Osmeña: ‘Underperforming Aquino admin also ampaw’

Senator Serge Osmeña says the Aquino Cabinet is also 'ampaw,' and has NPAs or 'Non-Performing Assets'

'AMPAW, NPA.' Senator Serge Osmeña says the Aquino administration can also be called "ampaw" and has NPAs or Non-Performing Assets. File Rappler photo

MANILA, Philippines – Don’t vote for “ampaw?” How about those in the administration?

Senator Sergio “Serge” Osmeña III turned the tables on President Benigno Aquino III, saying there are also people lacking substance in his government.

A week after the President urged students not to vote for shallow or ampaw (rice puffs) candidates, the senator again criticized Aquino and said his government is also guilty of the same charge. 

“We are all guilty of being ‘ampaw’ in a little way, or in a big way, depende iyan. I think that the Aquino administration might also be called ‘ampaw’ sapagkat marami silang hindi ginawa na magagawa nila,” Osmeña said in an interview with radio DZRH on Tuesday, March 18. (Because there are many things they could have done that they didn’t do.)

In particular, Osmeña lamented the delays in the infrastructure projects of the administration, its Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program, and the energy crisis.

“Ang tawag ko sa kanila, ang dami nilang NPAs diyan sa Gabinete, Non-Performing Assets. Eh palitan naman ninyo. Nagmamadali na tayo kasi last two years na eh.” (I call them, there are many NPAs in the Cabinet, Non-Performing Assets. Please replace those people. We are in a hurry because we’re in the last two years.)

Osmeña reiterated his criticism of Aquino, which he first made in a press conference last week where he called Aquino an “awful manager” and hard-headed, and slammed Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla and Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya. The Palace defended Aquino but his 2010 campaign manager was unfazed.

The senator again said he does not regret supporting Aquino in 2010 but the President’s performance dismayed him.

I am also very disappointed. Nahihiya po ako sa taumbayan, na nag-underperform siya. Kasi kung kaya mo mag-drive ng 80 mph, bakit ka mag-30 mph? ‘Yun lang ang question ko.”

(I am ashamed of facing the people because he underperformed. Because if you can drive at 80 mph, why just drive for 30 mph? That’s my only question.)

Osmeña acknowledged that Aquino has a “good side,” especially the anti-corruption campaign but his performance in infrastructure was wanting. The President’s former ally said the only response he got was all “teka-teka” (Wait, wait).

“Kung gagawa po tayo ng Report Card niya, makikita mo na napakaraming projects that should have been ongoing by this time or last year or two years ago na hindi naumpisahan hanggang ngayon. This is the performance of the PNoy administration, and any delay in any infrastructure means the people cannot proceed because hindi pa rin in existence, diba?” 

(If we were to come up with his Report Card, we will see that there are so many projects that should have been ongoing by this time or last year or two years ago that have not yet been started.) 

‘You can’t blame GMA forever’

Osmeña, chairman of the Senate energy committee, said Aquino cannot continue blaming former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the Philippines’ power problems. He said Aquino should have immediately focused on the industry, adding that Mindanao already had 3 to 4-hour blackouts in 2010.

The senator previously criticized the Aquino administration for failing to prevent the P4.15 per kilowatt hour rate hike of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) last December, the highest ever. He called on Aquino to fire Petilla, who he said was more focused on politics than the energy sector. 

“If by next year we have a shortage, it is the fault of the Noynoy Aquino administration …. What happened in 2014 is still the fault of Gloria Arroyo but if by next year, 2015, that is already the fault of PNoy because he should have done something in 2010 to alleviate any power problem in 2015. That is how long a lead time you need in power,” Osmeña said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Osmeña said he and Aquino had many disagreements, and the President has stopped listening to his advice.

Wala na po iyan. Hanggang 2010 lang po ‘yun. Pagkatapos, lahat ng classmates niya, lahat ng kabarilan, lahat ng kamag-anak, ‘yun ang pinipili niya,” he said, referring to the persistent criticism that the President was soft on his friends, classmates and shooting buddies in government. (He no longer listened to me after 2010. After that, it’s all his classmates, shooting buddies and relatives that he’s been choosing.)

‘Citizens should speak up’

After his stinging criticism last week, Osmeña said he got many text messages from businessmen and political leaders saying he expressed what they all wanted to say but were afraid to point out.

He said he told them to also speak up and report their feedback to the government. 

“We should put pressure on the government. That is also your job as citizens as stakeholders, to put pressure on your leaders so there will a signal to the leaders that, ‘Boss, we are moving so slow. Let us go faster because there are more and more people that are unemployed every year.’”

Osmeña said citizens cannot afford to leave all the work to the government.

Kung medyo tinutulak nila ang presidente, talagang mag-light a fire tayo sa ilalim ng paa niya, [mas mabuti]. If we are complacent, wala pong nangyayari.” (If they push the president, if we really light a fire under his feet, it will be better. If we are complacent, nothing will happen.) – Rappler.com


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