What Pres. Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III Did not Do and Does not Intend to Do for the Philippines

Pres. Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III delivering the State of the Nation Address

Pres. Aquino III snubbed Ex-president Joseph Estrada and will not break up haciendas in the Philippines


Pres. Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III does not intend to certify as urgent the passage of new land reform law that includes coconut and fruit lands, and sugar lands. He did not invite to the State of the Nation Address Ex-president Joseph Estrada.

The President can certify to Congress urgent matters for legislation . Such legislation are a crucial factor in the development of the country.

SONA

This afternoon (July 28,2014), the President delivered his State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa (Legislative Building that houses the House of Representative). This is a mandated report to the nation of the accomplishments of the executive branch of government to the nation. The President also lays down what he intends to do in the coming years of his administration. A president in the Philippines has only one term of six years. This is the fifth year of Aquino III as president. He has only one year to go, meaning one more SONA to deliver.

The SONA is an exhortation for legislators, judges, and workers in government to do their part in nation building. Part of SONA is an analysis of the society, its problems and proposed solutions to such problems. Some of the problems he identified are graft and corruption, negligence, dereliction of duty, callousness, moral depravity, unempolyment and poverty.

He singled out the case of DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program) as a problem. He said he will certify to Congress the urgency for the definition of what the executive branch can do with savings in government budget for the current year.

Recently, the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional some acts under DAP.

If lack of precision of policies under DAP is a problem, land tenure involving coconut and fruits lands and sugar lands are more serious problems.

We already have a land reform law but it covers rice lands only. Still this law is replete with problems because its implementation depends on the availability of budget. Now, farmers are fighting for the extension of land reform law.

Tenancy

Land tenure is the principal problem of the Philippines. It originated during the Spanish colonial period when the king of Spain awarded his subalterns with vast tracks of land to buy their loyalty. These vast tracks of land evolved into the hacienda system where one hacienda is owned by one person. The hacienda system has deprived a lot of Filipinos pieces of land. Haciendas have concentrated vast tracks of land to a few Filipinos. These haciendas are the power base of the ruling class of the Philippines.

The root of insurgency in the Philippines is land tenure. If haciendas had been broken up and redistributed to people who could actually cultivate them there would be no poverty. Haciendas constitute social injustice in this country. I have several Hubs on this topic.

For failing to break up haciendas, this administration does not intend to solve insurgency in the country. It will use the military to suppress insurgency. The ruling class will use the military to suppress insurgency. The extreme example of this had been shown by the dictatorship of Marcos. Then power was concentrated in a few hands. In the present dispensation, power is diffused on several hands but they can be pinpointed. Most of them are found in Congress, Supreme Court and the executive branch.

Insurgency in the Philippines cannot be solved by military means. It can be solved by bringing about social justice. However, the present ruling class will not do that.

From all indications, Pres. Aquino III will not coach the present Congress to enact new laws on land reform to enlarge the scope of the present rice land reform law and to include coconut and fruit lands and sugar lands. Last year he mentioned in his SONA that other crops like coffee can be planted in between coconut trees.

The fact is, the Liberal Party of which Pres. Aquino III is also president, has the majority in Congress. Theoretically, Congress can easily pass new laws on land reform. However, as we keep on saying, Congress is comprised of the ruling class whose power bases are haciendas. It is foolhardy to hope for them to pick up stones and knocked their heads.

About two years ago, Pres. Aquino III bought a Porsche worth about five million pesos out of the sale of part of his inheritance from Hacienda Luisita. Well, that is his right. The purchase was announced in a news conference. First, to show that he has the capability to buy a Porsche and no government funds was used to buy it. He said in effect that if this Porsche makes him happy and provides him some relaxation he should be allowed this luxury.

Pres. Pinoy snubs Ex-president Joseph Estrada

By protocol past presidents of the Philippines who are still able physically to attend are invited to the SONA. Those who were supposed to be in attendance today are former president Fidel V. Ramos, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former president Joseph Estrada.

Former president Ramos attended the SONA. Former president Macapagal-Arroyo could not attend because she is under hospital arrest for cases under investigation.

To recall, Estrada was impeached by the House of Representatives in the third year of his term as president. This impeachment was endorsed to the Senate that has jurisdiction to try this case. The trial came to an impasse because the senators who were acting as judges did not want to open an envelop containing some evidence by a vote of 11-10. On the night of the impasse, anti Estrada forces marched to Malacañang, residence and office of the president, demanding for the resignation of Estrada.

Estrada, stepped down from the presidency, on “leave.” It is a euphemism for ouster by coup. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, for being vice-president, was sworn in as new president.

A case of plunder was filed against Estrada. It was tried in court and Estrada was convicted of plunder and sentenced to life imprisonment. If death sentence for heinous crime (which became a law under Pres. Ramos) were not suspended, Estrada could be covered by it, plunder being a heinous crime.

Former president Gloria pardoned Estrada who had already served five years in prison during the trial of his case. Such pardon absolves Estrada of criminal liability but the moral taint of being a plunderer stays. This could be the reason why Pres. Aquino III snubbed Estrada and did not invite him to the SONA.

Such snobbery could be derived from the position of Pres. Aquino III on the case of Nora Aunor who was nominated for National Artist. Pres. Aquino III did not choose Ms. Aunor for this plum because, he said, she was involved in a drug case in the United States.

If I chose her for National Artist award it would show that we are not serious in our drive against illegal drugs, Pres. Aquino III said in a television interview.

Those who defend Ms. Aunor say that she had already served a term in rehabilitation for drugs.

No matter, Pres. Aquino III stood pat on his decision. He wants his administration to stand staunchly against graft and corruption like plunder.

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