Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This piece was published in the July 29, 2009 edition of the Business Mirror, p. A10.

Gloria Arroyo could have taken the high road with a valedictory focused on her accomplishments, her legacy, and her hopes for the future of her people. But she didn’t.
“The state of our nation is a strong economy. Good news for our people, bad news for our critics.”

Gloria chose not to become the swan singing one last beautiful song. She preferred to be a snipe, a sharp-beaked marsh bird common to the Candaba swamps of her native Pampanga.

She touted the passage of the Cheaper Medicines Law and then used the good news to sideswipe Sen. Mar Roxas.

“I supported it over the weak version of my critics,” she sneered.

That not so subtle dig would have sufficed for most but not for Gloria. She had to add, “To those who want to be President, this advice: If you want something done, do it hard, do it well. Don’t pussyfoot. Just do it. And don’t say bad words in public.”

She lashed out at former Speaker Jose De Venecia Jr. as if nobody would remember they were partners in the shameless People’s Initiative and parted ways only when he wouldn’t endorse the even more shameless Ruel Pulido impeachment complaint.

“The noisiest critics of constitutional reform tirelessly and shamelessly attempted Cha-Cha when they thought they could take advantage of a shift in the form of government. Now that they feel they cannot benefit from it, they oppose it.”

She attacked business groups who didn’t buy her claims of accomplishment.

“Our administration, with the highest average rate of growth, recording multiple increases in investments, with the largest job creation in history, and which gets a credit upgrade at the height of a world recession, must be doing something right, even if some of those cocooned in corporate privilege refuse to recognize it.”

She sniped at her predecessors.

“I am accused of mis-governance. Many of those who accuse me of it left me the problem of their mis-governance to solve.”

She repeatedly pecked at the president she toppled and then pardoned.

“We inherited an age-old conflict in Mindanao, exacerbated by a politically popular but near-sighted policy of massive retaliation. This only provoked the other side to continue the war.”
“I am falsely accused, without proof, of using my office for personal profit. Many of those who accuse me of it have lifestyles and spending habits that make them walking proofs of that crime.”

“We can read their frustrations. They had the chance to serve this good country and they blew it by serving themselves.”

“Those who live in glass houses should cast no stones. Those who should be in jail should not threaten it, especially if they have been there.”

Towards the end of her speech, Gloria said, “Governance, however, is not about looking back and getting even. It is about looking forward and giving more…”

She should have paid heed, looked forward instead of getting back at her critics. She could have departed the political stage on a positive note. But Gloria is Gloria. In addition to sniping at her critics, her parting gift to the Filipino people is a call for additional taxes on alcohol and tobacco.

And so there’s nothing to say about Gloria’s snippy swan song except the four-word exclamation made famous by Sen. Mar Roxas, “Putangina, ano ba ito?”

What a waste.