Palace traffic jam

The President will certainly continue to be beset by a number of issues if he does not crack the whip now. If we are to be frank about it, his car won’t move if the people around him are causing the traffic jam.

Noynoy Aquino should by now be serious about governance and start talking turkey. He has been at the Palace for more than 100 days and it is time for him to make the bureaucracy as a bureaucracy, delegate functions and cease receiving reports from his underlings who see him daily.

The presidency is serious business and the Palace functionaries should not badger Mr. Aquino with the latest tidbits about their superiors or their enemies within Malacanang.

Moreover, the machinery cannot function if Cabinet offices are headed by two or more chiefs. There is no sense in chopping up existing departments into two or more just to accommodate some pals, classmates or political allies.

We have seen how the Quirino Grandstand hostage talking issue and the subsequent report which some Palace lawyers dismissed in a cavalier fashion to save allies and reduce the issue to one of administrative neglect and not one illustration of dysfunctional leadership.

It was one case of having too many cooks spoiling the broth and making a mockery of government.

It was bad enough that eight lives were lost in that caper; it was worse when those held responsible for the carnage got away with a slap in the wrist.

Now, we hear of infighting, of some Cabinet officials grumbling over the special treatment for Dinky Soliman of the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD), whose agency got a whopping 123 percent increase in appropriation for 2011.

This came about after hefty cuts we made on the appropriations for other departments, blunting in the process a higher accomplishment rate for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) the country must secure by 2015.

Before the problem gets worse, the President should not be misled into believing that the 70 percent approval rate he secured from the Social Weather Stations (CWS) survey indicates the people are on his side.

His mother, the late President Cory Aquino, got 80 percent in her 100 days in office. Lately, we have been hearing of some Palace officials being accused of being truant, reporting for work not daily but only three times a week. Another is charged with being habitually intoxicated.

Before these things get out of hand, the President should exercise his option to clean up the messy situation and place the erring executives in their place.

Everyone should remember that President Aquino promised a “daang matuwid” but this path is now jammed with detritus and pollutants, all caused by fumbling bureaucrats who cannot make sense out of their office. It is time for the President to use his “wang-wang” and rouse these functionaries from their stupor and kick them in the butt.

“Wang-wang” is much better in this sense. It can unclog a traffic jam right there at the Palace. Joel Paredes


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