More than six months ago I wrote a post on how Noynoy Aquino lacks substance. Nothing that has happened since has changed my view. If anything, I feel stronger than ever that he is just not the right person to lead this country for the next six years.
Though I have to admit is it’s not hard to like the guy. He’s a decent and well-mannered fellow. Noynoy’s like a buddy from high school who you may not have seen for a number of years but you instantly feel at ease with if you unexpectedly bump into each other. The kind of guy you want to have coffee with or knock down a few beers while watching the latest Pacquiao fight.
But as the next Philippine president ? The prospect makes me very uneasy. Considering his undistinguished public life, no one can deny that he has gotten to where he is solely because he is Ninoy and Cory’s only son. The presumption being that since his parents were historical giants, their progeny will prove to be noble and outstanding as well. History has proven that this is not necessarily so, Gloria Arroyo being the most obvious example. As is Noynoy’s sister, Kris.
Believing in Noynoy on the basis of his parentage is essentially putting yourself in the hands of two dead people. Not a wise basis for decision-making.
What worries me more is that one doesn’t know where he stands on a number of critical issues and, I strongly suspect, neither does he. His platform is full of pap and trendy management buzzwords, leaving me to suspect it was drafted by a cabal of MBA geeks. What part of it can really be attributed to him ? What original ideas has he articulated ?
More to the point, has he honestly lived by the high ideals he espouses ? A cursory examination of the Hacienda Luisita situation provides a ready answer to this.
One doesn’t become a transformational leader just because he says he is, any more than a frog becomes a prince by croaking about it. Even the rabidly pro-Noynoy columnist, Conrad de Quiros, in expounding on transformational leadership, could not bring himself to say that Noynoy fits the bill.
And he can be petulant, whining about the “biased treatment” he receives from the media, as if he expects and deserves nothing but accolades. This is merely unseemly and annoying now, but is a disturbing indicator of possible intolerance and vindictiveness if and when he ascends the highest corridors of power.
The common fear is that Noynoy, because of his perceived intellectual and other character deficiencies, will be easily manipulated by the people around him, who may not necessarily be as upright as he.
Major Tom commented in my earlier entry of our “sense of desperation in our search for a moral and sensible leadership”. Now is a time when people are desperate and need to cling to a hope (De Quiros’ words). Sadly, this desperation has led many to embrace change for the sake of change, as exemplified by Noynoy. Aquino’s camp has taken advantage of this, projecting him as The Anti-GMA, and simplistically (and cynically) claiming that not being corrupt is by itself enough to qualify him for the presidency. But this half-assed approach to change will likely fail to bring long-lasting and positive renewal. It will ultimately bring us back to where we started, as shown by our experience since EDSA I. We went full circle from Marcos to Arroyo in a scant 15 years.
Meaningful change is deliberate and goal-oriented. It is driven by a clear vision of how things should and could be, not by wishful thinking and euphoria bordering on hysteria. It is guided by humility and a knowledge of one’s limitations but also a courage and steadfastness to transcend such limits. I honestly don’t see this in Noynoy.
I end on a personal note. I have been surprised by the undercurrent of nastiness in the Noynoy campaign. The level of venom aimed at those who refuse to be drawn into the cult of Noynoy is disturbing. I have been patronized and sneered at for not expressing unbridled love for Noynoy, even by people who I thought to be my friends. Among those in the Noynoy camp, I have seen various cliques and factions openly express scorn for and actively undermine each other (for example between the “political operators” and those from civil society groups, each accusing the other of incompetence and hidden agendas). These are not the kind of people we want running the country.