Bishop chides ‘daang matuwid’ mantra as ‘big joke, empty claim’

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MANILA, Jan. 8, 2014— “Be Real!” 

This was the message relayed by Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz on Monday as he lambasted the “Daang Matuwid” mantra of the Aquino administration, noting that it is nothing but “a comedy, farce, and hypocrisy” for failing to curb the preponderance of graft and corruption in the country. 

“The Presidential initial and proud propaganda of his allegedly administrative integrity and decency in governance expressed in terms of ‘Daang Matuwid,’ ‘Matuwid na Daan’ – or whatever – slowly but surely proved to be but a big joke, a pitiful hurrah, an empty claim,” Cruz, one of the vocal critics of the Aquino administration, said in his blog post titled “Daang Matuwid – A Comedy, A Farce, A Hypocrisy.” 

Cruz chided the government for the “long standing graft and on-going corrupt practices in the different branches and agencies of the government,” particularly the “shameless PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) scam” and the “infamous DAP (Disbursement Allocation Program) that is now poised to fund a Fiscal Dictatorship by the Executive Department.” 

“This is about an initially much welcomed presidential pledge of honor and rectitude in the running of the Philippine government that is day-in and day-out literally paid for by the People of the Philippines all year round, through ever increasing taxes exacted from the citizens not only for the purchase of basic consumer goods but even for the use of public utilities,” Cruz said. 

“Such would be somehow still a welcomed taxation scheme if only the government were really for the people – not simply for the enrichment of public officials from the local to the national levels plus for their continuous and tight hold of power for eventual passing on to their relatives,” he added. 

Multi-biliion scam 

Last year, the multi-biliion peso pork barrel scandal involving some lawmakers and businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles was exposed, enraging the Filipino electorate over the channeling of public funds to dubious non-governmental organizations. 

The public also clamored for the abolition of the DAP, a mechanism used by the present administration to stimulate economic growth, as it was perceived as another form of unconstitutional lump-sum appropriation in the national budget. 

Brought by the nationwide clamor to scrap the pork barrel mechanism, Aquino declared the abolition of the PDAF last August 23, three days ahead of the nationwide protest dubbed as “Million People March” held in Luneta. 

Cruz was among the thousands of Filipinos who joined protests calling for the abolition of the graft-tainted pork barrel scheme. 

President Aquino launched his campaign against corruption through his “Daang Matuwid” slogan when his term started in 2010. 

Cruz made the remark with only a little more than two years remaining in Aquino’s term. 

Fight against gambling 

Cruz, also an anti-jueteng crusader, lamented over the “fast proliferation of official and even upgraded professional gambling in the country.” 

“It is not enough that even the illegal gambling known as Jueteng is now de facto legal,” Cruz said, pertaining to the illegal numbers game widespread in the country. 

“Much less is it enough to promote the already infamous (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) PAGCOR that crawled and operate in all parts of the country frequented by native and foreign gambling moguls,” he added. (Jennifer Orillaza­)

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