PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III faces “a formidable destabilization plot” from a growing number of enemies from the left and the right, disillusioned by his many undelivered promises and his selective prosecution of those involved in the pork barrel scam, a political analyst said Sunday.
Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform or IPER, told radio dzBB that Aquino faces a critical period between now and the next election in which clashes between the administration and its enemies could become “bloody and personal.”
Casiple said the destabilization began at the Ayala rally last year when protesters branded President Aquino as the “Pork Barrel King” for refusing to give up his own discretionary funds.
The Ayala rally, Casiple said, snowballed into a much bigger rally last June 12, when the protesters started demanding President Aquino’s ouster.
“You cannot discount the range of possible scenarios in which the plotters would resort to extra constitutional measures. That’s how serious the political fight for survival has become. I’m not only talking about those who had been charged with plunder and graft cases over the pork barrel scam. Include also the camp of former President [Gloria] Arroyo. In several instances, the Arroyo camp was accused of mounting a destabilization plot but these remained to be rumors,” Casiple said.
The administration’s enemies have grown in number and these groups are talking now,” Casiple said, noting that politics makes for strange bedfellows.
Casiple said the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) headed by Vice President Jejomar Binay is nominally in the opposition, but in the Congress, except for Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco, UNA lawmakers are allied with the majority and the President.
Casiple said there will be “plots and counterplots” and all issues against the administration, including personal ones, would be fair game.
“You could see in the June 12 rally who were the actors and the calls made. The call was ouster,” he said. “The charges put forth by the protesters were that PNoy was protecting his allies who were equally implicated in the scam. You can see that the fight that’s coming will be no-holds barred.”
He added that there was a military dimension to the threat, noting the involvement of many former military officials.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma played down Casiple’s observations.
“The government is prepared to respond to actions by threat elements. Scenarios drawn up by political observers should not be taken at face value as these need to be validated,” he said.
UNA’s Tiangco said this was the first they have heard of a destabilization plot and vowed to oppose such a move.
“UNA will not take part in any destabilization plot because it is against the coalition’s plan to win the presidency in 2016,” Tiangco said. “If elections were held today, surveys show that Vice President Binay will win the elections. He garnered 40 percent in the recent survey. We would push for elections and win in a manner provided for in the Constitution.”
He added: “It is against UNA’s interest and the country’s to be plotting a NOEL or No Elections [scenario]. Those who would resort to that are those who are tailing the surveys and have no chance at all to acquire power legally or through elections.”
A recent Social Weather Station survey showed that if elections were held today, Binay would garner 40 percent of the vote, while the ruling Liberal Party’s likely candidate, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II would muster only 6 percent.
“We have no reason to disrupt the electoral process. It is against our plans. If the plot is true, then we will aggressively and seriously fight it,” Tiangco said.
In the House, the left-leaning lawmakers said the arrest of Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. and the impending detentions of Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile have done nothing to stop the misuse of discretionary funds.
“The graft ridden pork barrel still thrives in the 2014 budget, specifically the estimated P1 trillion lump sum under the discretion of President Aquino including but not limited to the much abused Malampaya Fund, the Special Purpose Fund, the President Social Fund, the road users fund and the intelligence fund of various departments and agencies,” Bayan Muna Reps. Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate said in a joint statement.
The two lawmakers pushed for “people’s initiative” to compel the President to abolish all pork barrel, including his own.
They also lamented that presidential allies like Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad remain unscathed by any investigation, even though they were implicated by several pork barrel scam whistle blowers.
“As it is, only the opposition is being hit.... As things stand now, maybe some small fry allies of the President may also be sacrificed but not the big fish,” Colmenares and Zarate said.