First and foremost, regardless whether the Pope’s speech in Malacañang was a criticism of Noynoy Aquino, the president surely felt it was. How else do you explain his reaction? He was simply asked by the media what he thought of the speech, not whether he thought it was directed against him. Mukhang guilty.
1. All forms of corruption
In his first General Audience at the Vatican since the Philippine visit, the Pontiff repeated his call for Catholics to stand against corruption. According to the article:
Compassion for the poor, he said, also implies “the rejection of all forms of corruption because corruption steals from the poor”
Remember how someone said defended themselves from allegations of corruption by saying that the supposed acts of corruption were done “in good faith“? Apparently, it doesn’t matter, if we’re to follow the Pope’s logic. The Papal definition of corruption, for now, is stealing from the poor.
The hundreds of billions of pesos in Aquino’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) have gone mostly to projects which do not benefit the poor. One study shows that 1/3 of all DAP-funded projects had absolutely zero impact on the economy, while only 1.7% of these projects created jobs. In other words, for every peso that went to the DAP, only around a centavo went to the poor.
One example is Senate President Drilon’s P100 million which went to the overpriced Iloilo Convention Center.
2. Main reason for poverty… not numerous families
“An economic system that excludes children, the elderly and young people who cannot find work, creates the throwaway culture that we live in today… We have become used to seeing people who have been discarded. This is the main reason for poverty, and not numerous families”
The usual hate-the-Church-is-our-activism crowd will claim that this statement is merely an extension of the fierce Philippine debate over the RH Law, as many proponents of the Law claim that overpopulation is one of the major (if not THE ONLY) cause of poverty in the country.
But it’s not just the Church saying that our social and economic system, not a large population, is at fault for widespread poverty. Around the same time the Pontiff arrived at the Vatican, the international humanitarian NGO (non-government organization) released a study stating that almost half of the world’s wealth is in the hands of the richest 1% of all people.This is not news in the Philippines. Activists have long portrayed Philippine society as a ‘pyramid’ (see the slideshow in the link) where an elite few rule over the poor majority (exemplified in the popular song ‘Tatsulok’). The wealth of the 40 richest Filipinos more than doubled under the current administration while the number of poor, hungry, and jobless rises.
3. Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap
Pope Francis has repeatedly talked about corruption and poverty. Is it any coincidence that he did so while, and after, visiting a country whose president ran under a slogan containing both themes?
Yes, he may not have directly named Aquino as the subject of his criticisms. But then, there are certain rules which govern the relations between two heads of state. As many people pointed out when Noynoy did the unthinkable with his speech in front of the Pontiff, you don’t criticize a fellow national leader, at least, not directly.