Stench of corruption is driving the people to oust the Aquino regime

Communist Party of the Philippines
June 3, 2014

Benigno Aquino III and his regime reek of corruption. After close to four years of endless chatter about "clean governance," Aquino has shown himself to be no different from past regimes in terms of promoting and benefiting from bureacrat capitalist corruption.

Aquino is a great pretender. He rode on the people's anger at the corruption of the previous Arroyo regime and styled himself as the champion of the "righteous path." His anti-corruption noise, however, has simply served to camouflage the widespread and deep-seated corruption of the Philippine government under his rule.

The use of government power and privilege for gain by state officials, their families or benefactors remains rampant under the Aquino regime. Corrupt practices under Aquino are exemplified by the following:

  • (a) Making use of public funds to strengthen Aquino's hold on political power. Aquino has used both the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as pork barrel funds in order to have members of congress and senate, as well as local government officials, toe the MalacaƱang line. Public funds have been used to ensure the loyalty of Liberal Party members and diverted to private bank accounts in the form of kickbacks for government officials.

  • (b) Favoring cronies and big oligarchs in granting government infrastructure contracts under the Public-Private Partnership Program. The biggest beneficiaries of government contracts are also the biggest contributors to the Aquino's 2010 presidential campaign--Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco, Henry Sy, Manuel Pangilinan, the Ayalas, Consunjis and other big bourgeois compradors. Bidding for such big-ticket projects as the MRT maintenance contract, the "modernization" of the Philippine orthopedic hospitals and others have been invariaby rigged. In several instances, only one bid was submitted while other qualified bidders withdrawing. This clearly suggests that Aquino's PPP projects have already been negotiated and distributed among his closest big oligarch supporters. It is believed that such negotiations are handled directly by Aquino through his siblings, as in the case of the reported involvement of Ballsy Aquino in the government contract to purchase new train coaches for the MRT.

    The Cojuangco clan has also received bureaucratic favor in having been paid P471.5 million for land acquisition costs of Hacienda Luisita by the Land Bank of the Philippines when it should only have received P304 million.
  • (c) Smuggling through legal and illegal channels. One year into the Aquino regime, it was established by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Direction of Trade that smuggling has worsened threefold compared to previous years and amounted to $19 billion in 2011. Last year, Aquino made a big show of removing his first appointee to the customs bureau and made loud accusations that certain officials have not been following his "righteous path." Yet, not one has been charged or punished, leading to the conclusion that such drama was only meant to remove certain customs officials who whose loyalty to the Aquino clique has been found wanting. Large amounts of smuggled goods, especially rice, onions, garlic, pork, poultry and other agricultural produce continue to be dumped into the Philippine market, pulling down farmgate prices to the detriment of small peasants and rural producers.
  • (d) Granting tax exemptions and holidays to big comprador companies while increasing the tax burden against the people, imposing overly stringent measures against small taxpayers and treating them like criminals. The Aquino regime's tax policies are heavily skewed in favor of big business. As many as 40% of the top 100 companies in the Philippines are not among the Bureau of Internal Revenue's list of top 500 corporate taxpayers. Many foreign big business operations, including oil and mining companies, are among the biggest beneficiaries of tax exemptions. Aquino's tax officials have remained silent on the exemptions granted to big profit-making companies but have vociferously condemned doctors and other small professional and middle-class earners as tax-cheats.
  • (e) Covering up for Aquino's key officials and pro-Aquino members of the congress and senate charged with receiving kickbacks or facilitating the transfer of public funds to private accounts. Despite having been named in the pork barrel scam, Aquino's budget and agricultural secretaries "continue to enjoy the president's trust" and exercise the same power, authority and privilege which they have been accused of using for corruption. Aquino's transportation secretary, despite having been involved in the rigged bidding for the MRT maintenance contract, remains in his cabinet. He describes his public works secretary as one of the most honest despite the fact that the DPWH continues to be one of the flagships of corruption.

The "anti-corruption" rhetoric has simply served as a weapon wielded by the ruling Aquino clique against its political opponents. That it has made use of the pork barrel issue to selectively charge anti-Aquino senators has become starkly clear as none of the pro-Aquino officials accused of receiving kickbacks or bribe money has been similarly subjected to investigations and public condemnation. Meanwhile, it continues to bungle the cases of corruption and plunder against former president Gloria Arroyo and provide her with privileges in detention.

There has been no fundamental change in the orientation of the ruling system. Government remains an instrument of the ruling classes of big compradors, landlords and big bureaucrat capitalists. Political power is wielded by the ruling Aquino clique to serve the interests of Aquino family, its cronies, the pro-Aquino oligarchs and foreign big business.

The broad masses of workers and peasants and the middle class sectors of ordinary income-earners have fast grown tired of Aquino's "righteous path" rhetoric as they have yet to see any fundamental change in the way that the reactionary government is being run. To them, it remains the exclusive domain of the ruling classes. They continue to suffer from the burdens of corruption as public funds line up the pockets of big officials and public health, education, housing and other essential social services continue to deteriorate or become inaccessible.

The Filipino people are already sick of the stench of corruption under the Aquino regime. They demand an end to Aquino's coverups of his officials involved neck-deep in the pork barrel kickback scam. They demand to hold Aquino responsible for the use of pork barrel funds and his promotion of corruption through the discretionary disbursement of billions of pesos of public funds. They demand an end to Aquino's public-private partnership program where big oligarchs connive with the Aquino regime to make use of public funds to burden the people with privatized transportation and other services.

In the face of widespread corruption, the Filipino people intensify their demand for the ouster of the Aquino regime to put an end to its lies, pretensions to righteousness and false claims of economic progress. They call for the establishment of an broad anti-corruption front to unite all democratic forces and isolate the corrupt ruling Aquino regime.

The ever worsening socio-economic conditions of the people underscore the need for them to struggle for the ouster of the Aquino regime. They seek to belie the claims of the Aquino regime that its "good governance" has resulted in a "Philippine miracle". They are vigorously putting forward the demands for higher wages, lower prices, larger budgetary allocations for public education and health services, employment, land reform and other democratic demands.

The Filipino people seek the ouster of the Aquino regime before its term expires in 2016. There is urgency to their struggle to oust the Aquino regime as the Aquino clique is currently seeking to consolidate its political power precisely by controlling the purse strings in order to ensure the outcome of the 2016 elections and perpetuate its power, its lies and corruption.

The CPP and all revolutionary forces support the Filipino people's clamor to oust the corrupt and mendacious Aquino regime. It calls on all democratic forces to unite under the banner of anti-corruption and tear down Aquino's false flags of "good government" and "righteous path." The CPP calls on the New People's Army (NPA) to further intensify revolutionary armed struggle as their contribution to the Filipino people's mass struggles to oust the Aquino regime.

The struggle to oust the bureaucrat capitalist US-Aquino regime is a component of the Filipino people's struggle to overthrow the semi-colonial and semifeudal system.