For old times’ sake, let us revisit how the Inquirer back in 2010 crowned President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III “our Filipino of the Year” after just six months in power. This honour was bestowed on the incumbent Philippine president supposedly for being “the living Filipino who made the most positive impact in 2010”. And, it seems, on the basis of a November 2010 Social Weather Station survey that showed “seven out of 10 Filipinos were satisfied with President Aquino’s administration” and on a Pulse Asia “trust rating” of 80 percent.
Erstwhile the “biggest rock star of the moment”, according to the Inquirer, Noynoy supposedly “endeared himself to the masses by implementing quickly doable reforms that they could instantly appreciate” — things like the banning of the “wang-wang” and stopping “the practice of politicians stamping government projects with their names”.
The Inquirer went on to convince its readers why Noynoy is “bigger” than singer Arnel Pineda and possessing of “parallels” with boxer Manny Pacquiao. For one thing, Arnel “could never have secured the $434-million Millennium Challenge Corporation grant from the government of yet another rock star of this generation, US President Barack Obama”. Oh no sirrrreee. Of course not. Furthermore, the Inquirer insists that there are “some parallels, too, between Pacquiao’s and Aquino’s manner of acquiring the [Filipino of the Year] title for which this paper’s editors vote annually”. Indeed, get this: “Pacquiao won boxing matches that were ‘heavily watched’ worldwide. Aquino won the arguably most closely watched—and not only locally—Philippine presidential election”.
All the pats on the back aside at the time, only a guy like President BS Aquino could bomb on his first State of the Nation Address, botch a public-relations management challenge in the aftermath of a tragic hostage situation that resulted in the deaths of eight Hong Kong nationals, and overall preside over a period that saw the peace and order situation in the country degenerate significantly and then walk away with a distinction earned on the dubious claim that you made a significant “positive impact” on the country.
Of course it helped that the “survey firms” that provided some basis for this “achievement” of his are owned by members of his extended family, and the awarding body itself once served (and by most accounts still serves) as the Aquinos’ campaign newsletter.
But then this is the Philippines — where the National “Debate” is one where “all the wrong arguments prevail” and where “logic and common sense take the backseat to political arguments and the views of the poorly-educated”.
It is often a good exercise to look back and regard, with the benefit of useless hindsight, the way things espoused by the overwhelming majority were taken for granted as ‘right’ or ‘valid’. Then sit back and have a bit of a chuckle.
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