AT a speech before members and supporters of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom last week, President Aquino began a countdown until the end of his term.
“Only 161 days remain before I am granted my own freedom to enjoy life as a private citizen,” Mr. Aquino said, reprising his role as the reluctant president who must sacrifice his creature comforts for the benefit of the Filipino people.
This is a role Mr. Aquino has played many times before.
On one occasion, he said he needed “to take at least a year’s break and recharge and recover from all the tensions, turmoil [and] concerns over the past six years.”
He also said he looked forward to staying in bed without having to wake up too early, and “laze around and get used to living” in his house on Times Street again.
Like the President, we look forward to June 30, 2016, for similar reasons.
We too, can use a break from the tensions, turmoil and concerns caused by an inept, unfeeling, vindictive and unjust president.
We look forward to the housecleaning that must follow, particularly in agencies that Mr. Aquino has allowed his cronies to plunder. The Department of Transportation and Communications is a prime candidate—for all the pain and suffering it has caused to millions of motorists and commuters alike. In the last six years, the head of this department, Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya—an ally of the President—has allowed public transport services to deteriorate, letting commuter trains run late and even off the tracks, and making motorists wait more than a year for license plates for which they have already paid, all because of dubious maintenance and supply contracts he chose to sign.
We look forward to a government that has compassion for the working men and women, not one that rejects any form of tax relief for overburdened workers and denies elderly retirees even a measly increase in their Social Security System pensions, while granting the executives that run the agency obscene bonuses that run into millions of pesos.
June 30, we hope, will also mark the end of a president that applies justice selectively, targeting only his political enemies while sparing his friends and allies who have run their agencies into the ground. We certainly look forward to a just administration that will make Mr. Aquino and his cohorts accountable for the damage they have done, and for the crimes they have committed in the name of “the straight path.” These crimes would include the corruption of our democratic institutions through the wholesale bribery of lawmakers to convict by impeachment an uncooperative chief justice of the Supreme Court.
This quest for justice, however, need not be done in the vindictive manner in which Mr. Aquino has gone after and demonized his predecessor. The next administration need not sacrifice all the time, effort and resources toward persecuting its rivals or getting even, as Mr. Aquino has done in his six years. There are, after all, more important matters at hand—such as making this country more livable for the vast majority of Filipinos who have suffered under Mr. Aquino’s term.
Only 158 days until we have a new leader. We can hardly wait.