and costlier than the previous ones and the Aquino administration will be helpless in stemming it.
Lastly, let me give a piece of advice to the men and women behind Aquino.
You are all banking on the high public approval ratings of the President. President Noynoy Aquino enjoys a huge amount of political capital right now.
However, as things progress, this political capital will definitely go south. It is just a matter of speed. Would it be faster than usual or slower?
It is up to you, men and women behind Aquino, to make this a slow or a fast process. It is up to your handling of these issues.
If you handled these very sensitive issues as a neophyte does, then, shame on you and shame on your Principal.
You are giving change agents a very bad rep.