Political suicide path

At the rate President Aquino is shooting off his opinions on issues of the day, there is already the fear that his stubbornness is turning into a political death wish. Invariably since the Napoles scandal, he has publicly stated his opinions or statements on the wrong side of reforms or the middle class.

In the case of the pork barrel issue, he turned what might have been a renewed faith in him by announcing the end of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) into a continuing doubt about his sincerity by saying that the twin—Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP)—is good. The effect, of course, is the current public outcry about the abuse of presidential discretionary funds.

When the Zamboanga crisis erupted, he forewent the dialogue-negotiation route and opted for a military solution. In the process, he alienated a significant part of Moro and Mindanaoan public. It also awakened hotheads on both sides of the fence who opposed the terms of the Kuala Lumpur negotiations between the GPH and the MILF.

When the Yolanda super-typhoon ravaged Tacloban City, his immediate presence would have made for a great reconciliation with the opposition and unity with the victims. However, he lost the opportunity immediately by immediately laying the blame for Tacloban’s disaster on the local government unit, who happened to be from the Romualdez clan—a bitter political enemy. He also berated local businessmen when  one of them suggested the declaration of martial law to counter the widespread looting in the city. A diplomatic answer would have sufficed but he had to rub it in by saying: “Ok lang, buhay ka pa naman (It's ok, you're still alive anyway).”
His unrepentant statements trying to downplay the casualty figures and the horrific scope of the typhoon’s destructive impact made many people uneasy. Likewise, there are opinions that the relief operations should still be pursued and that the shift to the rehabilitation phase (and its highlighting) is premature and tends to gloss over the need for more relief.

An insensitive and unsympathetic presidential image is starting to emerge. Worse there is a growing perception of an unprepared presidential leader. The worst is the tale, fictional or otherwise, of a spoiled rich kid out of his environment among people in distress.

The recent issues of the Meralco dizzying price hike, the linking of ERC chair Zenaida Ducut to Napoles, journalist killings, black sand mining, and more tax impositions have put the president on the block and tested his mettle. He failed in all the issues by his basically condescending or evasive positions. The impression is that of an ineffective Aquino government that is captive to big business and consequently hostile to the interests of the poor, the powerless, and the deprived.

The impressions are alive among the middle class, the natural constituency of the president. In this sense, President Aquino will soon be on a path of political suicide if he does not get off his high horse.


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