If I hadn’t read it in Manila Bulletin, I wouldn’t have believed President BS Aquino III himself had cautioned a couple of high school students not to pick an ampaw President in the 2016 elections. In 2009, we were all but screaming the same thing and hoping against hope that people would not vote for Aquino, whom we considered an ampaw candidate.
Ampaw, is a sweet snack made up of rice puffs that have been balled and stuck together with caramel. This snack is made mostly of carbohydrates, sugar, oil, and salt, making it a ball of empty calories.
I said it back then, and so did a lot of others from different camps, that Aquino had nothing going for his candidacy in the matter of substance and competence. If at all, the only thing that was going for him was the sympathy of people who were mourning the death of his mother and the endearment many felt towards his father Ninoy.
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In a forum with students of the Hope Christian High School in Manila, the President laid down some qualities that his successor must possess, including trustworthiness, competence and compassion for the people, and warned against “ampaw” or empty candidates.
“Competence has to be demonstrated,” the President said when asked by a student about the qualities new voters should look for in the next president.
“In essence, sino ba ‘yung talagang may laman at sino ba ‘yung ampaw? ‘Yung ampaw baka matutuwa tayo sandali, pero after 10 minutes gutom na tayo dahil wala ngang laman [In essence, who has substance and who is empty? We may be happy with an ampaw candidate but after 10 minutes we’ll get hungry because it is empty],” he added.
Yes, he’s right. Because a few weeks after his oath taking, his leadership was tested during the August 23 Quirino Grandstand Hostage taking and after the the disastrous massacre of Chinese tourists, people started looking for a real leader.
At a press briefing, Senator Sergio Osmeña III said Aquino continues to be “hardheaded” and an “awful manager” with more than two years left in his term.“We’re not going to overthrow or what not. However, he’s going to lose much of his endorsement value in 2016. You know, you have to ascribe or assign a certain value to the endorsement by a sitting president even if he is the outgoing president,” Osmeña told reporters.“I want him to do well. I want him to do better, but sometimes, he’s so hardheaded. You know naman how hardheaded he can be, but what can we do?” he added.