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Who hates PNoy?

Leandro DD Coronel
By Leandro DD Coronel
MANILA

From the start of President Benigno Aquino III’s administration, certain groups have been trying to undermine his hold on power. Let’s have a look at who they are.

First is the political opposition, which is directly allied with former President Gloria Arroyo.

It’s a given that the political opposition would attempt to weaken any incumbent leader. But this particular opposition has a particular and more pressing motive to undercut Aquino every step of the way. That imperative is to save their ally and former boss, Mrs. Arroyo, from political and personal extinction. Arroyo’s political survival directly hinges on Aquino’s political strength.

Aquino, from the start of the presidential campaign last year and up to now, has made it his primary platform to go after Arroyo, who has been accused of multiple violations of the Constitution and of abuse of power. At least seven cases, principally of plunder, have been lodged against the former leader and is in mortal danger of living out the rest of her life in prison.

That ultimate fate hangs over Arroyo’s head and she and her diminishing number of allies are desperately working to avert it. Thus, the sustained campaign to undermine and weaken President Aquino and, as an extension, weaken the cases against Arroyo.

Backing up Arroyo in her frantic defense is a battery of expensive lawyers who are using every means at their command to save their client from jail. This even includes, in the eyes of this Observer, telling and teaching their principal client and her potential co-accused to lie, even under oath.

(Which annoys this Observer, because there seems to be no penalty for legal counsel’s apparent coaching of accused personalities to lie.)

The noisiest in the opposition are found in the House of Representatives. Remember these names: Edcel Lagman, Danilo Suarez, Amelita Villarosa and a particularly loquacious but not necessarily lucid one, Mitos Magsaysay.

Here’s their constant refrain: PNoy is incompetent and lazy, which is meant to contrast with the workaholic Gloria Arroyo. This is meant to tell the people that Aquino doesn’t deserve to be President but only got a pass because he’s the son of the revered Ninoy and Cory Aquino. The extended logic is who, then, is Aquino to go after and punish Arroyo? This line is parroted by those allied with Arroyo in other disciplines like the media.

A second dissatisfied bunch includes those who supported other candidates for President in last year’s election, especially those who went for the wealthy but ultimately disbelieved Manny Villar, a former Senate President and currently still a senator. This group simply cannot accept that Aquino beat Villar (and others including convicted former President Joseph Estrada and Mrs. Arroyo’s official candidate, Gilbert Teodoro).

So, in order to justify their choice of candidate, they go around pooh-poohing Aquino as lightweight and undeserving to be President. Some people in general also resent PNoy’s fortune of being thrust into the presidency as if it were his right and entitlement, being an Aquino heir.

There’s a segment of the newsmedia that has been attacking Aquino from Day 1 of his presidency. Curiously, their criticism hews closely to the attacks spewed by Arroyo’s political allies, which leads to the Observer’s suspicion that this part of the media is allied with her and may even be on her payroll.

But why would anybody, not just those in the media, be sympathetic toward Mrs. Arroyo when she, along with her operatives, has caused the country so much damage financially (plundering the people’s treasury), morally (corrupting government officials and institutions)) and to people’s values (cheating and lying). It’s possible that their decision to support her was an amoral decision, meaning it’s not based on moral grounds. Then, that makes them mercenaries.

Still another disgruntled group consists of businessmen and investors who had a field day during Mrs. Arroyo’s administration, landing sweetheart deals left and right, making loads of cash in the process, and laughing all the way to the bank. These people have lost their lucrative source of lucre and are, therefore, unhappy with the current administration. Thus, their griping.

Some of these people may find themselves in the same house of concrete and steel that awaits their former benefactress if and when she starts wearing her orange prison uniform.

For the lack of an appropriate grouping, we might include here unhappy bishops and other high officials of the Catholic Church who were spoiled rotten by Mrs. Arroyo by gifting them with expensive vehicles and cash, ostensibly to be used for their parishioners’ benefit. The Church, as an institution, hardly gave a hoot over Arroyo’s election cheating and abuse of power and never raised its voice when many bothered segments of society were calling for her resignation. Today, no more free vehicles and financial largesse for the clergy.

Finally, there are those among the public who simply aren’t impressed with Aquino. They weren’t enamored of the other presidential candidates, either, but they’re indifferent toward Aquino. Having no particular preference on the one hand and no particular dislike for Aquino on the other, they can be considered neutral.

The traditional forces of the ideological Left and Right don’t figure into this discussion. Neither seems to have any particular agenda to dislodge Aquino from office through their chosen means, meaning extra-Constitutional methods of ouster. They still carp, as they usually do, about conditions in the country, but no intelligence report puts them at the forefront of any moves to oust Aquino.

One of the “Arroyo bishops” earlier ran his mouth off about a coup d’etat to oust Mr. Aquino. But I suspect there’s really no such move, it’s simply intrigue or wishful thinking by the political opposition rather than an active plan by the traditional Right whose pastime is to cook up such schemes.

Perhaps this was part of the opposition’s mishief: a navy officer recently came out in the open with a rant against the government and called for an extra-Constitutional ouster of Aquino. What makes this ill-advised military officer’s ouster rant implausible is that it’s early days in the Aquino administration; how could a new government, any government, deserve ouster so early in its incumbency? Doesn’t make any logical or strategic sense.

A lull currently envelops the political opposition. Have they run out of steam?

It’s more like they’ve run out of issues. They’ve also miscalculated. For example, after Aquino’s first one-hundred days in office, they graded the President’s performance with a zero. Where’s the miscalculation? Who gets a zero grade? Nobody. Even a failing student at school still gets a grade of 74 or less. Nobody, but nobody, gets  zero.

Thus, the opposition’s grading made no impact on the public. Simply because nobody gets a zero grade, and a zero grade is nothing but an unbellievable exaggeration.

Congressmen Lagman et al also gripe about not getting their pork barrel  (money allocations for projects in the congressmen’s districts). This is funny because starving opposition Congressmen of their pork barrel was one of Gloria Arroyo’s favorite tactics to emasculate the opposition. As former President Estrada likes to quip: “Weather-weather lang ‘yan,<D>” meaning politics is cyclical, everyone gets to enjoy his good day under the sun. Today’s opposition is whining about its own dirty tactic in the past.

The opposition, because it has a pressing agenda — that of rescuing and saving their patroness Mrs. Arroyo from the gallows — will continue to nibble and bite at Mr. Aquino. But they’re not making any headway among the public as Aquino still earns decent marks in surveys and continues to enjoy the people’s trust and support.

That, actually, is the key to how long and how tight Aquino can keep his grip on power. So far he still scores high in the polls, thus neutralizing the opposition.

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