When imagining President Benigno Aquino’s style of problem-solving, the game you should be thinking of is billiards.
For instance, to be able to haul former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to court, Aquino carefully, patiently and methodically set up shots to pick out one obstacle after another. The shots came from unexpected angles.
Highly placed sources, familiar with what happened, explained to Asian Dragon what actions Aquino took to attain his political objective and why the game of billiards is key to understanding his future actions. They spoke on condition of anonymity.
Aquino started by breaking the rack – in billiard-speak – by issuing Executive Order Number 1. It established a Truth Commission to investigate all alleged corruption cases during the Arroyo administration.
When the Supreme Court issued an injunction against EO 1, Aquino set up another shot – the removal of Merceditas Gutierrez from the Office of the Ombudsman – since only the Ombudsman is constitutionally allowed to prosecute graft cases.
One of the sources explained how really close Mrs Gutierrez was to Mrs Arroyo – she was the law school classmate of Mrs Arroyo’s spouse Jose Miguel. When they were all single, Merceditas, her would-be husband and the Arroyo couple had gone double-dating. In short, they were a cozy foursome who had enjoyed one another’s company.
Seen from this perspective, it was understandable why Mrs Arroyo entrusted the anti-graft investigation office to Mrs Gutierrez.
It seemed next to impossible to remove her since she had tenure and only a tedious impeachment process would work. The first one which was filed against her in 2009 was dead in the water, blocked by her congressional allies.
Two other complaints were filed against her as soon as Arroyo stepped down from office and Aquino took his place. But for nearly a year, Aquino supporters fretted and waited for his congressional allies to move against Gutierrez.
Now it can be told that early on, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa was personally directed by President Aquino to negotiate with Gutierrez her exit from the post.