RP after EDSA: We’re back with the same old problems
February 21, 2010 12:00 AM
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – The country has made no significant gains after being liberated from the dictatorial regime of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos in the first EDSA revolution 24 years ago, Liberal Party (LP) presidential bet Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III said yesterday.
“We’re almost back to where we were – the problems and the solutions,” Aquino told The STAR.
Aquino said the country still needs to be developed in terms of the basic needs of Filipinos that would include food, education, health and other social services.
Aside from the lack of freedom from poverty, Filipinos also remain hungry for justice as most cases remain unresolved for years, he said.
He said the country still needs to fully protect and respect the human rights of its citizens.
Aquino, the only son of the late former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino, the country’s first woman leader who succeeded Marcos following the first EDSA popular revolt, said his mother’s struggle to restore freedom is not yet over.
Aquino said he would continue where his parents left off to fully restore democracy in the country.
Aquino, whose father is the martyred former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., said there was no reason to consider the legacy of his parents a burden for him since they were fighting for was right from the beginning.
Aquino vowed to stamp out corruption, saying it has been one of the major causes of the country’s difficulties.
He said corruption has brought down Marcos and former President Joseph Estrada, who was ousted from office in another popular uprising in 2001.
Aquino noted President Arroyo is also hounded by corruption allegations, but he said the problem hinges on proper prosecution.
“The main problem is not the absence of laws but enforcing them,” he said.
Aquino revealed he has a lawyer advising him on these issues.
“There is a lawyer accompanying me and it will get to the point that when this lawyer comes around, basically the message is we’re here to arrest somebody,” Aquino said.
Aquino vowed he would not spare anybody in his campaign against corruption and would show political will by personally pursuing the cases against corrupt people in the government.
He said the 18 percent conviction rate of corruption cases in the country is relatively slow compared to the 85 percent in the US and the higher rate of 95 percent in Japan.
Aquino said he would like to bolster the justice system and make sure efficient workers would be amply rewarded.
Aquino said he already has the tools for his mission to eradicate corruption.
“We know who the smugglers are, we know who the evaders are. The people who provided us with the information were those who were asked to run after them but were told to stop,” Aquino said.
“So that gives me the confidence that within the first two weeks of my administration, we would be able to do something,” he said.
Aquino added that even if he would be strict against corruption, he promised to protect the rights of the accused, especially to a speedy trial.
“(I will make sure that) his or her trial is forthcoming within hopefully a month,” he said.
Aquino said he would like to recover the P280 billion lost annually to corruption and use the money to provide better services to the people and attract more investors to the country. – Aurea Calica