Noynoy publicly criticizes his own speechwriting staff

In another demonstration of his lack of a deep understanding of the concept of command responsibility, Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino dissed his own speechwriting staff in public. Choosing instead to speak extemporaneously in front of an audience made up of participants in the 10th Student Catholic Action of the Philippines (SCAP) National Leadership Conference in Saint Paul University in Manila, Noynoy spoke of how he did not like the speech that was prepared for him by his staff

[…] hindi ko ho gusto yung ginawa nilang talumpati para sa akin. [“I did not like the speech that they prepared for me”]

… the President explained in Tagalog.

Always quick to mitigate the media ripples caused by Noynoy’s frequent off-the-hip remarks, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda explained that the President was not necessarily unhappy with the performance of his speechwriters and that the President was simply adopting his delivery to the “mood” of the audience and occasion. Lacierda goes further to defend Noynoy’s role as having the final say as far as what he plans to say before an audience.

“The President is his own speechwriter. At the very end, siya talaga ang nag-fi-finalize ng kanyang speech. Hindi siya unhappy with his speechwriters.”

But of course, though it seems lost in Mr Lacierda that Noynoy was quite categorical in his public disclosure of his dislike for the work of his speechwriting staff.

Distancing one’s self from the work of one’s subordinate is one thing — the mark of a weak manager. Publicly speaking ill of a subordinate is, to say the least, unprofessional. A real manager much more a true leader sees himself as personally responsible for the work of his staff and stands by this work when putting up a public face. A manager or leader who wears in public even the mistakes of one’s staff requires courage and honour. Obviously, Noynoy lacks both, choosing instead to say me-not-responsible for the quality of the work of his own Office staff.

When a General loses a battle, he does not come up to his commanding officer pointing fingers at the artillerymen who failed to move their hardware into position, or the infantry team who failed to secure a bridge, or the weather for failing to cooperate. He simply reports how he failed to accomplish his mission — period. Adam tried to pull a similar stunt when he had to face God and explain why he ate the Forbidden Fruit. “Eve made me do it” simply didn’t fly, and we all know how the first couple’s brief frolic in Paradise ended (suffice to say, we all get to be born stained by humanity’s first gaffe).

It is quite understandable when reprimands are made within the four walls of a manager’s office outside of the public eye. Keeping the interiority of the affairs of a team, well, internal is what builds esprit and camaraderie. A leader who violates the trust built within a team by making the public privy to the internal squabbles of his office creates divisiveness. More importantly, it makes said leader look like a pathetic whiner.

Indeed, this comes at a time when the public had just about forgotten about the October 2010 circus created by Carmen “Mai” Mislang — arguably the most famous Malacañang speechwriter in Philippine history.

Noynoy Aquino and Mai Mislang in more carefree times

Mislang, at the time an “Assistant Secretary” in the bloated Communications Group of Malacañang tweeted “wine sucks” referring to wine served by their Vietnamese Government hosts in a state dinner prepared for Noynoy’s delegation back then.

Noynoy may have unwittingly (assuming he normally possesses wit) undone months of excruciating public relations damage control work. Like the way a long buried childhood memory can resurface at the smallest hint of a familiar smell or a glimpse of a familiar face, or a chord from a hit song of that time, the mere mention of “speechwriter” in the middle of yet another Presidential gaffe could spell trouble for Mislang who had probably only now finished picking up the pieces of her shattered career and public persona.

That’s no problem of course for a man whose only concern is to look good before the Filipino public — often at the expense of the very people who work hard to help him with that very task.


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17 Comments on "Noynoy publicly criticizes his own speechwriting staff"

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Armando Kunz

You’ve got what you voted for.

Oh, good grief. This guy has no idea does he? Of course, if he’d had any real-world experience in even being so much as a supervisor, he wouldn’t be making this sort of mistake. Simple rule: Back up your erring employee in public, change the subject (or at least don’t downgrade him) in front of his peers, take him in the office, shut the door, and rip the holy hell out of him in private. You make your point, your customers see a coordinated team, your staff sees a leader who has some respect for his people, and your employee… Read more »
Hyden Toro

Noynoy Aquino’s Speechwriters cannot delude the public anymore…this is the reason, he is angry at them…He has more problems to attend to like: (1) gasoline prices, increasing, day to day. (2) prices of basic commodities, increasing, day to day. (3) food production, like rice production is going down. Food Riots are coming. (4) OFW servant/slaves coming home in droves…Blame and Diversionary tactics from his Media Yellow Nazi Propagandists is not working. The Realities are staring at him, like Ghosts…He is just immature and irresponsible…he cannot accept blame and responsibilities.

Joe America
In an era of spin and deceit, we are on his case for being (naively, perhaps) honest? I used to write speeches for the CEO of my bank. American CEO’s, British CEO’s, Japanese CEO’s. How I wish that one Japanese CEO had torn up my speech when I intended motivation, and it came across like Tojo whipping up the Kamakazees. There is a lot of nuance in a speech. Sometimes writers get it right, sometimes they don’t. In this case they didn’t, the Chief pitched it, and you guys are crying like he just pissed in public or something. Believe… Read more »
dennis apolinario

I don’t understand you people. Here he is being open about his dislike of his particular speech just like he wants to be open about anything and you criticize him for it. Look what previous presidents did to us by hiding everything and standing up for their people even if they are wrong. That was what is called connivance and it is us who were conned and suffered. I’d rather have a president who is open about anything and everything than one who hides everything.


@Joe America