A convenient confusion

It’s a given: Whoever holds power in Malacañang has the distinct advantage. But that it’s a given does not mean it should be taken without question.

These final months of the Aquino administration, the focus of the President’s entire team appears to be ensuring that his anointed, the former Secretary of the Interior and Local Government, gets elected as president in May 2016. Manuel Roxas II is being made out to be the only person able to continue the straight path of good governance that the President has begun.

Mr. Aquino himself leads his team in blurring the lines between government, which is supposed to cover Filipinos whatever their political stripes, and the Liberal Party, of which he is chairman but which only applies to its Yellow-shirt sporting members.

On cue, Palace spokespersons like Secretary Edwin Lacierda have also jumped into the murky pool that confuses their official functions with the political interests of the president they speak for. 

They have done so to a point that the putative vice presidential candidate of another camp has called on the spokesman to resign for serving the party in the guise of speaking for the highest official of the land.

The Senate president and the vice chairman of the Liberal Party was quick to come to the spokesman’s rescue. Senator Franklin Drilon said Lacierda need not resign because he is not even a member of the Liberal Party anyway.

What he is, Drilon continues, is an extension of the President. And since this is a political season, the spokesman can very well speak on behalf of the country’s political leader.

This is precisely what’s wrong. Mr. Aquino should have stopped being a politician when he got elected to Malacañang. He should have ditched his yellow-ribbon pin for something more unifying, say a Philippine flag. That he is leader of the entire nation is so much more important than his being a leader of a single political party.

Then again, must we expect this straight-path-treading, do-nothing-wrong administration to even admit that it is wrong or out of bounds? In the past five years, we have had plenty of practice. We should give up expecting our Yellow leaders to own up to the fact that they are, like so many of their predecessors whom they have publicly despised, milking their incumbency advantage to the hilt.

We feel strongly but cannot do anything about it. All we can do is to remember this arrogance and this hypocrisy when we’re voting.

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