Duterte should be wary of people around him – Aquino

Former President Benigno Aquino III

MANILA — Denying involvement in an alleged destabilization plot, former president Benigno Aquino III said yesterday President Duterte should instead be wary of people around him and not be fixated on the opposition.

“Kung hindi tama yung mga nangyayari, kung hindi natutupad mga pinangako, kung hindi natupad yung mga sinasabi, dun nagke-create ng dissatisfaction. Hindi sa amin nagmumula ‘yun. Baka dapat tumingin sila sa mga paligid nila (If things aren’t turning out right, if promises are not fulfilled, or if words are not kept – these are what create dissatisfaction, and it’s not coming from us. Maybe they should look around them),” Aquino told reporters at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque where he – together with his sisters and friends – commemorated the 85th birthday of his father and namesake, the martyred former senator Benigno Aquino Jr.

With him were his sisters Viel, Pinky and Ballsy and their spouses.

On Duterte’s pronouncement that he might declare a revolutionary government, Aquino said he does not see himself leading efforts against it but stressed he does not see the need for it either.

He said he might consider backing a revolutionary government only if the current system and its institutions become moribund and could not function effectively anymore.

He said his position is simply to do what is right based on his Catholic faith and on the values imparted to him by his parents and what learned in school.

He reiterated his willingness to help the administration but said he was rebuffed instead. “We’re in the same boat, we need to help one another so we can easily get to where we intend to go,” he said. “And may I remind everyone that we’ve been offering them help for a long time – we are ready to help.”

He said what he and the opposition got in return were scorn and insults.

The Office of the Ombudsman has upheld the filing of usurpation of authority and graft charges against Aquino in connection with the 2015 Mamasapano debacle. He had posted bail for his temporary liberty.

Last week, the DOJ tasked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe alleged anomalies in the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) under the Aquino administration.

He said he is awaiting instructions from the DOJ on what steps to take next. “We’ll wait if they have anything for us to answer. We’re ready to answer,” Aquino said.

He said he couldn’t understand why many in the administration were hostile toward him and the Liberal Party.

The Duterte administration should even be grateful for inheriting a government that was definitely better than what its predecessor left him, he said, referring to the Arroyo administration.

“Mas marami na nga silang gagamitin tungo sa paglutas ng problema, pero parang lahat ng ginawa naming pagpapabuti dito, parang mali kami, para bang masama ang ginawa namin nun (They now have better and more means to address problems, but it seems everything we’ve done has come to naught. It’s like we’ve done something terrible),” he added.
The former president also noted he and Duterte’s clashing positions on many issues.