Jojo A. Robles

Boy Sisi, again

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Some days, this column simply writes itself. When you have a President whose default response to adverse news is to blame his predecessor, more than halfway into his own term, then all the commentary you have to do, as Will Rogers advised, is to report the facts.


Yes, President BS “Boy Sisi” Aquino was at it again, blaming Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for the 15-point drop in his ratings, as tracked by one survey outfit. What the survey meant, according to the blameless Boy Sisi, was that his administration was bearing the brunt of the public’s anger over the pork barrel scandal—which took place, according to him, from 2007 to 2009.

Listen to Boy Sisi: “[The theft of pork barrel funds happened from] 2007 to 2009. Who was in Malacañang at the time? Not us. But I think we also get the blame because [both administrations] represent the government.”

Has Boy Sisi gone completely bonkers? Or is he lying through his nicotine-stained teeth?

There are only two conclusions that can be drawn from this latest blame game being played by Boy Sisi: The President is either truly convinced that he and his administration are completely untouched by the pork barrel scandal or he is attempting to lie his way out of any culpability in the massive misuse of public funds to reward, incentivize or otherwise bribe Congress, in spite of all evidence to the contrary.

Despite all the unsavory and hurtful comments about Aquino’s supposed lack of a sound mind, I cannot believe that he has failed to comprehend that he and his government are as much to blame as Arroyo (and all other previous administrations, beginning with his mother, who institutionalized pork for Congress in its present form) for the pork barrel mess. That leaves me convinced that Boy Sisi is once again trying to pull the wool over our collective eyes, long after every one of us has learned that the use of pork to buy Congress increased exponentially during this President’s watch.

How intellectually dishonest is Boy Sisi’s position? Well, if he is aware of the survey that showed his vaunted popularity waning considerably, then he must also be aware of the results of another poll, released soon after, which said that three out of five Filipinos are convinced that the misuse of pork barrel funds continued unabated during Aquino’s term.

Indeed, these are the unassailable facts: that Aquino more than doubled the funding for the regular pork barrel funds for Congress (known as the Priority Development Assistance Fund) compared to Arroyo on a yearly basis—and then created his very own pork delivery mechanism to release even more billions through the so-called Disbursement Acceleration Program.

And even if his administration, with the aid of the Commission on Audit and the Office of the Ombudsman, was able to forestall the disclosure of pork use beyond 2009 and limit the filing of charges only to politicians on the outs with his government, the people remain convinced that the practice of larding up Congress continues to this day.

That public belief has been reinforced by Boy Sisi himself, from his very public coddling of pork scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles to his insistence, to this day, that both PDAF and DAP are good for the country—even if it is being used as a de facto salary by the lawmakers who receive it. None of these things happened during the Arroyo administration; all of them happened since the time Aquino found himself in the highest office in the land.

But that is what Boy Sisi does: he blames his predecessor for the bad stuff that happens, like the pork barrel scandal, and claims credit for the good stuff that he did nothing to bring to fruition, like the growth in the economy. (There is an ironic conjunction between the two, for those who recall that Aquino’s DAP was supposed, on paper, to spur economic growth through rapid spending for public projects and not meant to be used as a new pork barrel fund.)

* * *

In any case, Boy Sisi’s contention that his administration is unblemished by pork misuse is tenable only if CoA continues to withhold information about who got how much of PDAF/DAP in the last three years. But I wonder if Boy Sisi won’t be able to find some way to blame Arroyo for the use—and misuse—of pork funds during his term.

I will insist, though, that Aquino has never accepted blame for anything ever since he became President. It’s always someone or something else—like the rogue cop who lost his job, the world economy, the new love interest and, of course, the jailed predecessor, the all-time favorite excuse—that is keeping him from being the best President this country of extremely gullible people ever had.

Aquino always falls back on his guiltlessness when the going gets rough. Those who are waiting for him to man up and take responsibility for anything bad that happens will have to wait a very long time—only to be disappointed in the end.

That’s what the last three years and change have taught us. In the less than three years ahead, Boy Sisi will just keep doing what he’s been doing —blaming everyone and everything, except himself.

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