An acid test for the “tuwid na landas”

As I write this, President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III is delivering a report on the accomplishments of his administration during the first 100 days in office. A phrase that underlines the central message of his report is the commitment to walk on a straight path, “maglalakad sa matuwid na daan.” The President is reiterating that corruption will have no place in his administration, and in fact, the big work he has done during the traditional honeymoon period was to untangle the mess left behind by his predecessor.

But as the President talks about his efforts to combat corruption, Ilonggos couldn’t help but wonder how Oscar Garin Sr. continues to occupy the position as Chairman of the Philippine Coconut Auhority (PCA). Garin’s name has long been associated with corruption and patronage politics, and the prolonged stay in the agency is sending a wrong signal to the people of Iloilo, and even to the coconut industry, that President Aquino is also making concessions for political reasons. The word is that Garin’s appointment has been extended until December 2010 if only to give time for the Liberal Party leaders to decide on a possible alliance with the Garins.

The local leadership of the Liberal Party has loudly said “no” to any alliance with the Garin family. Will the President ignore this stand in favor of befriending the Garins? The LP Iloilo fears that this will be a betrayal of the principles that propelled President Aquino to the highest post of the land. And his decision on Oscar Garin will be an acid test for his vow to walk only on a straight path.

About Manuel "Boy" Mejorada
Manuel "Boy" Mejorada is a journalist and social media activist. A former Iloilo provincial administrator, he is now waging a crusade against corruption and narco-politics.

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