The death of Cory Aquino and the recent commemoration of the death of Ninoy have given their only living son, Noynoy Aquino, a tremendous political boost. My reaction? God help us.
I have nothing against Noynoy Aquino.
What worries me is that this new wave of popularity may actually carry him to the Presidency, and hence throw us into the same loop we’ve been in for the past twenty something years.
People are asking for a repeat of the Cory administration and, with Noynoy, we may actually get it. His integrity will make him a ripe target for the political right and he will be paralyzed by the overwhelming expectations on him by the forever implacable left.
Expect to see coup d’etats bankrolled by the very businessmen and warlords who currently benefit from living in the world of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. On the other hand, Conrado de Quiros sings praises of him now, but give it a hundred days into the Aquino presidency. In his latest defense in Objections, de Quiros relishes in what is actually the fundamental problem: “I’m looking at Noynoy not for what he was but what he can be.”
Dear lord. (He endorsed Ed Panlilio too.) So what if he doesn’t measure up?
By rushing Noynoy to the pedestal, we are placing yet another mirror of our hopes and dreams. Public service and integrity in government are ideals and values, not an agenda for government. What issues does he actually stand for? What laws have he passed? How will he take on corruption? There are still so many unanswered questions.
I realize that our upcoming vote in the 2010 National Elections is essentially a moral vote. It will be nothing short of a rejection of Arroyo and a proclamation of our freedom from her Matrix. Our country still hungers for heroes, and in a large way I agree that change in our country can begin by electing leaders of utmost virtue and integrity.
I have trust in our voters to elect the right candidates. I am confident that with the proper information, there can be enough votes to overwhelm any attempt to defraud the elections.
I am fundamentally worried about two things:
- Whether the clamor for Noynoy translates into genuine citizenship and participation during his administration. The last thing I want is for us to simply rely on one person to fix everything. I feel that our country hasn’t gone beyond that yet, but I agree that change begins from the top. However —
- The political system, as it is, will eat Noynoy alive. For him to effectively put forward a reform agenda, it would help to have a critical mass of representatives and senators to think the way he does. For too long, political parties have been electoral coalitions; they’re designed to win votes and only votes. Instead, we need our parties to become effective governing coalitions to win the votes in the House and the Senate.
Otherwise, expect more of the same: a lameduck reform president, impeachment attempts by disgruntled and alienated trapos of yesteryear, and machinations to oust the incumbent through a coup d’etat.
I am inclined to watch out for true reform at the local level. It is where, in my opinion, true change can grow. We need more mayors and governors with their feet on the ground. Indeed, an Aquino presidency could possibly inspire such local officials, but that won’t be until three years into his presidency at least (and that is a long, long time in Philippine politics). Unfortunately, I don’t know much about local politics in places other than my own to surely say that “Change is coming.”
Change is hard. Change takes time. I’d like to see a great Philippine president in my lifetime and the sooner we make that happen, the better. I’m not ruling out the possibility that an Aquino presidency could be wonderful, but there are so many political realities to consider that it won’t hurt to slow down, think a little more straight, and yet cast a vote for him anyway.
I think he would be a good Vice-president, learning the ropes just in time to carry the Aquino name back to prominence in 2016.