‘Forgive him for he ignores the repercussion of his promises’
AMINOR flashback – my column topic on January 18, 2016, had a stoic title, “Why, Mr. President?” I was asking him why he was so “heartless” in vetoing House Bill No. 5842, that would have granted a measly 12,000 increase in the monthly pension of retired Social Security System members.
The President I was referring to was Benigno S. Aquino III. How he disappointed the almost two million SSS pensioners who would have enjoyed the Yuletide gift in the earlier month of December.
In that piece, I also said Pinoy’s anointed presidential candidate would run the risk of losing the votes of pensioners and their families, as a result of that presidential veto.
Mar Roxas did lose those votes, and ultimately, the election.
Now on the preceding threemonth presidential campaign. Then candidate Rodrigo Duterte took advantage of his opponent’s shelving of that House measure.
In the hustings, he promised to revive the bill and grant en seguida the 12,000 increase once he got to Malacañang. Everywhere he went, thunderous applause met his provincial and urban sorties.
Then came the DU30 administration last July. It appeared that the new Chief Executive was informed by his economic team the difficulty of finding sources to fund his 12,000 election promise. And he kept silent about fulfilling his commitment with the electorate.
Certainly, his apparent taciturn was bad politics. It was anathema to the do-gooding stance he was trying to cultivate as the new leader of the nation.
Then last Tuesday, January 10, the Palace announced the granting of the first 50 percent of the 12,000 pension adjustment beginning this month of January, and the remaining 11,000 in 2022, five years from now.
The President’s spokesman, Sec. Ernesto Abella, called the manna, “in fulfillment of his social contract with the people.”
And what about the other stinging election promise that is still hanging on air – the ending of employment contractualization, or its popular acronym ENDO?
It was a potent vote-getting stunt of DU30 during the campaign and millions fell for it.
B u t s a d l y, l a b o r e x p e r t s a n d employers’ confederations have warned that “end of contract” cannot be abolished just like that because there are many labor contracting situations that necessitate the ending of a work contract.
And they are legal, pertinent, and proper.
But what DU30 is after are contracts of employment resorted to by mall and big retail establishment owners, as well as independent personnel service providers.
Here employees are hired only for five months. More than that period employers are required by law to hire workers as permanent employees.
So, there is an impasse whenever talks of ending “endo” between private parties and government labor officials come around. And concerned employable citizens are thinking aloud that DU30 has again made an election promise that is beyond fulfillment.
Another post-election promise of DU30 was to invite Vice President Leni Robredo to sit in his Cabinet with specific functions.
And so it came to pass that the No. 2 highest official of the land was appointed “housing czar” by the President last August.
Right at the beginning it was a good public relations gesture. But many independent observers saw it as one that was destined to crumble.
DU30 knew that a number of his Cabinet men were patently against VP Leni’s sitting in Cabinet meetings. Others were openly uncomfortable.
The rest is now in the pages of the country’s contemporary history.
And finally, the most dreadful promise made by DU30, as understood by righteous citizens, Church leaders, those in the academe, and international human rights organizations: That no policeman will go to jail doing what he must do while fighting illegal drug users and distributors.
We have all seen what happened to that Leyte town mayor while being served a warrant of arrest inside his jail.