Thursday, September 9, 2010
First off, I’m not sure the President should be speaking on the hostage crisis since the panel he assigned to probe the tragedy has yet to wrap up its job. The last thing Mr. Aquino wants at this point is fuel public suspicion that he is preempting the possible assignment of blame on his favorite aides.
That’s a valid concern, given the President’s penchant for being vocal about his personal relationships with government officials. He is quick to defend his closest friends or show disdain for people he doesn’t like. My sources say he has shown anger over calls for the resignation of a particular dear friend, which probably explains his effort to accept full responsibility for the Aug. 23 disaster.
There’s another thing that disturbs me: It’s getting to be a habit among the President’s aides to use their Chief Executive as a lightning rod whenever they screw up. This is something that should be laid at the awkward feet of that three-headed monster called the communications group.
If we are charitable and concede that the bloated bureaucracy is not due to IOUs but to real needs, then these errors – tortuous displays of one body being pulled three different ways – are really deplorable because they are preventable. Instead of doing the simple, logical thing – communicating among themselves – we have people racing to plug their spin first and then spending precious time and energy a) correcting, b) undermining, c) or backtracking.
The President is clearly his own best spokesman. But that doesn’t mean he should be used like some mascot trotted out to turn grumblings into praise. At the very least, that strategy could grow old – FAST – especially if actions do not keep pace with the Palace spinning wheel.
Still, since there is no stopping the 1:30 Harapan with ABS-CBN, GMA7 and TV5, I might as well also throw in some questions:
1) Your Excellency, do you really still feel that you need three communications secretaries? (Including Spokesman Edwin Lacierda who, amazingly, is beginning to look as the best of the three com-men).
2) Did you or anyone in the Cabinet turn down DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo’s offer of help on Aug. 23.?If this is a lie, please tell us straight.
3) Considering the Cabinet is like a family, why didn’t anyone consult DFA Secretary Romulo on how to handle a crisis involving foreign nationals? I’d also like to know if Romulo (or any of his aides) volunteered any information or offered to help?
4) How closely will you follow the recommendations of the hostage crisis probe panel?
5) What security concerns made you insist on controlling powers over the police instead of handing these over to the DILG secretary?
6) Do you think it is kosher to have someone who had (and could have again) commercial relations with the PNP oversee the same agency?
7) Your Excellency, why was Mayor Lim’s very important role in the hostage tragedy initially kept under wraps?
8) What are we to do if the NBI actually finds that some of those hostages were felled by friendly fire?
I’m sure others have their own questions.
*ANC is showing Harapan live and there will be live streaming at abs-cbn.com. And I, hehe, will liveblog on Facebook.