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COUNTER-SONA
Aquino ‘grossly misinformed’ in State of Nation Address

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 18:38:00 07/27/2010

Filed Under: Politics, Benigno Aquino III, State of the Nation Address (SONA)

MANILA, Philippines ? President Benigno Aquino III got his data wrong.

Delivering their version of State of the Nation Address, the minority bloc in the House of Representatives led by its leader, Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, countered Aquino?s figures with their own data and criticized him for just airing out a ?complaint sheet, a compendium of motherhood statements? bereft of specific solutions.

?I have been cautioned to go slow on the Sona because President Aquino enjoys a tremendously high approval rating. But when the Emperor wears no clothes, can I honestly tell you that his robe is regal and majestic?? Lagman said in his speech entitled ?Sound and Fury of President Aquino?s SONA? delivered Tuesday in plenary.

He said there were ?inordinate inaccuracies? in the facts and figures Aquino cited in his Sona, which detailed alleged anomalies in various agencies that dried up government coffers.

?It is obvious that the President was fed wrong information by assistants and some members of the Cabinet. Nakuryente ang [The President was fed wrong information] Presidente despite the fact that his Sona was not electrifying. Not realizing that he was given wrong data, false statistics and flawed analyses, he still appealed to Congress that these errant appointees should breeze through the Commission on Appointments. This is shockingly aggravating,? Lagman said.

The lawmaker said Aquino was ?grossly misinformed? when he said that what remained of the P1.54-trillion 2010 national budget was only P100 billion or 6.5 percent of the total annual appropriations.

Quoting the Bureau of Treasury, Lagman said the total cash disbursement or the national government expenditures as of June 30, 20010 amounted to close to P789 billion. This means that close the P752 billion pesos or 48 percent of the budget remains unspent, he said.

?The problem in the President?s accounting must have been caused by a lack of understanding of the difference between allocation as covered by a Special Allotment Release Order and actual disbursement to pay accrued or matured obligations,? Lagman said.

Raising doubts about the creation of the truth commission, Lagman said that history showed that the body was created to look into human rights violations rather than investigate alleged acts of corruption, which should be handled by the courts.

?If officials of the previous administration have violated the law, then their cases must be pursued, filed and submitted to the independent assessment and fair adjudication of the proper prosecutorial and judicial fora. The rule of law, not the role of interference, must be strictly observed and judiciously upheld,? he said.

Lagman said Aquino?s Sona was bereft of programs on how to pursue and achieve sustainable human development, his policy on reproductive health, agrarian reform, labor agenda, and foreign relations.
?On the whole, President Aquino?s first State of the Nation Address was defective in what it said and deficient in what it failed to say. Its sound has now vanished and its fury dissipated,? he said.



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