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Political Cirrhosis

January 28, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

Political Cirrhosis

Ronald Roy — Jan. 28, 2016

It is not exactly the fault of Pres. Noynoy Aquino he is a scion of the largest-ever family-owned hacienda in the country. Wealth is a blessing, and Aquino’s being wealthy may in fact endow him with a good reputation; ‘though this is hardly so where he is viewed as an elitist in conflict with the over two million Social Security System retirees crying foul over his veto of the statute authorizing 2000-peso increases on their pensions.

What makes matters worse for him is that he is the republic’s president, the most powerful official whose oath of office commits him to give justice to each man. He appears convincing by rattling off figures showing that the SSS would go bankrupt if he did not veto the bill; but then, the retirees gone intemperate are in no mood for numbers. We could sympathize with P-Noy, really, were it not for the fact that compelling circumstances show he is chiefly to blame for all the messy SSS pension fiasco.

The Fund’s vulnerability
First off, he alienated them by dishing out this patronizing non-sequitur: “E, marami naman sa inyo ang ‘di mahirap” (many of you are not poor)…whaa?!…a sooo very characteristically tactless remark that fanned an outrage among the pensionados — an affront that quickly stirred public sympathy for them — in light of the following causes of the pension fund’s vulnerability to depletion.

One: Investment errors. Two: Wrongful use of the sinking fund for the internal operations of the institution. Three: Graft leakages. Four: Allocation of unconscionable salaries, bonuses and other perks to SSS officials and officers — the most glaringly obscene package is the monthly sum of over 8 million pesos for SSS President and CEO Emilio de Quiroz, Jr. — that include 2 Executive Vice Presidents, 7 Senior Vice Presidents, 16 Vice Presidents and 9 BOD members/commissioners, all of whom receive a whopping monthly total of around a hundred million pesos in SSS members’ contributions.

Political patronage
A fifth factor is, of course, the open secret that elections open the doors of political patronage in the social security sector as, I guess, in other sectors. The SSS reportedly has receivables amounting to close to P 350 billion due from around 3500 taxpayers that contributed to Aquino’s campaign kitty when he ran for president in 2010 — a situation that emboldens big contributors not to remit to the BIR their employees’ monthly SSS premiums, and makes him look hypocritical whenever he publicly lectures taxpayers on their duties.

Political patronage has long been a practice here, and it is now a late-stage scourge that has afflicted our struggling democracy. There appears to be no remission in sight for the dreaded political disease; and, over the past elections since Aquino became president, he has in fact done the reverse. He has, for instance, aggravated the cancer by favoring the Iglesia Ni Cristo as a prime recipient of presidential accommodations, in exchange for four million INC votes that clinched his win in the 2010 presidential election.

The quid pro quo deal, as everybody probably knows, has netted for the INC presidential appointments in key positions in all branches of the government. It is no wonder then that the beleaguered INC Minister Lowell Menarco is expected to be battered bad in his one-sided match against the INC, a massive monolith that’s widely regarded as a co-equal branch of our government in terms of power.

Parenthetically, while on his way to the Court of Appeals to testify on allegations of corruption, illegal detention and other felonies against certain personalities of the INC hierarchy, Menorca was arrested on charges of libel under circumstances demonstrating the use of naked force.

Notwithstanding that the incident went viral thru social media, no meaningful help is expected to come the pitiable minister’s way because: he — who vowed over five years ago to do justice to each Filipino — won’t allow it, not where servility to the monolith is his strategic recipe for sustainable power.

“I have never been able to conceive how any rational being could propose happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others.” (Jefferson, Letter, 1811) It does not surprise that two powerful men can be very disparate in political thought, and the stories of, say, Mahatma Ghandi and Adolf Hitler are good reminders in our choice between good and evil.

Power builds, but it also destroys. Call it vainglory, conceit or whatever, that directs Aquino’s actions, but his penchant for destructive power suggests an insecurity syndrome that must be relieved at all costs, i.e., even if it means sacrificing others for his own advantage or self-glory, or building his obelisk by contaminating the nation with a deadly disease called political cirrhosis.

09186449517 ronald8roy@yahoo.com
musingsbyroy.wordpress.com @ronald8roy

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