An interesting question, from an article in the Philippine Star.
The last year or months in office are usually spent tying together whatever loose ends are still out there, spending more time reflecting on the years past and deciding the legacies of one’s office that one wants to emphasize and be remembered by, preparing that farewell speech, gearing up for the major transition from being the most visible and powerful person in the land to a life that’s relatively sedate and private, preparing to leave the highest office in the land, basically.
Personally, this transition makes for an interesting subject, for a book. If I’m correct, there’s nothing written yet on the transition years of past Presidents of the Philippines. I’ve had major transitions in my own life and from experience these times were when I’ve had more epiphanies and insights than when I was right in the heat of things. These times were when I could clearly see both the forest and the trees; when I could be relatively at ease going through what I did or didn’t do.
With past Presidents of the Philippines, particularly recent ones, the trajectory has been that their transition years were marred by vendetta carried over from their positions as Presidents. Sad, really. Presidents who’ve left the Office supposedly are in better positions to be mentors especially to the country’s youth, or ambassadors fostering goodwill between and among the country’s regions, or speakers and advocates of important national issues like regional peace and sustainable development, or perhaps writers (the present and next generation would want to know their story or what they’ve learned from the Office that they can pass on). There’s a lot of good things that only they as past Presidents can offer and do. One is, they should have already transcended the pettiness of vendettas.
Right. Back to the query. What do I want the President to do during his final years in the Office? That’s a no-brainer, really, and thank you for posing the question. I want him to help conclude what his Office has helped started: justice for the Filipino taxpayers in regard to the PDAF Scam. The Executive should stand away from the job of the Judiciary but the way this case has evolved is that the former played a significant role, as the welcomed counterpoint to the Legislative whose many members are the accused and to the Judiciary in need of reform.
Normally, it’s the defense who would put up all available legal defense to play for time. But in the PDAF Scam, it’s the prosecution – Government of the Philippines represented by the Ombudsman – who stalled the case. To put it bluntly, the prosecution sent the Filipino public on a wild goose chase. It blurred the lines between defense and prosecution, by identifying itself with the defendant, Napoles, to the extent that it provided her government escort, essentially on taxpayers’ payroll, to and from the Senate hearings and later the hospital. Everybody in the legal world knows that such ought to have been the look out of her legal team (the defense), not the prosecution’s much less the Ombudsman herself or any representative of the Philippine Government for that matter. The latest is the move to amend submitted documentation that will in effect deflect accountability, from the central figure who is Janet Napoles to Senator J.Estrada. What does this mean? Is the Ombudsman saying it’s all been a farce?
I’ve often come across this quote:
When you feel like quitting think about why you started.
Daang matuwid. The straight path. It’s the platform by which President Aquino distinguished himself during the campaign. And it’s the platform that got him the people’s votes. It’s the provision in what his PR team referred to as his social contract with the Filipino people. It’s his promise, made freely. And so the Filipino people expects him to fully deliver on it.
If President Aquino can follow through with his promise, applying it to the PDAF Scam, if he would follow that through and well, then he can have the Nobel Prize, if not the real one, it’s equivalent, the hearts of Filipinos.