Aquino’s cabal of crooks

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One of the often-repeated criticisms by the opposition regarding Rodrigo Duterte’s manner of dealing with corrupt officials is that they claim quite cavalierly that he merely recycles them from one post where they might have been accused to another where they might be benign.

While most are eventually charged after being transferred and subsequently replaced, the opposition is quick to mount their high horses, gallop off and with two guns blazing declare themselves as the paragons of virtue shoved aside in 2016 by an administration that they claim simply plays shell games with crooks.

The comparative analysis offered, while aligning their crosshairs on Duterte, is essentially a publicity stunt crafted by their million-peso media machines and paid hacks as part of their ongoing campaign to undermine the government. When we add the controversial videos produced and distributed at their behest depicting even the President’s youngest child in a graphic meant to disparage the First Family then it is not difficult to see where sedition founds such falsehoods and fiction.

Against the corruption recycling modus, the opposition spins as Duterte’s default allow us a truth and fact-based comparative analysis of the manner by which Benigno Aquino III and his merry band of friends, classmates and shooting buddies had actually handled crooks within their ranks.

The following is a litany of at least 13 questionable incidents during Aquino’s term.

Early in Aquino’s term the Land Transportation Office was involved in a scandal which consequences continue today. Motorists and car dealers fashion their own car plates.

Unfortunately, the appointment of Aquino’s running-mate to the Transport department created more problems ranging from the MRT3’s constant breakdowns, to the awarding of scandalous contracts to shady entities and operators, to the daily “carmageddon” on EDSA.

When Aquino’s favorite “troubleshooter” eventually transferred to oversee local governments and the police, matters worsened further. Exotic vocabulary such as “Yolanda,” “Mahindra,” “Dengvaxia” and “Mamasapano” entered the lexicon.

Meanwhile the illegal drug problem worsened as complicit officials accused in the drug trafficking trade not only included local government politicos but Cabinet appointees.

It was not enough that at the Department of the Interior and Local Government there was an unsolved case of gun-running. Usurpation of powers, enrichment, criminal negligence and homicide would follow involving Aquino’s top police general.

At the Department of National Defense, a scandal involving helicopters competed for attention with financial scandals at the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the latter for cash transfers and missing calamity funds.

Malversation seemed to have been a default under Aquino exemplified by petty scandals at the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, to grand and systemic scams as presidential pork barrels known as the Disbursement Acceleration Program employed partly to fund the whims and wiles of senators in a ploy to disenfranchise a magistrate as well as to fund non-budgeted pet projects of a cabal of pork-fattened crooks.

As if these were not bad enough, under Aquino corruption was effectively being prepped as a legacy. The election watchdog’s head had accumulated an unusual amount of money stashed in a small bank under different names. He is now a fugitive at large. At the judiciary, as payback for political allegiances, an unqualified lawyer accused of dishonesty in her credentials was installed to oversee the judicial branch.

Res ipsa loquitur. Count the foregoing. There are at least 13 former Aquino officials who should be in jail if proven guilty. In each, unlike the aggressive modus employed by Duterte where he immediately steps in, stops the bleeding as it were, and pending a full investigation, casts an accused aside, Aquino’s is one dimensional, lazy and passive. He simply indulges the corrupt, does nothing and perpetuates the anomaly until it institutionalizes.

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