What’s in a name?


    “A ROSE by any other name will still smell as sweet,” according to Shakespeare’s Juliet. It should follow that the durian by any other name will still smell as bad.

    What about the Priority Development Assistance Fund or the PDAF? Likewise there is this recent concoction called the Disbursement Acceleration Project or DAP. Are they the same dog with just different collars? Senators Joker Arroyo and Ping Lacson refer to both as “pork barrel”, which to their credit they have never availed of.

    Others are less charitable and refer to both PDAF and DAP as “holdup!” Are these, by simile, roses or durian?

    To the legislators and facilitators who have shamelessly “plundered” these funds, these are sweet smelling roses. To the nation and the people, these are stinking durian or septic tanks.

    What about the PDAF releases during the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Rene Corona? And in terms of the audacity of timing, there is the release of an additional around Php 50 million each or a total of Php 1 billion from the DAP to the senators who voted yes for Rene’s impeachment.

    These senators even had the hypocrisy to browbeat and ask for an apology from one of the defense lawyers who revealed his inside information to the press about this fund release or budget for voting according to the wishes of Malacañang.

    What do we call these releases? Choose your wild: regular entitlements, benefits, perks, incentives, savings/profi t sharing, bonuses, fund alignments, facilitation fees, tips, bribes or any other name. By whatever designation, terminology or branding, the whole act and process stinks, to high heavens!

    There are other words and terminology which have come into use during this administration. There should be nothing wrong with good and accurate branding, tag lines and imaging in order to aid governance and the marketing of the administration and its programs to the people.

    The correct and honest communications must be consistent with the competent and credible product and its delivery. The talk must be walked.

    “Boss” is supposed to be the people and their common good. The “boss” are not the political cronies or the “kaklase, kaibigan at kamaganak”. It is a terrifi c concept but it must be backed up by the consistent behaviour.

    “Daan Matuwid” or what I interpret to be a straight, honest and competent path also communicates itself direct to the heart, understanding and wishes of the people. There are so many examples of the crooked road and the President himself knows and admits this.

    Maybe, the straight road is not possible in a round world where the road has to curve or in a universe where space itself is curved. It is probably true that the corruption and its benefits stop and do not involve the level of the President.

    This is certainly to his credit. But the accountability and the responsibility to address it is certainly up to the level of the President, where the “buck” reaches and stops. This gives rise to another invented word, this time by the student leaders of UP, “Noynoying.” I will not provide their definition because I feel there is now an honest effort to remedy this and work within the limitations and dysfunctions of the political system, culture and practices.

    The President will have to work with a lot of sons of bitches out there, both his own and the opposition’s. He has less than three years left. The previous three years have passed so quickly. He should be concerned about his legacy and the common good of his real bosses. I feel for him as these last three years start to pass. He will be defi nitely experiencing being a “lame duck.”

    Many of these politicians and leaders will start preparing and positioning themselves for the coming presidential elections. I hope he will still be able to exercise effective and efficient power and governance.

    Then Joker Arroyo’s snide reference to the President’s setup and governance as a “student council” will not be accurate. This will be an insult to the many student councils.


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