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BS Aquino’s legacy: Ad hominem politics

Many of us, I’m sure, have been shaking our heads, even pulling our hair over the childish squabble between Manuel Roxas 2nd and Davao’s Dirty Harry Duterte.

But really to blame is the kind of politics and electoral discourse President Aquino 3rd has imposed on this country.

In debates, there is what’s called the fallacy of ad hominem argument, or that directed against the person rather than his position in the debate. To borrow that phrase, Aquino’s brand of discourse is that of ad hominem politics, or variations of it.

Roxas started the childish squabble by disputing Duterte’s claim that Davao is a peaceful city, calling it not just inaccurate, but a “myth”. He even used the Pilipino word “kathang-isip,” which translates to “fictional.” While such talk, on the surface, appears to be a question of fact, it is really an attack on the person of Duterte as the mayor considers Davao’s peace-and-order situation his unquestionable achievement, especially since he even had to “kill” criminals for it.

Duterte, of course, retaliated by questioning Roxas’ “Wharton” record, which surprisingly hit a raw nerve in this man who is Aquino’s 2016 bet. I wonder why he had been so sensitive about it that he blew his top. One could lose his cool over that if getting into Wharton had been an ordeal, or cost the family tons of money. If that was the case with Roxas, that could explain why he was admitted only in September 1976, two years after he finished high school in 1974.

Roxas’ dig into Duterte’s track record in Davao, rather than debating with the mayor what he intends to do when or if he becomes President, has really been Aquino’s and his camp’s kind of discourse.

They spent hundreds of millions of pesos and the Senate’s valuable time trying to pin the corrupt label on Vice President Jejomar Binay with the help of one of the biggest broadsheets in the country. It was easy, of course, for the Aquino camp to quickly dig up documents showing that Grace Poe Llamanzares isn’t a natural-born Filipino and doesn’t meet the residency requirement to run for the presidency.

Watch how the Commission on Human Rights will swiftly uncover evidence that Duterte did kill criminals. Liberal Party stalwart Chito Gascon, a lawyer, wasn’t made chair of the CHR last July for nothing.

But this has always been the self-righteous mindset of the Yellow Cult: those who aren’t with them are corrupt, evil. Marcos was the Devil incarnate, President Gloria Arroyo was evil and they did nothing, absolutely nothing for the good of the country.  Aquino’s trademark argument, in fact, has been to blame everything that has gone wrong during his term – even the most recent international embarrassment that was the tanim-bala episode – on his predecessor.

The unfair, slow justice system? Take out Chief Justice Renato Corona, as he was picked by Arroyo. The PDAF pork barrel scam? Jail the three opposition senators only. The Mamasapano massacre? Blame it on sacked police chief Alan Purisima, only.

Don’t expect the election discourse to involve such issues as whether the P178 billion conditional-cash transfer (CCT) scheme was a huge dole-out, the most expensive vote-buying scheme ever undertaken in this country; what alternatives do we have in dealing with what is now our biggest trading partner, the People’s Republic of China; what economic program do we have other than just opening up our economy to the world, and hoping the hidden hand of the free-market works; or what do we do with the moribund coconut industry, in which most of our poor are trapped in.

The only thing this yellow regime and its cohorts know is ad hominem political discourse.

Aquino didn’t sign climate-change document?

The revelation was buried deep into the article published Dec. 16 in the opinion pages of this newspaper by Rene Golango, the business sector representative to the advisory board of the Climate Change Commission: That President Aquino had not signed our “pledge” to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Paris assembly of which was hailed as a historic one that could save the planet.

The pledge is technically called the “Intended Nationally Determined Contribution” (INDC) to the world’s effort to stop global warming. Aquino had to sign the document, and not just issue an authorization for someone to sign it, as he was the chairman of the Climate Change Commission.

“For such a critically important international document outlining official commitment/s of the Republic, the Chairman’s imprimatur should be required, “
Golango pointed out.

Golango also noted; “The Philippine INDC was submitted under the authorship of former Climate Change Commission Commissioner Lucille Sering (aided by Climate Change Office Deputy Executive Director Joy Goco). By sequence, Goco announced that Sering resigned her position in September 2015. Yet, a covering letter dated October 1st [attaching the INDC] submitted to the UNFCCC on its face was signed by Sering.”

So could Sering sign the document and submit it, when she was no longer with the Climate Change Commission?

Golango explained:  “The Commission is composed of three Commissioners, plus the President of the Philippines as its Chairman; only the Chairman can call for a meeting of the Commission…” There is no showing of a Climate Change Commission en banc meeting convened for the purpose of approving the INDC, and authorizing its release and/or submission to the UNFCCC.

It would turn out to be a big embarrassment for the country, that we submitted a document for such a crucial initiative of mankind that wasn’t signed by the head of the Philippine Republic.  I even doubt that Aquino read the document.

No wonder it was such a naïve pledge, that we promised to reduce our CO2 emission by 70 percent by 2030.  No other country was stupid enough to promise that much reduction, with our neighbors in Asia pledging at most only a 30 percent cut.

The only way we could, perhaps, achieve a 70 percent reduction is by banning all vehicles on EDSA and closing all factories in the country.

Such stupidity has been, anyway, the new normal for this Administration.