President Benigno Aquino (PNoy) is well known for his incorruptibility, or so it seems, and it is for this reason that he has been mouthing the mantra of ‘tuwid na daan’ (straight path) as the centerpiece of his administration every time an occasion calls for him to inculcate it in the minds of people.
This is the part of PNoy that is much welcomed and appreciated by majority of the Filipinos in his governance because it has not only resulted in the ouster of a sitting Supreme Court Chief Justice, but, to date, it has also sent into police custody three de facto senators of the realm for plunder charges.
Suffice to say that PNoy’s straight path advocacy of going after corrupt officials and preventing corrupt practices from burgeoning in government is lending credence to his governance.
But, is it really?
If only the act of catching and punishing the culprit for corrupt practices were only sweeping and knows no bound, whether one is a friend or foe, politically, it would be an effort really worth applauding, for then one could see that PNoy really means business.
What seems to be happening, however, is that PNoy’s advocacy appears to be directed only against his political adversaries while excluding those in his political circle no matter how glaringly crooked they are.
What I am saying is that PNoy can be strong-willed and persistent in going after his critics, but can be annoyingly timid and irresolute when it is his men that are put on the spotlight.
Take the case of former Health Secretary Enrique Ona, a PNoy protégé. When Ona got the appointment, there were opposition against him because of his alleged involvement in unethical kidney transplant procedures and organ trafficking during his stint as medical director of the National Kidney Institute.
The Phil Society of Nephrology opposed his practices at NKTI during that time.
Yet, this did not bother PNoy’s conscience and went on trusting the guy. Before Ona went on leave and eventually resigned, he was embroiled in the controversy over the P800 million purchase of a pneumonia vaccine.
PNoy was still hesitant to let go of Ona until he could no longer take the clamor of the people to sack the latter for his corrupt practices.
Fresh in the memory of many is the case of former PNP Director Alan Purisima, a true-blue PNoy protégé, whom the Office of the Ombudsman ordered suspended because of corrupt practices, yet, allowed by PNoy to participate in the planning and execution of the Oplan Exodus that resulted in the now infamous Mamasapano massacre.
Now another PNoy disciple, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala is making unpleasant news while being questioned for his alleged misuse of billions in public funds.
Alcala is being accused of squandering more than P14.4 billion in 2013 in questionable projects that it implemented despite violations of laws and regulations.
According to the Commission on Audit (COA), Alcala’s department wasted huge sums on several anomalous programs using the regular funds it received from the national government and allotments from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
This corruption allegation is so serious that Alcala is finding himself in hot water.
It remains to be seen how PNoy will stand on this issue and whether or not he will continue cuddling Alcala.
This is what I mean when I say that it is the close cabinet member-friends that are making PNoy’s ‘tuwid na daan’ crooked.
And to think that that the most crooked of them all, Vice President Jejomar Binay, continues to be in the cabinet of PNoy!
That in itself speaks volume on how determined PNoy really is in carrying out his ‘tuwid na daan’ advocacy.