Arroyo’s AO 255: The Last Insult To The Filipino Mind


Chiz Escudero seems to be reading Bulan Observer for now he just dared President Arroyo to “show sincerity in her moral renewal campaign”, this just after I have posted Strengths And Weaknesses Of  The Filipino Political Character where I used the concept of sincerity as the foundation of a sustainable political culture. Yet,  kidding aside, such a simple concept as sincerity can make a big world of difference to the status of a nation. This is the very reason why the Philippines is not Switzerland – it’s because of the lack of sincerity among our heads of states. Take away sincerity among the Swiss politicians and you’ll get a poor and languishing Switzerland, perhaps poorer than the Philippines because its geography is poor, just piles of gigantic rocks and ice.  No matter how  the Philippines islands abound with natural wealth, poverty is everywhere when leaders are not sincere,  though one thing  is sure to abound: corruption.

But Eduardo Ermita declares that corruption is unknown in Malacanang, suggesting that his president is a very sincere public official when he points out that, “There’s no question whatsoever that President Arroyo has the highest moral standard to make a call on moral recovery” being elected president and head of some 89 million Filipinos.

Again, such statement can only come from the logic of greed – that’s why the distortion of facts. First, Arroyo achieved the highest ascendancy of power by electoral fraud  and vote buying, not by having the highest  ascendancy of moral standard during and after the election. The end does not always justify the means. She partly bought herself to power ( ask Joc-Joc Bolante for details) and partly “called”  herself to power (call Garci also for details). Second, becoming a president by whatever means does not automatically put you into the highest ascendancy of moral standard, you  have to work for it once in office and in case of Mrs. Arroyo she should have instructed her husband Mr. Arroyo to stay away from Broadband and World bank projects and other frauds.  An Abbu Sayyaf rebel, were he to become president would not automatically remove the terrorist in him. Third, she’s head only to those who elected her legally and out of free will and choice but certainly not the head to all the other Filipinos who

  • elected her not by by free choice,
  • did not exist or once existed before 2004 but dead since then ( but whose names appeared on the list of voters)
  • and to those who did not elect her at all.

Ermita is good at reminding us that there are now 89 million Filipinos, but his logic of greed would want us to believe his shallow  trick again with this figure by associating it with  calculated subtlety the pleasant adjectives “elected” and “head of state”, suggesting to our subconscious the  mandate of 89 million Filipinos to Arroyo. What a head is this Ermita. I guess, he attended some lectures in general psychology, if not, a magician school somewhere in Quiapo. Without Arroyo, he might have been a successful executive magician by now. Again, be that as it may, I hope the Ifugaos, Igorots, Tausugs, Samals and all the other national minorities, the MILF including  Abbu Sayaf and his people, the  communist NPA and the opposition sector, the many OFW’s, the missing student and union leaders and journalists, those millions of jobless, those parents and relatives of the victims of extra-judicial killings, the Smoky Mountain people, those  living families housing in cemeteries, those children in prisons or children working in mines and all the sex workers  were also included in this 89 million Filipinos who- as Mr. Ermita claims- consider Mrs. Arroyo as their head. Again, what a head.

In summary, the 2004 election was not an affirmation of Arroyo’s moral ascendancy, as Ermita claims, but a negation thereof.

Do you consider somebody your president even if you did not elect her? Perhaps a good performance would change your mind, but in Arroyo’s case the Philippines plummeted into abysmal depths of corruption scandals and human rights violations, rated very low internationally in all categories, so I don’t think you would change your mind. It’s  not only too late, but your trust is simply not there. And she is not being sincere. And without sincerity, how would she lead a moral renewal program-  and all that  in the last minutes? She reminds me of Jose De Venezia whose logic is familiar to us; he also called for a last minute- moral revolution.

Arroyo implemented last January 30 the Administrative Order 255 (AO 255) “directing the heads of the executive departments to lead moral renewal in their agencies”. Again, a tricky order for if you examine it closely, this is an empty order for the agencies for it doesn’t hit the core of the issue- i.e., the whereabouts of the stolen money or money to be stolen in the future. But this maybe is  substantial for her own interests in connection with the corruption charges facing her husband. Empty for it doesn’t provide solid legal  mechanisms that could help investigators in the corruption hearings  in the senate to-date and in the future. All in all, this AO 255 sounds fairly similar to a Sunday sermon that people listen to but forget the next moment.

Escudero countered and showed more substance when he –  in conjunction with this AO 255- dared Arroyo to “show her sincerity by endorsing the passage of SB No. 1746, which aims to exempt government officials from the Bank Secrecy Act, and SB No. 1242 that seeks to penalize influence peddling or the mere act of representing oneself to another person having a transaction or request with the government.”

That’s what has been lacking in this administration,- substance,  a substance that would have assured each Filipino family three square meals a day and send their children to  school and find employment. We know that Arroyo neglected our educational system, sacrificed national interests for her own private interests, that her administration has practically squeezed out everything that is positive in the Filipino and stripped the country of its remaining decent clothing before the world. Now, she wants to make up for everything by calling for a moral renewal, which is the last-  we hope – of her series of  insults to the Filipino mind. For her dance with Cha-Cha we know that she has no more chance and barely the time that should hold her calculating, capricious mind.

 Hence, it is propitious that we have vigilant young senators like Escudero, Lacson and Legarda that serve as our windbreak from the typhoons that come from Malacañang that have  for years blown the Filipino spirit to apathy and catapulted millions of citizens out of the country. We have to respect these young senators, judge them not according to some trivial issues, but to the substance of their legislative works and political arguments.


 jun asuncion

Bulan Observer


—————-Related News———————————-

Senate Press Release

February 18, 2009

Show sincerity in moral renewal drive
Chiz dares Arroyo to back 2 anti-corruption measures

Senator Chiz Escudero on Wednesday dared President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to show sincerity in her “moral renewal” campaign by backing two anti-corruption bills seeking the exemption of government officials from the Bank Secrecy Law and imposing penalties on influence peddlers in government.

He made the call after Arroyo ordered Cabinet officials to lead a “moral renewal” campaign following the latest allegations of corruption involving the First Gentleman and other former solons and officials of her administration. “A legacy of corruption is the last thing you want the public to remember you by when you step down from office,” he said in a statement.

Escudero said Arroyo can show her sincerity by endorsing the passage of SB No. 1746, which aims to exempt government officials from the Bank Secrecy Act, and SB No. 1242 that seeks to penalize influence peddling or the mere act of representing oneself to another person having a transaction or request with the government.

He pointed out that the allegations of bid-rigging in the World Bank road-building project, as well as the purported payoffs in the case of the “Alabang Boys”, requires immediate, strong corrective responses from government.

“The law should not be a refuge of scoundrels posing as public servants,” said Escudero.

Last January 30, Arroyo issued Administrative Order 225 ordering cabinet officials to launch “moral renewal” campaigns in their respective agencies.

“The public trust in government has been eroded by numerous allegations of wrongdoing by government officials and personalities close to the administration,” the opposition senator said.

As chair of the committee on constitutional amendments, revision of codes and laws, Escudero held a hearing last Tuesday on proposed changes to the government procurement act. He filed SB No. 1476 in 2007 in a bid to plug loopholes in the Government Procurement Act.

“Transparency and open governance should be the norm because that’s the only way we can truly clean up the system and restore public trust,” he emphasized.

Escudero said it is the poor who are ultimately the victims of corruption in government, pointing out that it diverts funds intended for crucial social services – such as healthcare, education and housing.


PGMA’s election in 2004 affirmed her moral ascendancy, says Ermita , Press secretary

As an elected leader of the land, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has all the qualifications, particularly the moral ascendancy to lead the nation in the implementation of a moral renewal program for government agencies.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita pointed this out in reply to some administration critics questioning the credibility of the President in the implementation of Administrative Order 255 (AO 255), which she signed on Jan. 30 “directing the heads of the executive departments to lead moral renewal in their agencies.”

“There’s no question whatsoever that President Arroyo has the highest moral standard to make a call on moral recovery,” Ermita said noting that in 2004 she was elected president of the philippines and head of some 89 million Filipinos.

Last week, the President issued AO 255 tasking all her Cabinet officials and agency heads to implement a moral renewal program in their respective agencies in coordination with religious and civic groups that include measures for values formation and zero tolerance for corruption.

Under the AO, the President wants all Cabinet officials and heads of offices to ensure that all attached agencies and bureaus adopt and implement the Integrity Development Action Plan (IDAP), which is part of the National Anti-Corruption Framework for the executive branch.

The President said the department heads should also expand and strengthen the membership of the integrity committee in every department, agency, bureau and office and the moral renewal should also include the conduct of values formation activities with the Presidential Council on Values Formation.

All agencies shall submit their respective action plans for their Moral Renewal Program to the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC), copy furnished the President, within 90 days upon the effectivity of the administrative order.

Agencies were also directed to allocate a portion of their maintenance, operations and overhead expenditures budget to fund values formation and anti-corruption programs.

The President said the PAGC would monitor and evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of the moral renewal program to include surveys of personnel from all levels.