As we approach the close of another year in the life of our nation, we are inclined to agree with those among our countrymen who contend that the time has come for the administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd and the Liberal Party to settle accounts with the nation.
This is a time of year when corporations draw up their balance sheets for the year that is passing, and nations assess whether they have had a good year or a bad one.
The idea of holding “a day of reckoning” for the Aquino administration and its political party is sound, because it’s now well over a year since former President Aquino departed from office and a new administration took over.
It is also a fact that the Liberal Party has now emerged as the principal opposition to the Duterte administration. It has diligently come up with a list of criticisms, issues and the “crimes and misdemeanors” of the Duterte government. Before we know it, we will be caught in the preparations and alarms about the May 2019 midterm elections. And the administration and opposition parties will, of course, be in the thick of the fray.
The English idioms “settling of accounts” and “day of reckoning” connote roughly the same thing –a time when the effects or consequences of one’s past mistakes or misdeeds catch up with him, or when debts must be settled with either the law or creditors.
The Aquino presidency carved out a fairly historic record, not only because of some achievements in continuing Philippine economic growth after the Gloria Arroyo presidency, but because of numerous disasters, failures and abuses of authority that occurred during its incumbency.
It has lately been exposed that many government departments under Aquino committed egregious errors and abuses that cost the public treasury dearly. Internet websites and blog sites have been assiduous in drawing up lists of the principal Aquino failings. These allegations cannot be summarily dismissed as “fake news.” Many of these charges hold water and need full investigation.
One website and blogger enterprisingly listed the dubious legacies of the Aquino administration and its various departments. They mentioned the following SCANDALS:
1. Department of Justice (DOJ) – Proliferation of drugs and corruption at the national penitentiary under the watch of Secretary Leila de Lima.
2. Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) – Billion-peso right-of-way scandal under Secretary Rogelio Singson.
3. Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) – MRT service breakdown, purchase of wrong coaches, non-issuance of drivers’ licenses and plates, tanim-bala racket at MIAA under the watch of Secretaries Mar Roxas and Joseph Emilio Abaya.
4. Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) – Purchase of expensive and low-quality Tata police cars and fire trucks, and corruption of the police by the drug lords under the watch of Secretary Mar Roxas.
5. Department of Agriculture (DA) – Fertilizer Fund scandal under the watch of Secretary Proceso Alcala.
6. Department of Budget and Management (DBM) – PDAF and DAP scandals under the watch of Secretary Florencio Abad.
7. Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) – Tax evasion and avoidance by oligarchs under the watch of Commissioner Kim Henares.
8. Bureau of Customs – Rampant smuggling and non-stop corruption under the watch of Commissioner Alberto Lina.
9. Supreme Court – Impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona, appointment of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, who lacked a single day of previous experience as a judge.
10. Department of Health (DoH) – anomalous purchase of P3.5 billion worth of the controversial dengue vaccine under the watch of Secretary Janette Garin.
11. Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) – Scandal surrounding the use of billions of pesos of Yolanda funds and aid under the watch of Secretary Dinky Soliman.
12. Department of foreign Affairs (DFA) – Anomalous passport printing deals under the watch of Secretary Alberto Del Rosario.
13. Commission on Elections (Comelec) – Purchase of Smartmatic automated election system, fraudulent election results, under the watch of Chairman Andres Bautista.
The list is by no means complete. It does not include such abominations as the Mamasapano massacre and the comprehensive agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
Benigno Aquino 3rd had command responsibility over the whole and the parts.