MANILA – With the national elections nearing, former Chief Justice Reynato Puno cautioned the public against ‘spin doctors’ who ‘bury the truth’ by giving favorable information to the media biased to their preferred presidential candidates.
Puno noted that the rich Filipinos became richer while still a lot of poor Filipinos remained poor in the last five years; and choosing the succeeding president to ‘save’ the suffering masses apparently has been influenced by these spin doctors.
“As always in these kinds of political exercises, the first victim of spin doctors is the truth,” he said in a forum with religious and civil society leaders.
Puno blamed the large scale of inequality between the rich and the poor to the ‘stale and outmoded 1987 Constitution’ wherein power has been centralized to the administration positioned in Metro Manila.
For him, power should not be centralized but should be distributed to all sectors so that there is assurance that all voices will be heard in the national government.
The former Chief Justice then sought support for a constitutional amendment to change the government and shift power from a president to a parliament as he believed that this would solve the Philippines’ problems.
He wanted to ‘tell the people the real reason why leaders have failed to solve [the country’s] stubborn problems for more than 100 years now… and we are still counting.’
“In the meantime, our senses are bombarded with the images of presidential wannabes – each one given a beauty parlor treatment by paid media practitioners… Their drumbeaters go to town announcing to people that a new savior has come to rescue them from all imaginable curses of our society,” Puno said.
“Except for the daily doses of praise releases, none of the wannabes has informed the people about their particular program of governance and why they qualify as our new saviors,” he added.
Puno also stressed the spin doctors’ active role by citing President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s sixth and last State of the Nation Address (SONA) and Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay’s ‘True’ SONA.
“We listened to the State of the Nation Address of our President on July 27… As it happens every year, the political opposition tried to denigrate his achievement, especially his philosophy of ‘daang matuwid’ (staright path). Last Monday, the Vice President delivered his own SONA… also to dismiss the achievements of the Aquino administration,” he said.
“The spin doctors of both political [camps] are still busy distorting the meanings and nuances of both the SONA and the counter-SONA,” he added.