Songs of praises to the glory of Noynoy Aquino will fail to move a politically-mature Filipino public

Manila Standard columnist Banayo conspicuously leaves out former President Ferdinand “Apo Lakay” Marcos in the mention of Philippine Presidents in his piece “A stone for the edifice” where he shares his own version of Pantheon. The piece is obviously in praise of the recently departed former President Noynoy “PNoy” Aquino.

It is easy for us to criticize presidents from the armchairs and the laptops we write upon.

A free press and the freedom of expression, after all, are the hallmarks of democracy, without which, authoritarianism prevails. The checks and balances enhanced by public criticism are essential to fostering good governance from our rulers by pointing out shortcomings and when substantiated, failures in moral and legal standards.

But we should give credit where credit is due. To snipe at perceived failures of a former president simply because these are borne by biases and prejudice are not only in poor taste, but poor judgment.

Let history judge, and let generations after, measure the stone, or stones, each president leaves in the edifice of nation-building.

Banayo seems to have forgotten the maxim that with great power comes even greater responsibility and expectation. Elpidio Quirino was felled by his golden pisspot. Ramon Magsaysay died under mysterious circumstances in a plane crash. Diosdado Macapagal was a one-term President brought down by the Stonehill scandal. Fidel Ramos was off to a good start but it’s he who’s largely responsible for our water and power woes up to this time.

The truth is there wasn’t much reconstruction and rehabilitation from the destruction wrought by World War II until Marcos became President. Since his ouster, it is only now that the focus on infrastructure has been realized. Perhaps the better question is, why can’t we heap praises on Presidents while they are still living? Why do we have to wait for them to pass on? Perhaps it’s the heat of the moment? Most of the public tend to believe media reports without being able to read between the lines. Then there is partisan bias fuelled by class issues. I’ve said before that two of our biggest problems are the entitled rich and the entitled poor. It’s the middle class who bears the most burden but they are also the most silent as they go about their daily lives.

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Tomorrow will mark the seven-day anniversary of Aquino’s passing but the edification will not end. The bashing that Aquino got which began during the middle of his term has Duterte enduring the same from the beginning of his. It is not likely to end after he steps down. Duterte doesn’t bitch and whine. He doesn’t make demands on the owner of a broadcast network or a broadsheet for some anchor or columnist to be removed. He has been called all sorts of names but he doesn’t react. Compare this with the President who was furious over the term “noynoying” which came to be used to describe the overall character of his administration. This was coined by the print media then due to the then President’s seemingly long absences from the public eye. Aquino never held Cabinet meetings. He also never bothered to visit troops in their camps. He didn’t bother to show up for the arrival honors of the men massacred at Mamasapano, who followed the orders he had given as commander in-chief.

The best barometer of a President’s performance is the public’s judgment. Post-Marcos presidents have had no success anointing their chosen ones. Ramos’ victory was tainted by electoral fraud. It was thinner than President Rodrigo Duterte’s 39% plurality. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s (GMA’s) candidate Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro lost in 2010. So did Aquino’s Mar Roxas in 2016. Should Duterte’s anointed win, would that finally silence his detractors? Not really. Our politicians have not yet reached that level of maturity. The same is true with the public. In this case, it is the classic chicken-or-egg conundrum; which comes first? The maturity of the politicians or that of the public?

We are facing huge challenges brought about by the pandemic. They will not end soon. In the coming election, we should focus more on issues, not personalities. We shouldn’t fall for motherhood statements anymore. What we need to hear and read about are concrete plans if action moving forward. We shouldn’t fall for edification traps which tug at our emotional heartstrings which has often ended in us, the public, holding the short end of the stick while politicians laugh all the way to the bank with our monies.

2 Replies to “Songs of praises to the glory of Noynoy Aquino will fail to move a politically-mature Filipino public”

    1. Yet these same public may have been looking up to US, not having any idea on the state as it is now.

      IMHO, US is now experiencing their own Aquino presidency.

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