At least he is honest…

POINTILLISMS - Mike Acebedo Lopez (The Freeman) - August 23, 2014 - 12:00am

This is the usual go–to excuse for those who continue to support Noynoy Aquino; that at least "he is honest and not corrupt." What baloney. Set against the facts, asserting such argument means setting the bar really, really, really low for what honesty means.


Let's start with DAP, unique and creative DAP that, as a stimulus program, is responsible for the economic miracle that is the Philippines (I'm being sarcastic, in case you hadn't noticed). If DAP was so good, so right, so moral, so beneficial, so creative, so unique, so legal, so constitutional, so beyond reproach, so responsible for 1.3 percent of the GDP, why, in heaven's name, did Aquino not speak of it in his last three SONAs before this year's State of the Nation Address?

Unconstitutional DAP has been in place since 2011 yet there was no mention of it during his 2011, 2012, or 2013 reports to the nation. If it's such an achievement, Noynoy who characteristically loves to brag about whatever achievement (claiming those not even his) would've bannered DAP in all of those SONAs — and again and again in all of his speeches in between, here and abroad, like he bashes Gloria Arroyo with so much passion and conviction in most of them. After all, this government has nothing to show for in so far as actual fiscal policy or economic reform is concerned. DAP would've been it (the only one, if only it were legal). But no, he's never mentioned DAP, not until Senator  Jinggoy Estrada, pushed against the wall in the PDAF- Napoles scandal, mentioned it in a privilege speech. And Noynoy would go on a road show to defend it when the Supreme Court ruled it unanimously unconstitutional — including a clause that suggests the possibility of filing of criminal cases against its main proponents, Noynoy and Butch Abad leading the pack.

Why was Noynoy and his coterie of spokespersons cum fabulists silent about DAP all these years? That's because that was their intention from the start, to hide it from everyone because that's how he and his Liberal Party are raising funds for 2016, that's how his government shored up resources to control both houses of Congress to, among other things, impeach Corona, the chief magistrate whose gravest mistake was presiding over a Supreme Court that finally, at very long last, dismantled the Hacienda Luisita in favor of the farmer–beneficiaries of Agrarian Reform after decades upon decades of abuse by the Cojuangco-Aquino oligarchy.

Election contributions

Then there is the curious case of election contributions and expenses. In Noynoy's Statement of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SECE) he filed with the Commission on Elections after the 2010 polls, he reported that his campaigned raised contributions totaling to P440,050,000, incurring expenditures of P403,119,981.81. This leaves him with approximately P37 million in excess funds.

Now what is wrong with this picture? The SECE itself seems honest, especially that excess funds are reported. The thing is, I campaigned for Noynoy Aquino (my biggest and probably only regret in life) and throughout those months, I've accompanied several high profile supporters of his, personalities very, very close to him, and while I will not mention any of their names (careful not to breach the trust they've accorded me as a close personal friend), it bears mentioning here that Noynoy's uncle, tycoon and Marcos crony Danding Cojuangco pledged half a billion pesos to his election war chest. I know this for a fact.

One of the siblings even told Noynoy, "Uncle Danding wants to make peace, sige na Noy, let's accept his generous gesture." The sister pled with Noynoy because their branch of the Cojuangco oligarchy was not in speaking terms with Danding's (some purport that it has to do with persisting rumors from conspiracy theorists that it was actually Danding, who was responsible for the assassination of their father Ninoy, not Marcos; and this conjecture kind of adds up; we've had two Aquino presidents and Ninoy's murder has not been solved — they must be hiding something, or protecting someone, or the Cojuangco name, because what shame it would be if, for example, it comes out that the orders came from one of their own).

And it was a generous gesture indeed. Last I heard, Noynoy did accept Danding's hand of reconciliation, a hand that held a check of .5 billion pesos. And that's just one person, how about contributions from other oligarchs who invest in winnable candidates, especially for president, those from other tycoons, businessmen, individuals, organizations, etcetera. Surely the contributions would've been billions. But how much was reported? Including all other donors, under .5 billion. So what ever happened to Danding's pledge?  Is this being honest?

There is more to the controversy surrounding his election contribution and expenditure report beyond Danding's pledge, those that can be gleaned from the report itself. It involves excess funds, failure to report said excess in his ITR, and at least two negative implications for so doing: "It's either Aquino had under-reported his expenses in his COMELEC report, or he had under-declared the withholding tax he remitted to the BIR." Google the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism  piece titled "PNoy's P37M  excess campaign funds: Curious, puzzling details" by Malou Mangahas.

There are fabulous leaders and there are fabulist leaders. Noynoy is a fabulous fabulist.

Honest? Honest my foot!


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