The Grave Sins of the Previous Administration

Many Filipinos continue to believe that the essence of Christmas is giving and forgiving. However, our kind-hearted nature should not hamper the pursuit for accountability and responsibility among former and current public officials, regardless of season or occasion.

The past few weeks have exposed the weaknesses of the Aquino administration on the critical sectors of Public Transportation and Health.

Public Transportation. The general commuting public continues to suffer for the gross incompetence of the previous administration's transportation officials. Eighteen (18) glitches have been reported on MRT Line 3’s operations for the month of December alone. While current Department of Transportation (DOTr) officials are working double-time to address this concern, no amount of remedial measures can compensate for Busan Universal Rail Inc.’s (BURI) failure to provide quality and reliable maintenance in the last four years.

On November 2017, the DOTr terminated the maintenance contract with BURI for failing to comply with the contractual requirements for a complete and updated Computerized Management System. The MRT-3 maintenance contract with BURI was signed during the Aquino administration, after the maintenance agreement with Sumitomo lapsed in 2012. The change of contractor was executed despite the reliable service provided by Sumitomo from the design up to the maintenance of MRT-3, which spanned for about twelve (12) years. Former President Aquino (FPNoy) remains mum on the issue after an unfulfilled promise to be run over by a train should MRT railway works fail to meet scheduled completion

Health. The Duterte administration has also uncovered a serious health concern, following the decision of the previous administration to implement a massive Dengue Vaccination Program. Php 3.5 Billion had been allocated for insufficiently-tested Dengvaxia vaccines, which were supposed to increase the resilience of children against the mosquito-borne virus. A recent warning from Dengvaxia- producer Sanofi revealed an increased risk of severe dengue among children not previously infected. As a result, most of the 830,000 vaccinated children may be affected due to FPNoy’s lack of due diligence in determining the safety of the vaccines.

The Senate Committee hearings conducted on the above-mentioned issues have given us more insight on FPNoy’s inadequate leadership. The Former President has had a penchant to wash his hands off from any accountability and responsibility for decisions made by his cabinet members, particularly on the Dengvaxia and MRT controversies.

It is unfortunate that lives have been claimed and continue to be threatened over FPNoy’s failure to exercise command responsibility during his time. Moreover, we continue to feel the negative effects of his poor leadership.

It is therefore important for all of us to exercise sustained levels of vigilance, even as cases against FPNoy and other erring officials have already been filed before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Heads must roll and the Ombudsman's association with Liberal Party officials should not get in the way of getting justice.

Christmas may be a perfect time to forgive but justice knows no person, affiliation, and season. While sins can be forgiven, they must not be forgotten.

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About the Author
Mr. Aaron Benedict De Leon is currently a Business Development Practitioner in a private consulting firm. He has more than six years of professional experience in leading and managing political and non-government organizations, specializing in organizational management, policy development and program management. He has had stints with notable political/socio-civic organizations, serving in various capacities as: Secretary-General of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP) [2013-2015], Founding Chairperson of the Centrist Democratic Youth Association of the Philippines (CDYAP) [2012-2014], Philippine Representative to the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) [2011-2012], Chairperson of the Christian Democratic Youth [2011-2012], Secretary-General of YOUTH Philippines [2010-2011], and Spokesperson/Communications Director of the GT2010 Gilbert Teodoro Presidential Campaign [2009-2010].
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