TREVOR ISBELL WRITES – Talk of a possible impeachment of President Benigno S. Aquino is making the rounds among the Philippines citizenry.
It stems from allegations that Aquino mishandled funds from a controversial government works project known as the Disbursement Acceleration Program, or DAP.
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago set tongues wagging about possible impeachment by claiming Aquino’s release of funds within the DAP was possibly unconstitutional. Many Filipinos are now rallying to the anti-Aquino cause, some even creating Facebook pages to help garner support.
While such political activism is encouraging in a nation with so much corruption, other public figures see impeachment as unnecessary or, at best, improbable. Former Senator Joker Arroyo asked the country to simply not force the question. “Let us not trivialize the process of impeachment,” Arroyo stated. “When overused, it is drained of its cathartic value and it becomes terribly stale. I have always maintained that not every misstep of an impeachable officer is impeachable.”
On the other hand, since Aquino has almost complete control over Congress, such an attempt at impeachment seems laughable to others. Even President Aquino himself is seemingly careless about the possibility of his own impeachment and has even dared his critics to attempt such a feat.
While it’s true impeachment talk is probably more bark than bite (for now), Aquino seems to be missing the larger point that his country, his people and his constituency are talking about how badly they want him out.
Rather than inciting more anger towards his leadership with an arrogant dismissal of this impeachment possibility, Aquino would be smart to realize that, whether or not he thinks he did something wrong, the people who elected him are unhappy with his performance as president. Perhaps this would be a better time for reflection and revision of his leadership style rather a perpetuation of the image of a corrupt power-hungry “Aquino overlord” his critics are attempting to portray.
Aquino needs to realize that what’s most important is not whether he can be impeached, but that he may be letting his country down, and thus losing legitimacy as a leader.