A future without BS

President BS Aquino. Photo from Manila Bulletin.
President BS Aquino. Photo from Manila Bulletin.

Come to think of it, the single, most compelling argument in favor of President BS Aquino’s resignation is this: We will get rid of the biggest stumbling block and most gigantic hindrance to attaining justice and accountability. And as a big bonus, we could embark on a period of vital reforms we need as a nation but deprived by this administration.

The Yellow Army remnants and the most opportunist traditional politicians lusting for 2016 won’t admit it, but if BS Aquino remains in office, there is no realistic prospect that he would tell the truth or be made accountable for the US-directed Mamasapano operation.

Under BS Aquino, we would never get to the bottom of the heist of nearly a trillion pesos in public funds perpetrated through a pork barrel scheme called the Disbursement Acceleration Program. BS Aquino invented it, and continues to defend it.

Under BS Aquino, we would never get a reprieve from high taxes for the middle class, low wages, and awful social services for everyone. BS Aquino has been funding the vaunted “economic growth” through these policies.

Under BS Aquino, we would never get to the truth of what has happened post-Yolanda in Eastern and post-siege in Zamboanga. BS Aquino has only bragged about false stories of success amid terrible conditions and rising prostitution there.

We can only admire those who have spoken up to demand BS Aquino’s resignation because they have seen that we can no longer afford the incompetence, deception, cover up, and mismanagement.

The good thing is that BS Aquino is not irreplaceable. The Constitution itself provides a process of succession. If he chooses to voluntarily resign, the sky would not fall and the world would not end.

We have lots of capable, competent, patriotic, progressive, and morally upright leaders who could fill the tiny void to be left by the Great Pretender.

Many are beginning to see the wisdom from the alternative raised by Noynoy Out Now! (NOW!), a newly formed alliance seeking BS Aquino’s resignation.

If BS Aquino resigns, NOW! asserts that the people have another option beyond the hopelessly-corrupt traditional politicians:

“In place of the Aquino regime, we call for the creation of a People’s Council for National Unity, Reforms, and Peace that will lead the transition to a new and better government. It will be formed, through a democratic process, from the wide array of organizations, groups, and individuals involved in the movement to compel Aquino’s resignation. Its members will be patriotic Filipinos with a track record of leadership in the people’s movement for democratic reforms, with known probity, integrity, and independence.”

NOW! says that this People’s Council could embark on a popular program that would do what BS Aquino refuses to do:

• Create a commission to investigate and prosecute those that are accountable for the Mamasapano fiasco.

• Pave the way for clean and credible elections by putting in place much needed reforms that would prevent electoral cheating and fraud, reduce patronage politics and prohibit political dynasties.

• Abolish the pork barrel system and prosecute those responsible for the DAP and the PDAF scams; ensure transparency through a freedom of information law and accountability through a whistleblowers’ protection law.

• Introduce key economic policies to ensure food sufficiency, land reform, national industrialization, higher incomes and basic social services for the poor and middle class.

• Review lop-sided agreements such as the Visiting Forces Agreement and Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

• Earnestly pursue peace negotiations with the MILF and NDFP by honoring agreements and addressing the root causes of the armed conflicts.

Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, who is known for his integrity and patriotism, could lead this People’s Council.

At any time, we could draw up a list of 20, 30, 50, 100, or even 1,000 of the most capable, most patriotic, and most progressive Filipinos who could join this People’s Council. They may come from local governments and the arts, social movements and the professions, overseas Filipino workers and entrepreneurs, workers and farmers, youth and women, LGBTs and national minorities, developers and startup titans, and inventors and innovators.

In the fight against the Marcos dictatorship, opponents debunked the myth that the dictator was irreplaceable by drawing a list of possible replacements. Each was ready to lead from Day One, either when the dictator resigned or was removed. The same is true today. The same is actually true anytime.

The Filipino people gave BS Aquino a chance to lead the country in 2010 after he claimed to be the nation’s destined leader with the proper DNA and a platform of change. Years has passed and he has used up all the goodwill the nation has given him, insulted the people no end, and displayed either incompetence or vindictiveness. We deserve more than this.

The danger of not solving the BS Aquino problem is that it’s lessons and record would most probably bite us in the future. The next presidents would know that the legendary patience of the Filipino, taken advantage of by opportunists and pretenders, would be misconstrued as a blanket approval for anything criminal. The future generations would look to 2015 and find a nation of cowards who did not take action against a hopelessly incompetent, treacherous, and corrupt administration.

There is still time to change history, map out an alternative vision of the immediate few months and years, and make 2015 a stellar year when Filipinos started a future without BS.

* First published in the Manila Bulletin, 7 March 2015 issue.

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