MANILA - Critics believe President Benigno Aquino's biting remarks against the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) are serious.
"Nagulat nga po kami nang makita naming hindi naisa-alang-alang sa desisyon ng Korte Suprema ang ginamit naming batayan ng DAP. Hindi tayo lumabag sa batas nang ipatupad natin ang DAP. May mga naririnig din akong bulong-bulungan na baka pinepersonal lang daw ako sa isyung ito na para bang hinahamon akong personalin din sila," Aquino said in a nationally televised speech Monday night.
On the heels of the ruling on DAP, the President's satisfaction and approval ratings plunged in the Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia surveys.
A day after his speech, Aquino asked the public to wear yellow ribbons as a show of support for his administration.
"We'll come up with, perhaps, a manifestation of the support - if I still have the support of our people – and concrete examples of these. Perhaps wearing our yellow ribbons, amongst other things, just to demonstrate exactly in a quick manner where the sentiments of our people lie. But we will be posting a more detailed list of requests to our bosses in the coming days,” Aquino had said.
His call has not been warmly received so far.
The Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives said the call is out of place because the yellow ribbon was worn in the past to stand up against dictatorship.
This is a behavior Aquino is displaying with his defiance of the high court's ruling, Makabayan leaders say.
"This is supremely ironic," Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio said.
"The people will not wear yellow just to support the position of the President na ituloy ang pork barrel niya na DAP," said Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares.
For Migrante International, the President cannot count on them to heed his call because instead of admitting a wrong, Aquino displayed arrogance.
Some activists said they will instead wear peach -- a color of those supporting Aquino's impeachment.
RETURN OF RED AND BLACK
Judiciary employees have also picked their own colors to symbolize their dismay at Aquino's stance.
Employees in lower courts nationwide, meanwhile, are expected to wear black on Monday.
"With the recent threat on the Judiciary's independence, let us all rally behind our SC Justices and continue our black shirt protest on Monday, July 21, with the cry, 'UPHOLD AND DEFEND JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE,'" said a text message currently being passed around.
Employees of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, and Court of Tax Appeals, on the other hand, will wear red and black.
This is reminiscent of the Judiciary's "red and black Monday protest" at the height of the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
The Supreme Court Employees Association (SCEA) said the action is in defense of judicial independence and to remind Malacañang that under the Constitution that every President swears to uphold, the power to review the validity of laws, actions, and orders by any government instrumentality rests with the high tribunal.
"Iyung mga tao niya diyan, they should know na nagsalita na ang Supreme Court. Ang binabanatan niya is the same Constitution that we are defending," said SCEA president Jojo Guerrero.
Other critics like lawyer and former Senator Joker Arroyo believe despite Malacañang's repeated denials, Aquino has practically waged war against the Supreme Court.
On social media, many are now using profile pictures showing ribbons that bear the colors of the Philippine flag.
Their message -- these are the colors that best represent every Filipino.
'DONT' TAKE IT SERIOUSLY'
Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma, however, downplayed the issue on Thursday.
Reporters asked if Malacanang has already monitored people wearing yellow ribbons.
Coloma said: “Don’t take that too seriously.”
He said Aquino was not even prepared to discuss the topic and was speaking from the top of his head.
Reporters pointed out that there are now moves in social media to counter the yellow ribbon request.
Coloma smiled and said: "Makulay ang ating demokrasya." - with a report from Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News