What’s the deeper meaning of the “tempest” on the budget?
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - January 14, 2019 - 12:00am

Those who are wise enough to discern the patterns of Philippine politics, and perhaps understand the dynamics between power play and money-induced uproars in the rough-and-tumble game of politics would readily appreciate the deeper meanings and far-reaching implications of the current hullabaloo on the national budget. To the minds of those who aren’t naïve, Rolando Andaya is the hitman of GMA and is not really a knight in the shining armor trying to save the Philippines from the alleged shenanigans of Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno.

Andaya himself has a lot of explaining to do on his performance as former budget secretary. And this ruckus is really a proxy war; Andaya versus Diokno on behalf of GMA versus the Duterte anti-pork barrel advocacy.

This political melee actually erupted when Senator Ping Lacson (the true advocate against pork barrel insertions) questioned why the small second district of Pampanga was allocated an insertion of P2.4 billion.

This district is currently represented by the newly-installed speaker, who ousted former speaker Bebot Alvarez, and soon to be represented by GMA's high-profile son, Mikee, (who once aspired to be the party-list representative of tricycle drivers and security guards). Lacson also questioned why the remote hinterland of Camarines Sur, represented by Andaya, was favored with a P1.9 billion insertion.

That Lacson exposé triggered the Andaya uproar, hitting Diokno by way of collateral damage. They are not bold enough to confront President Duterte or his DPWH secretary of the powerful Villar political empire.

They found Diokno vulnerable and hit him. On the other hand, Diokno must really explain why the small and thinly-populated province of Sorsogon would get P10 billion in 2018 and another P6 billion in 2019.

Diokno must explain to the people why the parents-in-law of one of his children would be so favored with too many public works projects in their hinterland localities, while the more populated towns were allowed to suffer floods and landslides during typhoon Usman. Regardless of Andaya's motives, Diokno must explain why a small construction company allegedly incorporated by his son-in-law would get no less than P551 million in public works projects.

Diokno might be innocent but he placed himself in a situation which isn’t beyond reproach. He failed to exercise the diligence of a good father, as the Civil Code and the Revised Administrative Code requires custodians of public funds.

Albeit the real meaning of this rumpus among politicians is that this is nothing but political confrontations of the political titans like GMA and the Duterte administration. GMA was a resurrection by Duterte, She was in detention and it was under the Duterte government that she gradually found her political rebirth, like Erap with their last hurrah.

Perhaps the Duterte coalition committed a political “faux pas” in ousting Alvarez and putting in power a much-maligned GMA. By the Andaya antic, GMA has demonstrated that she is not a true and genuine ally of this administration. She is biting the hands that put her back in the limelight.

The deeper meaning of this political turmoil is that politicians can never be trusted for gratitude, and that in politics, there are indeed neither permanent friends nor permanent enemies. There is only permanent greed for power and money. Cebuanos should have known this truth long ago.

ROLANDO ANDAYA
Philstar
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