Nearing his 12th month: But where is the VISION of Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III?

In a previous article, I noted how Manuel Buencamino, a noted apologist of the administration of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III attempted to debunk a remark made by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri that highlighted Aquino’s lack of any sort of vision (the type that refers to the future) for the Philippines. Zubiri said that Noynoy has “no clear vision for our country” and “no 2020 agenda”, much less one “even for 2015.” He compared this sorry record with former President Fidel V. Ramos who, at least, had a Philippines 2000 to present to Filipinos during his watch.

Poor guy, this Buencamino. He thought he’d go into his usual “witty” (by Pinoy standards) style of blogging on to come to the defense of his beleaguered manok. The results of this “effort” were, to put it quite kindly, flaccid. I summarised my takeaway from Buencamino’s blog thus…

All makes for a good old-fashioned Pinoy style case of expert grandstanding. But then synthesise all that and what have you got? One citation of a cliché inititative [i.e. involving some form of “crusade” against corruption] that every President and his dog sloganeered about during their campaign and two counter-arguments against Zubiri’s “suggestions”.

But as to the whole original point of “Senator” Zubiri’s musings; that is,

The mystery of the postulated existence of Noynoy’s vision for the Philippines

Seems like even Buencamino is left scratching his pointed head when it comes to that question.

Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Learn more

To be fair to Buencamino, most Filipinos and foreign observers are still scratching their heads trying to postulate the existence of Noynoy’s vision for the Philippines of 2016 and beyond. And we are well on our way into the eleventh month of Noynoy’s presidency.

Despite much noise about the fall of Ombudsman What’s-Her-Name, The Economist is not impressed, simply observing that all that “reflects the president’s approach to fighting corruption, which is to punish the sins of the past rather than try to prevent crimes in future.” Furthermore;

Mr Aquino has proposed few reforms to the system. His administration’s reasoning is that the institutions for fighting corruption already exist; they just need to be put to work properly.

Recent history gives little reason to think his approach will succeed. Mrs Arroyo had her predecessor as president, Joseph Estrada, prosecuted for corruption, and the country’s special court for trying graft cases, the Sandiganbayan, sentenced him to life in prison. Mrs Arroyo subsequently pardoned him. In last year’s presidential election, Mr Estrada came second.

The institutions in which Mr Aquino puts his faith have brought dozens of cases against Imelda Marcos. None has succeeded in putting her behind bars.

For a top-notch think tank journal like The Economist, that’s not really what I’d call groundbreaking insight. But then in a credential-beholden society (where people are regarded more on the basis of the acronyms on their business cards or the labels and jargon they parrot off their philosophy and economics textbooks than on any real semblance of substance), those words will surely echo far and wide.

For his part, Doy Santos (a.k.a. The Cusp), Buencamino’s vastly more insightful colleague in had enough material on Noynoy’s non-vision Presidency to fill a detailed three-part series of blogs on the subject.

In Part 1: “The Vision Thing“, Santos suggests that the President needs “a roadmap that focuses on the big picture and provides substance beyond the spin” and that this is “something which is sorely lacking at the moment.”

In Part 2: “Curing dysfunctionalism“, Santos recommends that the President “address personality-based factionalism that has led to organizational dysfunction within his team.”

And in Part 3: “Credible commitment“, Santos observes “several commitment problems in the strategy and vision of the benevolent one’s regime” and then proceeds to outline several key recommendations on how to move forward,

The bottom-line of the whole series being…

Beyond the 24 hour news cycle, the palace has to focus on the long-term frame. The president himself needs to devote a good proportion of his time and energy in developing this grand vision and oversee the development of a roadmap that brings us closer to it within the next five years.

Santos’s and The Economist‘s assessments of the last several months of the Second Aquino Presidency cast long, broad, and very dark shadows over any counter-argument put forth by the vast Yellow Army of Aquino Apologists — counter-arguments that for the most part cannot seem to go beyond sexing up an unimaginative anti-corruption campaign that Buencamino describes as one that is “bringing back a sense of shame, propriety, and delicadeza” or, get this, “eradicating the climate of impunity where vermin thrived and prospered.”


Even any dismissal of Ramos’s “Philippines 2000” campaign as mere “sloganeering” whether fair or not fades into inconsequence when placed in the context of Noynoy’s no-results track record so far — something that Amando Doronila points out in a recent piece

Ramos was never famous for his rhetorical eloquence. (There are few memorable and quotable passages in his speeches.) He drew a concrete program of tangible projects, backed by solid engineering studies, and put in a lot of homework on these plans. By contrast P-Noy shuns homework, giving more importance to the charisma of the democratic restoration legacy of his mother, hoping that his electoral mandate, tremendously helped by this aura of Edsa 1, would deliver results and perform miracles for him, based on wishful thinking.

Wishful thinking and prayer, Mr Doronila.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Indeed, Noynoy Aquino has been on the defensive about his “different” working style since Day One when he was marked early in the honeymoon stage of his Presidency for his late morning starts and habitual tardiness. His most recent bout of blubbering over the unfair treatment he cops from the Media about his work ethic comes across like something a little boy stammering to explain to his teacher why he had not done his homework would say…

Before reading a prepared speech at a conference of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) at Marriott Hotel in Pasay City, he told his audience about two “critical” newspaper columns that, he said, implied that “I don’t work hard enough.”

“For their information, this is my third engagement for the day,” Mr. Aquino said of his noontime appearance at the ECOP conference. “I started out rising at 5:30 in the morning not because I have to plant some seeds but because I have to board a plane by 6:30 to go to the wakes of two of our party mates—one in Cebu, one in Samar.”

Whatever you say, Mr President. Whatever you say.

Perhaps the only thing that can arrest Noynoy’s slide down a popularity slope that is getting steeper and more slippery as each month passes (the primary concern of his bloated team of handlers) is to lead an assault team into a foreign country to kill a top terrorist leader or marry a European princess. But even if he manages to pull those off, will he have answered the question of The Vision Thing? Mr Manuel Buencamino may have to work a bit harder to come up with his next “witty” response to that question.

12 Replies to “Nearing his 12th month: But where is the VISION of Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III?”

  1. Didn’t Noynoy say he didn’t have a vision?

    As I might have said before though, I do wonder if this lack of vision is actually responsible for his popularity – at least initially. It works in tune with a small-minded culture whose belief that “thinking big” only leads to authoritarianism has been reinforced.

    On the other hand, the other product of such small-mindedness is fickleness…

  2. I had seen the way of thinking of Mr. Buencamino. He was a fellow Blogger in the revitalized/defunt Flipino Voices. He epitomizes, a Journalist; who is On Payroll by a politician…the Old Filipino Journalist type…anyway, Mr. Buancamino has to sweat for his pay…
    I have never seen a President; who is not only incompetent; but; is deluding himself, that he is accomplishing a lot…so he bribed people to get that Honorary Doctorate Degree, to delude himself more…all he did was commit one mistake after another…with no programs, goals, visions, etc…to solve our country’s problems…of course, he is busy moving day, after day…movement is never progress…you can go around and around, getting nowhere…

  3. I have this ion my fb notes –

    “It’s been for quite some time when I’ve noticed President Aquino is complaining about the negative media coverage he is getting lately. To the point that he’s blaming it (blame game again, heh…) as the cause of his declining popularity. President Aquino believed that there is failure in delivering his supposed achievements to public notice, resulting in the drastic fall in his recent performance surveys.

    President Obama has the same problem with his popularity decline. In last year’s November midterm election rout, Obama acknowledged his failure to communicate his economic-rescue message to anxious Americans. He did not blame his policies for the loss, but rather the lack of communication with the American people.

    Is it just a coincidence that President Aquino has the same excuse as Obama in making a way out of his evident poor performance (or the lack of it) as president of a republic?

    (This might be a case of nitpicking on my part but read on nevertheless…)

    Let me start with their similarities:

    Aquino is 51 and Obama is 49 years old. Both lack executive experience. During their election campaigns, both were the darling of the media and the movie industries. Both smoke heavily.

    Actually, it’s not their similarity per se that I’m curious about. It’s on how far President Aquino is similar with President Obama by design. Or is it by coincidence?

    (The joke around in the US is if Al Qaeda wants to destroy US, they must hurry because Obama is almost beating them to it).

    > Is it by coincidence that President Aquino’s election campaign is also about hope and change, Obama’s patented campaign battle cry? (He he he, the Obama effect.)

    > President Obama’s first meeting with his cabinet was after 3 months of his being elected. Vice Pres Binay was quoted that there has been no full Cabinet meeting in three months in one news article dated Jan. 2, 2011.

    > The mastery of the art of blame game. He inherited the problem from previous administration if he can’t go any forward in resolving an issue.

    > There is this eventuality that President Aquino will tell the people that the rise in unemployment rate in our country under his watch is not abnormal since the same is also true in US under Obama’s watch.

    > Feigning coughing in between speeches. Check that one with Obama’s ah…uh… style while delivering a speech without a teleprompter. (The Obama Aftereffect)

    > President Aquino (Statement of President Aquino on the SC’s Issuance of a Status Quo Ante Order Regarding EO No. 2): “While this Status Quo Ante Order applies only to one of four petitioners, let me be clear about its far-reaching consequences.” (His Obama moment.)

    > President Aquino (Speech of President Aquino during the 75th Anniversary of Proctor & Gamble Philippines): “Make no mistake about it, this administration is serious in efforts to create a strong, competitive”. (His another Obama moment.)

    Take note of this.

    The top five Obama catchphrases and the times mentioned were gathered by The Global Language Monitor and dated March 25, 2011:

    “Make no mistake” 2,924 times

    “Win the future” 1,861 times

    “Here’s the deal” 1,450 times

    “Let me be clear” 1,066 times

    “It will not be easy” 1,059

    No originality heh… There is this certainty on my part that one can find those catchphrases in President Aquino’s previous and future speeches.”

  4. Negected in your review of the partisan accusations against Obama are his achievements: stopping the financial panic and economic crash, passing comprehensive health care reform, articulating and carrying out rational policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, raising the image of the US abroad, and nailing bin Laden. Obama will go down as one of the great presidents in US history.

    President Obama is an intelligent, capable man, a superb father and husband, and the style of diplomat that has long been missing in the sound bite political world that allows nutcases like Palin and Trump rise to the forefront.

    President Aquino is an unachieving man who was drafted into the presidency by a popular cry from people starved for someone without corruption as their driving influence. He is learning in a difficult job that few could do, but many are eager to criticize, for whatever they think it gains. You ought to have a little more respect for your President, I think.

    1. Yes I do have a little respect — for the Office of the President and not necessarily for the man sitting in it. And that is why I write about stuff like this.

      1. Actually, I was addressing Trosp, but neglected to indicate that. If you were not “for” the Philippines, and its President (the Office thereof), you would not write so eloquently and persistently about the shortcomings to be found therein.

    2. @Joe

      “stopping the financial panic and economic crash, passing comprehensive health care reform, articulating and carrying out rational policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, raising the image of the US abroad, and nailing bin Laden.”

      Ok, ok let’s see if Joe’s Pro-Obama is true.


      He created jobs yes but the unemployment rises, 9%. Now how long do you think those jobs that he created would last anyway? Wow what a smart guy huh?

      Let’s see more…

      Wow, the jobs did not rose up so would they need health care if they can’t even pay it? Will they see the US as a good image? Again, what a smart guy Obama is.

      So what does he do to raise his rating? Make up a staged OBL killing and make him look like a hero. He has nothing to offer anyway so he got desperate to do this thing.

      Obama is not qualified to be a leader. He has no credentials, no past achievements, no military history like Bush Jr. and Clinton that’s why the war on Iraq is losing, and he came out from no where. I can’t even figure out why he was president in the first place without any credentials.

    3. @Joe America

      So according to you socialist Obama is an achiever and Palin and Trump are nutcases…

      Let’s validate them:

      (From what I have plagiarized.)

      > Stopping the financial panic and economic crash.

      Barack Obama tripled the US national deficit in his first year in office. In his second year the deficit was again a record $1.29 Trillion. This year the deficit will be even higher, the deficit this year will reach $1.65 trillion.

      And take note of these:

      * Obama’s stimulus, passed in his first month in office, will cost more than the entire Iraq War — more than USD 100 billion (15%) more.

      * Just the first two years of Obama’s stimulus cost more than the entire cost of the Iraq War under President Bush, or six years of that war.

      > Passing comprehensive health care reform.

      * Which 56% of Americans want it repealed (36% opposed).

      *House Hearing Reveals the Truth About the
      Obamacare Waivers
      March 17, 2011
      From The Heritage Foundation: To date, over 1,000 companies, covering nearly 2.4 million employees, have been granted waivers to escape the burdensome requirements of Obamacare.

      > Intelligent:

      Take these as his example of his intelligence:

      * “Just this past week, we passed out of the out of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee — which is my committee — a bill to call for divestment from Iran as way of ratcheting up the pressure to ensure that they don’t obtain a nuclear weapon.”
      –Barack Obama, Sderot, Israel, July 23, 2008. Obama was not on the Senate Banking Committee.

      * I’m always worried about using the word “victory” because it invokes this notion of EMPEROR HIROHITO coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur.”-Barack Obama, July, 2009 on Iraq

      * “I’ve now been in 57 states — I think one left to go.”
      –Obama 2008 campaign event, Beaverton, OR.

      * “On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes — and I see many of them in the audience here today — our sense of patriotism is particularly strong.”
      –Barack Obama, Memorial Day commemoration. (He he he he can see dead people.)

      Now you know why he is the TOTUS – Teleprompter of the United States. It makes Palin a genius just by knowing Obama’s gravity of dumbness.

      I just can’t go on rebuffing you. How BOUT you providing the readers of this blog the facts on what you were claiming.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.