Like Arroyo Like Aquino? Same Cabinet/Government – Same Anti-people Policies

Another cabinet official recycled from Arroyo’s is Alberto Romulo, who “never resigned from the Arroyo cabinet and has never shown remorse for the blunders he committed,” said Reyes of Bayan. “He (Romulo) should have been sacked after he was rebuked by the Supreme Court when he allowed the transfer of convicted rapist US Marine Daniel Smith from the Makati City Jail to the US embassy. He’s a member of the VFA cheering-squad, an unapologetic Am-boy,” Reyes said, adding that “Romulo’s track record shows he did not uphold the national interests while in the DFA.”

Foreign Affairs secretary Alberto Romulo. (Photo courtesy of /

“The US troops’ continuing and permanent presence in Mindanao under the vague provisions of the VFA violates the Philippine Constitution. Why is the Aquino government not raising a howl over this violation of our sovereignty?” Reyes asked.

Romulo retains his foreign affairs portfolio under Aquino. Migrante also has a mouthful to say not only against Romulo’s consistent failure to protect them overseas, but also against his seeming connivance with host countries and in milking OFWs through exorbitant fees. Migrante said better bilateral agreements with the receiving countries could have averted the worst of their members’ hardships worldwide.


Hoped-for peace is still on shaky ground during Aquino’s first week, but it seems to teeter more on preserving the terror of Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) as Aquino has all but promised to give the military everything they need, such as more soldiers and police and higher budget for AFP’s modernization. He has not uttered similar assurances to hire more teachers or increase the education budget, said various youth groups.

US ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas Jr. (Photo courtesy of US Department of State website /

Peoples’ organizations have been urging Aquino to speak out against OBL and military rights abuses, but in lieu of his silence, his action speaks louder. Aquino has been “briefed” last month by the new US ambassador Harry Thomas on “anti-terrorism,” the same coinage the military uses for “target enemies” of Oplan Bantay Laya.

Ambassador Harry Thomas has made no secret of consolidating the Philippines in the US interest of facing down China as a growing threat. Last year, a paper has outlined the “security needs” of the Philippines to beef up not only its fighting capability against internal threats such as the communists and secessionists but also outside forces like, say, China.

In sync with that today, Aquino has ordered a “review” of AFP’s needs, to better improve its modernization. Also, the Philippine Army recently bragged about the $8.9 million worth of protective equipment it has received as a grant from the US, under the US Excess Defense Articles Program. The grant, according to Army spokesman Maj. Ronald Alcudia, covers 50,000 Kevlar helmets costing $7.52 million and 1,355 armor vests worth $1.43 million.

The AFP under Aquino has extended its self-imposed deadline of three years more to crush the insurgency, prompting fears of more human rights violations.

Aquino has declared openness to peace negotiations but his defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin seems to be taking it back in demanding that the NPAs must lay down its arms first. Former NDF negotiator and Rep. Satur Ocampo said this demand is “guaranteed to close the door to negotiations.” Gazmin is formerly chief of the army and defense attaché in Washington D.C.

The new AFP chief of staff Ricardo David, meanwhile, is a former Northern Luzon Command (NolCom) chief who has had responsibility in the persistent militarization and harassment of farmers in the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac. According to KMU, “David’s stint as NolCom chief contrasted with his pronouncements on civilian supremacy. For the longest time, NolCom has kept Luisita highly militarized and dangerous to those vocal against the abusive schemes of the Cojuangco-Aquino family,” KMU’s Lito Ustarez said.

In a nutshell this seems to indicate the style of Aquino administration– mouthing nice statements for change while doing the exact opposite. For instance, “In only its third day, the Aquino regime has already revealed its true stance in regards to the issue of genuine agrarian reform. Instead of addressing farmer grievances, they just forcibly removed the complainants,” Anakbayan national vice-chair Anton Dulce said bitterly in a statement, in the wake of a violent, treacherous dispersal of a peasants’ camp-out at Mendiola.

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3 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. I didn’t hear much about Noynoy during his term. Playing a low profile?
    I hope we can start changing the corrupt system. From transparent biddings for government projects.

  2. Mistakes from the past should have been corrected. The criminals released during mom’s presidency caused deadly massacres. I thought Ninoy’s vision would now be seen. Looks like it’s just’s gonna be more divisions.

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