Desperately Seeking Noynoy

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.

7 thoughts on “Desperately Seeking Noynoy”

  1. “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.” –> I completely agree with this observation. I’ve been monitoring his statements on issues since November, and he keeps backtracking and changing his positions on everything from the RH bill to taxes.

    Maybe after he says something, his team of handlers pull him aside to tell him that he said the wrong thing, so he comes back out in public and changes his tune.

  2. Catcat, that’s not true at all.

    I’ve recently written a very long post on (the philippine online chronicles) “noynoy aquino’s platform,” which basically assembles in one place the guy’s platform, a long laundry list of his accomplishments, his issues, and answers to those issues.

  3. Whenever I meet my pro-noynoy friends, I ask them why they are voting for him. Invariably, the answer is because the others cannot be trusted (Gibo with GMA, Villar is corrupt, Erap is even more corrupt). I get the sense it is far easier to criticize the others to swing a vote towards Noynoy, rather than to convince me why Noynoy is IT. I find this disturbing, even more so the current hate campaign vs. GMA. I do not want another 6 yrs of vindictiveness, of inaction because people are busy investigating this and that, finding closures here and there. I agree with you –Noynoy may be nice, but lacks substance. If elected, the power vultures around him will rule!

  4. Ninoy is not Noynoy, Cory is not Noynoy, Noynoy is Noynoy in itself and neither Ninoy nor Cory can be Noynoy.

    Huwag ilagay sa kahihiyan ang pangalan ng yumaong Ninoy at Cory. Sila ay dinadakila at pinagpipitagan ng maraming Pilipino. Huwag padala sa mga buyo at sulsul ng mga taong nakapaligid. Mag-isip. Ateneo Graduate. Gamitin ang iyong katalinuhan sa pagdesisyon para sa kapakanan ng iyong mahal na bansang Pilipinas. Hindi pa huli ang lahat may panahon pa para magisip sa ginagawang putusaga ng iyong Kampo sa kabilang kampo. Alalahaning ang pangalan ang nakataya sa darating na halalan. Huwag hayaan masira at lumaban ng parrehas. sa mga katunggali. Ito ay isand Paala lamang.

  5. When Noynoy ran for congress in our district, the first thing we asked was, “who is this guy?” Noynoy has less ability and was less distinguished than her sister Kris.

    Noynoy as a congressman left with an undistinguished record and did nothing for our district. He deigns to visit the district he represents only when he cannot refuse as when he is invited for fiestas. You could count in the fingers of one hand the number of times he has visited us. He was elected only on the strength of his family name and because no one dared run against him when his family was still in power, When his term ended there was no place for him to go but the senate because he knew he couldn’t win a position as governor nor as mayor of Tarlac City. That is how little Tarlaquenos think of him.

    When he ran for the senate and won it was a big surprise for many of us. It was unbelievable how big his name was in Manila despite there being no substance to his ability.

    Since Noynoy is the darling of the Manila-based press, he may win the presidency. Tarlaquenos will at least have another son in Malacanang. Despite misgivings, I shall vote for him or the much more able Gibo Teodoro because they are Tarlaquenos. I would rather vote for a Tarlaqueno than a another Manileno who will only add more garish streetlights to Roxas boulevard—which is already like barber’s row—while the rest of the country is neglected. If the rest of the Philippines are foolish enough to vote for Noynoy then it is their fault.

    Promises are insubstantial. It is easy to promise to eradicate corruption but without leadership or management acumen those promises will remain promises. It takes management and diplomatic ability to root out a problem that is decades old. Cory Aquino was unable to eradicate it. Neither did the experienced and disciplined Fidel Ramos. What makes people think someone with no executive ability shall be able to succeed where people greater than him failed? People should remember the old adage: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    Good intentions are not enough. It was Cory Aquino’s good intentions that placed the Ampatuans in power in Mindanao, Previously, the territory was held by the powerful Dimaporo clan who were unfortunately pro-Marcos. Now, years after Aquino placed the Ampatuans in power, it was a different president that took the blame for a decision made decades ago.

    I pity the Tarlaquenos who are the legal owners of Hacienda Luisita. They have already suffered so much. Despite death threats and constant fear, the farmers and planters will not leave the Hacienda because doing so will waive their rights to the land when a future conscientious government finally decides to respect justice and implement a contract which has remained executory since the 1960s.

    For as long as style prevails over substance in Philippine politics and for as long as voters are willing to vote for a person they scarcely know nothing about—if Noynoy lived in your neighborhood you wouldn’t vote for him as Mayor—the Philippines shall never progress.

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