P-Noy’s 4th Sona-A A +A
Sunday, July 27, 2014
PRESIDENT Simeon Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III will deliver his State of the Nation Address (Sona) this afternoon in a joint session of the Congress.
This is his fourth Sona since he was elected in 2010. Sona (in Tagalog, Talumpati sa Kalagayan ng Bansa) is an annual address by the President to a joint session of the Congress. It is mandated by the 1987 Constitution and it must be delivered on the fourth Monday of July, during the opening of the Congress every year. A Sona is a way to inform the public about the status or state of the nation, and the accomplishments of the President.
Talking of accomplishments, especially his anti-corruption campaign, I am sure the President will highlight the case of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), especially on the present predicament of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, who are languishing in jail for their alleged involvement in the multi-billion pork barrel scam.
Not to preempt the President, but for sure we can hear these words, “Na-ipakulong na natin ang i-ilang mga senador na sangkot sa katiwali-an sa paggamit ng kanilang pork barrel at marami pang susunod dyan. Hahabulin natin yan sila lahat.”
I am sure the chief executive will still defend the controversial Development Acceleration Program (DAP), which was recently declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC). He will also continue his “tirade” against the High Tribunal because of that decision.
P-Noy, in several speaking engagements, has been attacking the SC, warning its members of a possible “clash” between the executive and judiciary.
Many legal luminaries have criticized the President for his continued attack against the SC, despite Malacanang’s motion for reconsideration. P-Noy should stop while their motion for reconsideration is being heard.
He even accused the SC of committing questionable transactions when it failed to spend some P3 billion, which represents 22 percent of its entire budget, by keeping the amount as “savings.”
The President’s allegations are backed up by findings of the Commission on Audit.
The President’s allies in Congress are also initiating a move to pressure the judiciary by reviewing the use of its Judiciary Development Fund (JDF).
The fund is sourced from the court’s charges like filing fees, which are not remitted to the national coffers but are exclusively for the judiciary’s expenditures, including the benefits of judges and court personnel.
The Congress wants the JDF to be abolished and it wants to call the shots for any appropriations to the judiciary. Now, will the SC blink on its DAP decision with all the pressure from the chief executive and Congress? Will it reverse its 13-0 decision? This will be an acid and litmus test for the SC.
P-Noy has been strongly criticized for protecting and defending Budget and Management Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, who is the architect of DAP and pinpointed by pork barrel scam queen Janet Lim Napoles as her alleged mentor in the scam. This is the irony of this administration. Its anti-corruption campaign is only focused on members of the opposition, while P-Noy’s allies who have committed the same wrongdoings are spared from investigation and prosecution.
Do you really think that those senators allied with the powers that be did not commit what Enrile, Estrada and Revilla committed? For me, they are equally guilty but because they are protected by their “Big Brother” in Malacañang, they remain scot-free. Where are fairness, justice and equality of this administration?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 28, 2014.