If the saying is true that the character of the leader of a nation reflects the character of the people, then the character of Philippine President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino reflects the character of the Filipino people.
BS Aquino’s recent guest appearance in the popular television show Gandang Gabi Vice gave everyone a clue about what the President is like as a person. Although there wasn’t anything new that the host Vice Ganda, whose real name is Jose Marie Borja Viceral, got out of his one-on-one session with the most “powerful” person in the country, the whole episode confirmed what some of us have been saying all along: that BS Aquino lacks substance.
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Despite this, a lot of Filipinos liked and were amused with the President’s responses and demeanor during the interview. One can be forgiven for thinking that they too lack substance. It’s quite baffling why anyone found the interview entertaining at all considering BS Aquino’s posture during the entire show was a bit uncomfortable to look at. The leader of the Philippines couldn’t even sit up straight just like how a real statesman would.
BS Aquino’s responses during the interview were lame. To be fair, the questions from Vice Ganda were equally lame. Most were actually cringe-worthy. Vice obviously had nothing to work with. I would probably look lame too if I were asked the same questions. Vice Ganda had this tendency to keep bringing back the attention to himself. At some point it looked like he was just using BS Aquino as a prop or a sidekick.
Yes, we all know the host is a comedian so it was expected that he would ask silly questions like “what is your shampoo?” But still, seeing and hearing the awful exchanges between the two made some people want to throw the remote control right at the TV set. I thought it was unbecoming of the leader of a nation of 100 million to be exchanging green jokes on national TV. I’m pretty sure his rabid supporters would object to the criticism of their idol especially since his appearance got mostly positive feedback.
Nevertheless, some members of the media are still wondering why BS Aquino, with his busy schedule, chose to appear in a comedy show. It’s been said that there have been numerous requests from journalists for an interview with him but they were ignored. Of course he would choose someone who is guaranteed to ask easy questions. After all, it is easy enough to impress the celebrity-obsessed voters who were keen to know about the President’s love life. Too bad his response to that one was a big zero.
Those who gave a glowing review of his appearance on the show say that BS Aquino proved that “he is also human” and should be given a break. There is no doubt that he is human. Yes, it is true that to err is human. But it seems as though BS Aquino is more human than others. Sadly, his “amusing” responses that appeared to have endeared him to the viewers were not enough to mask his government’s incompetence. It doesn’t change the fact that he should still be held accountable for the indiscretions committed during his term. After all, he said the same thing when asked by CNN’s Anna Coren why he is singling out his former economic teacher and former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
The notion that BS Aquino should be given a break because like any human being, he makes mistakes is an injustice to the people who are still suffering because of his government’s ineptitude. Millions of public funds are now unaccounted for and there is no evidence that they were used in “good faith”. The funds from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) should have been used to upgrade the Metro Rail Transit instead of distributing it to the lawmakers. Millions of commuters could have benefited from an MRT upgrade. I would have preferred it if Vice Ganda asked the President how he is going to fix the public transport mess. The commuters would have loved to hear what he had to say about the MRT fare hike.
The things that were discussed during the interview were irrelevant to the issues plaguing the nation. It looked like Vice Ganda who is said to be close to Presidential sister Kris Aquino, simply gave BS Aquino a platform to praise his cabinet members. In one segment, Vice Ganda showed photos of his cabinet and asked the President to say something about them. Only a fool wouldn’t see through the propaganda being played out when he praised them including Chief of Philippine National Police Alan Purisima saying he is a “good police officer”. A good police officer wouldn’t be suspended from his post pending investigation of corruption charges.
It is a real pity that majority of Filipinos are too beholden to celebrities. Politicians know this. That is why they need to be seen hanging out with people in show business. In the Philippines, criticizing celebrities is a no-no. They are so star-struck and easily take offense. I don’t think they realize that their obsession with celebrities is what’s keeping them distracted from the thievery that is going on in Philippine government.
Most Filipinos who are obsessed with celebrities also treat their public servants like celebrities. It’s no surprise because a lot of the public servants are former celebrities or are related to a celebrity just like BS Aquino. And that is why public servants get away with stealing and hardly accomplish anything significant for the country. Filipinos do get the government they deserve.
In life, things are not always what they seem.