Following a call from businessman and columnist Peter Wallace for President Benigno Aquino to “stop being a 9-5 president,’ the Palace on Tuesday retaliated and said Wallace had no business commenting on Aquino’s schedule, as the two have no working relationship. “It is safe to assume that Mr. Wallace does not have a working relationship with the President and has no personal knowledge of how the President works,” Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a briefing. “If you asked anybody who has come in close and regular contact with the President, they will tell you otherwise,” she added. Peter Wallace, head of business consultancy firm The Wallace Business Forum, said Monday that Aquino is putting his impressive political capital to waste by refusing to make unpopular decisions. Wallace was also critical of Aquino’s work habits as he said that leadership was a full-time job and not just from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Valte countered that Wallace ought to look into what other sectors have been saying about the administration as the country’s progress would not have been possible under Wallace’s assumption. “Everything that has happened in the past, in the more than two years that the President has been in office belies that claim. Hindi ho magagawa ng Pangulo ‘yung mga na-achieve natin in the last two years and more kung isa po siyang 9 to 5 na Presidente,” Valte said.
Mas mabuti pong pakinggan na lang ni Ginoong Wallace ‘yung sinasabi rin nung mga ibang ahensiya, nung mga ibang institusyon doon sa mga ginagawa po natin,” Valte added. Valte in particular pointed to the country’s improved Gross Domestic Product reports, as well as the benefits of the administration’s touted Conditional Cash Transfer program as proof of Aquino’s industriousness. “Puntahan natin ‘yung website ng DBM, i-check po natin ‘yung mga disbursements natin, expenses [at yung] nitty-gritty ng mga GDP reports ng NEDA para makita natin kung ano ‘yung ginagawa ng pamahalaan,” Valte said. Furthermore, she argued that surveys are not absolute, and beneficiaries of the CCT receive crucial help from the government. Wallace had pointed out that Aquino ought to instruct the Department of Budget Management to instead spend the money on matters that would spur economic growth. Meanwhile asked about areas in which she thinks Aquino needs to improve on, Valte said the main thing on the president's mind is his limited time as chief executive. “Primarily the President also thinks that you are given a finite period of time to be in office. ‘Yon ho ‘yung laging jina-juggle ng Pangulo,” Valte said, adding that contrary to Wallace’s allegations, Aquino’s challenges lie in which issues to tackle first. “Remember the President’s day is not just about meetings; it’s not just about briefings, but also deciding kung ano po muna ‘yung pagtutuunan ng atensyon doon sa partikular na araw o partikular na oras na ‘yon,” Valte added. — Reuters