Noynoy Aquino left his Times Street man-cave to visit the tomb of his father Ninoy, who was to have turned 85th this week. If Noynoy had only gone to the cemetery to display filial piety, nobody would have remarked on the event.
But Noynoy had to open his mouth to say, among other things, that his administration only inherited the problems that were already present in the MRT-3 system from his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. And I wondered: When will this guy ever get a grip on reality?
The indisputable truth is that Aquino’s entire six-year term was marked by doing nothing at all to rehabilitate or improve the MRT-3. What Aquino’s bright boys did was to kick out the reliable maintenance contractor of the Arroyo government in Sumitomo and to distribute the maintenance contract to their friends and political associates.
The only thing Aquino did, apart from tinkering with the MRT contract, was to purchase a batch of trains from China that turned out to be out-of-spec and totally unusable. The Aquino administration’s only concern was to make money off of the train system, without regard for fixing it, in the short or medium term.
And this is why the Duterte administration took the unprecedented step of suing Aquino’s transportation and procurement officials for plundering the train system. The charges filed by the Department of Transportation against Joseph Emilio Abaya, Mar Roxas and a raft-load of other Noynoy executives was precisely intended to hold them to account for what they did.
But this is what Noynoy said by his father’s grave:
“The problems [of MRT] we inherited [and] it came to a point that Sumitomo said you use the MRT too much,” Aquino said. “If you want us to continue the maintenance, we have to charge you more and we cannot give you a warranty.”
I still want to know what powerful stuff Noynoy is smoking. Because nothing he said corresponds with the reality that led to the filing of the cases against Abaya and the rest of his gang recently.
What really happened was, Roxas, Aquino’s first transportation secretary, did not offer Sumitomo a new contract when it expired. Roxas forced Sumitomo to quit by giving the Japanese company a six-month extension, which he then extended for another six months.
This is certainly no way to run a railroad because no maintenance contractor can even source parts without a longer-term deal. And by the time Abaya replaced Roxas, it became clear that what the Noynoy boys wanted was to break up the “single point of responsibility” that Sumitomo had and give it to a bunch of cheap fly-by-night outfits.
Of course, we know that if you hire monkeys, you will pay them cheaper than humans. But you won’t get monkeys to work—whether as maintenance providers for a commuter railroad or as presidents.
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But I’ve always believed that Noynoy’s real problem is that he is so out of touch with reality that he routinely ignores anything that contradicts his version of the “truth.” Aquino, in this sense, is the earliest purveyor of fake news, with the key difference that he actually believes that he is always correct.
The trouble starts when Aquino expects everyone else to believe what he himself believes, never mind if he himself doesn’t doesn’t have any facts to bolster his strange convictions. This is why, to the very end, Aquino cannot understand why the people turned their backs on him and his chosen successor, Roxas.
And to the very end, as well, I guess we will have to expect Noynoy to keep blaming Arroyo for everything wrong that happened during his administration. And if it can’t be blamed on Arroyo, then some other outside agency is at fault —anyone except Aquino himself.
Nobody, of course, believes Aquino anymore. It doesn’t matter if it’s about the plundering and devastation suffered by the MRT or the Mamasapano massacre.
It’s just sad that Aquino, this late in the day, cannot seem to let go of his old, discredited world view. The same world view, by the way, that has been thrown into the dustbin of history with the election of Rodrigo Duterte to the presidency.
My advice to Noynoy remains the same: If he cannot stop himself from leaving his Times Street digs, then he should no longer make any statements like the ones he gave at his father’s graveside.
If he can help it, Noynoy shouldn’t go out of the house at all. I’m sure he doesn’t really need the aggravation at this point, when all he wants to do probably is just to stay at home and do whatever he was doing before his inutile six-year presidency interrupted him.