For once, President Noynoy Aquino gave a speech without attacking Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. He had, after all, even bigger fish to fry.
Yesterday’s 30th people power anniversary was highlighted by a speech from Aquino, who ripped into the Marcoses, past and present. And hit himself and his family, too, in the process.
The breathtaking lies told by Aquino, when fact-checked, will make your head spin. Let’s consider just some of the humongous whoppers he narrated in his speech, okay?
Early in Aquino’s speech, he claimed that Ferdinand Marcos’ administration was responsible for the ballooning of the national debt. According to Aquino, the national debt when Marcos assumed office in 1965 was P2.4 billion; by 1985, a year before he left, the national debt had reached P192.2 billion.
Only last week, the Freedom from Debt Coalition said basically that, when it comes to increasing the national debt, Aquino made Marcos look like a market vendor borrowing from the Indian “five-six.” The “debt-addicted” Aquino administration, from 2011 to 2015, borrowed P4.16 trillion from domestic and foreign lenders, upping the national debt to P6.4 trillion in those five years alone, FDC said.
Now, if Aquino had made it his goal to surpass Marcos in building public infrastructure, I wouldn’t complain so much. But according to former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Aquino underspent P1 trillion in appropriated funds during the same five-year period—and half of all the money his administration borrowed, FDC’s Ed Tadem said, went to pay other outstanding debts.
Now, who borrowed more? And who gave us a lot less, in the bargain?
Aquino also reiterated his claim that his administration is a “golden age of returning Filipino workers.” To my knowledge, Aquino has never presented any data, anywhere, to support this fantastic claim.
But according to Migrante International, the Philippine Overseas Workers Administration’s official data show that the number of OFWs deployed annually from 2010 to 2014 increased steadily from 1,470,826 to 1,844,710. On a daily basis, Migrante said, still citing POEA data, that from 4,018 departures in 2010, 6,092 were leaving by 2014—an increase of 50 percent. Migrante said that the number of OFWs has increased so greatly since Aquino took office that by 2012, “at least one-fourth of the country’s labor force has gone abroad to find work.”
According to the Department of Labor and Employment, there are now 12 million OFWs abroad. Migrante itself pegs the number of overseas Filipinos between 12 and 15 million, to include undocumented workers.
No, Aquino did not stop the “brain drain” that Marcos started, as he claimed. Far from it—he was just lying, as usual.
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Moving to the contemporary Marcos, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Aquino said that the senator and his colleague, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, conspired to make the passage of his pet Bangsamoro Basic Law impossible in the Senate, where the draft legislation didn’t even make it past interpellations. But what Aquino didn’t say was that, even in the Palace-controlled House of Representatives, the BBL could not get passed, either.
Did he blame Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, who was seated right behind him when he made the speech? Of course not.
Then Aquino unleashed what he probably thought was his most potent weapon. He castigated the younger Marcos for not apologizing for anything that he or his family had done in the past.
“The saying is true: The sins of the father must not be visited on the child. But this is what hurts: The offspring of the dictator could say that ‘my father made mistakes, we made mistakes; give us a chance to make amends.’
“Instead, this is what he said: ‘I am ready to say sorry if I knew what I have to be sorry for,’” Aquino said, quoting the younger Marcos. “If he doesn’t see the mistakes of his family, how can we be assured that he will not repeat them?”
This, from the freshly-minted Chief Executive who started escalating tensions with China just two months into his term by never admitting to anything and not punishing anyone for the killing of Chinese tourists at the Rizal Park in August 2010. This, from the President who never admitted that his government mishandled the response to typhoon Yolanda in 2013—and who therefore absolved all of his officials who bungled the relief and rehabilitation effort, that is still way beyond satisfactory to this day.
This, from the man who never even apologized for sending 44 elite police commandos to their deaths in a suicide mission that he never took responsibility for. And who has never, ever admitted that he was wrong about anything in all his time as probably the most inept, incompetent and unfeeling person to ever hold that most important of jobs.
And if Aquino wanted to apologize for what his family did in the past, he can start with his grandfather and namesake, who was a Japanese collaborator during World War II. But I guess having Ninoy and Cory in the next generation absolves the family from all that, right?
I don’t have the space, unfortunately, to fact-check Aquino’s entire speech. But these examples should give you, dear reader, an idea.