What’s the deeper mean­ing of the “tem­pest” on the bud­get?

The Freeman - - OPINION -

Those who are wise enough to dis­cern the pat­terns of Philip­pine pol­i­tics, and per­haps un­der­stand the dy­nam­ics be­tween power play and money-in­duced up­roars in the roug­hand-tum­ble game of pol­i­tics would read­ily ap­pre­ci­ate the deeper mean­ings and far-reach­ing im­pli­ca­tions of the cur­rent hul­la­baloo on the na­tional bud­get. To the minds of those who aren't naïve, Rolando An­daya is the hit­man of GMA and is not really a knight in the shin­ing ar­mor try­ing to save the Philip­pines from the al­leged shenani­gans of Bud­get Sec­re­tary Ben­jamin Dio­kno. An­daya him­self has a lot of ex­plain­ing to do on his per­for­mance as for­mer bud­get sec­re­tary. And this ruckus is really a proxy war; An­daya ver­sus Dio­kno on be­half of GMA ver­sus the Duterte anti-pork bar­rel ad­vo­cacy.

This po­lit­i­cal melee ac­tu­ally erupted when Se­na­tor Ping Lac­son (the true ad­vo­cate against pork bar­rel in­ser­tions) ques­tioned why the small sec­ond dis­trict of Pam­panga was al­lo­cated an in­ser­tion of P2.4 bil­lion. This dis­trict is cur­rently rep­re­sented by the newly-in­stalled speaker, who ousted for­mer speaker Be­bot Al­varez, and soon to be rep­re­sented by GMA's high-pro­file son, Mi­kee, (who once as­pired to be the party-list rep­re­sen­ta­tive of tri­cy­cle driv­ers and se­cu­rity guards). Lac­son also ques­tioned why the re­mote hin­ter­land of Ca­marines Sur, rep­re­sented by An­daya, was fa­vored with a P1.9 bil­lion in­ser­tion.

That Lac­son ex­posé trig­gered the An­daya up­roar, hit­ting Dio­kno by way of col­lat­eral dam­age. They are not bold enough to con­front Pres­i­dent Duterte or his DPWH sec­re­tary of the pow­er­ful Vil­lar po­lit­i­cal em­pire. They found Dio­kno vul­ner­a­ble and hit him. On the other hand, Dio­kno must really ex­plain why the small and thinly-pop­u­lated prov­ince of Sor­so­gon would get P10 bil­lion in 2018 and an­other P6 bil­lion in 2019. Dio­kno must ex­plain to the peo­ple why the par­ents-in-law of one of his chil­dren would be so fa­vored with too many pub­lic works projects in their hin­ter­land lo­cal­i­ties, while the more pop­u­lated towns were al­lowed to suf­fer floods and land­slides dur­ing typhoon Us­man. Re­gard­less of An­daya's mo­tives, Dio­kno must ex­plain why a small con­struc­tion com­pany al­legedly in­cor­po­rated by his son-in-law would get no less than P551 mil­lion in pub­lic works projects.

Dio­kno might be in­no­cent but he placed him­self in a sit­u­a­tion which isn't be­yond reproach. He failed to ex­er­cise the dili­gence of a good fa­ther, as the Civil Code and the Re­vised Ad­min­is­tra­tive Code re­quires cus­to­di­ans of pub­lic funds. Al­beit the real mean­ing of this rum­pus among politi­cians is that this is noth­ing but po­lit­i­cal con­fronta­tions of the po­lit­i­cal ti­tans like GMA and the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion. GMA was a res­ur­rec­tion by Duterte, She was in de­ten­tion and it was un­der the Duterte gov­ern­ment that she grad­u­ally found her po­lit­i­cal re­birth, like Erap with their last hur­rah. Per­haps the Duterte coali­tion com­mit­ted a po­lit­i­cal “faux pas” in oust­ing Al­varez and putting in power a much-ma­ligned GMA. By the An­daya an­tic, GMA has demon­strated that she is not a true and gen­uine ally of this ad­min­is­tra­tion. She is bit­ing the hands that put her back in the lime­light.

The deeper mean­ing of this po­lit­i­cal tur­moil is that politi­cians can never be trusted for grat­i­tude, and that in pol­i­tics, there are in­deed nei­ther per­ma­nent friends nor per­ma­nent en­e­mies. There is only per­ma­nent greed for power and money. Ce­buanos should have known this truth long ago.

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