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The Legacy of President NoyNoy (PNoy) Aquino May 26, 2016

The Legacy of President NoyNoy (PNoy) Aquino

Stepping Down after 6 Years in Office
After 6 years of presidential rule, PNoy will be stepping down in July 2016 to give way to incoming President-elect Rodrigo Duterte. Now that his term is ending, let's look back to take stock of his accomplishments and failures. What exactly is his legacy?

Rooting for the Man
In the presidential campaign of 2010, I rallied for PNoy to be elected, had heated conversations with friends who thought differently, and even unfriended a friend who championed someone else. I argued that he had good intentions for the country and he would not plunder the treasury. I argued that despite his weakness and lack of accomplishments, he can still appoint technocrats who can run the country efficiently and cleanly under his stewardship. I didn't really consider him qualified for the job in the ideal sense, but he was the best of what we had to work with.

Promising Start
His no "wang-wang" policy when he stepped into office heralded a kind of ground-based optimism to the people. It was a promising start. The optimism however, wasn't sustained. It more like plateau-ed with people expecting more of what's to never really happened. He had corrupt Justice Corona impeached but he himself had to corrupt other politicians to do his bidding. He used rallying slogans like "Daang Matuwid" and "kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap", but in the end, they were hollow and remained lip-motion. Corruption was still everywhere.

The Legacy of President NoyNoy (PNoy) Aquino

The Litmus Tests
A lot of numbers have been tossed around and narratives in the superlative, touting the accomplishments of outgoing president PNoy Aquino. To wit, "transformed into one of Asia’s brightest economic stars", "the economy grew by 7.1%", etc. Numbers don't lie unless you forge it, but people can manipulate numbers to present a lie - ask any statistician! Even if the numbers are true, that there was economic progress, but if the poor remained poor, then it only means the progress only benefited the rich, further widening the gap between rich and poor - a classic case of income inequality that breeds social unrest. No matter how the big numbers stack-up, I use my litmus test to validate his presidency.

  • The Poor Man Litmus Test
    Take the poor man 6 years ago during the start of this is he now? Has he been prosperous? Is he just as poor? Is he poorer? The stark answer is resounding - the poor man is still poor or perhaps even poorer. Minimum wage earners are still squeezed between a rock and hard place. People still leave the country in search of greener pasture leaving their families behind and consequently breaking the basic fiber of society - the family. And the ones who left before didn't come back. PNoy can talk economic growth until the cows come home, but the bottom line is, how does the poor man now compare to his lot 6 years ago?
  • MRT Litmus Test
    On a pedestrian level (figuratively and literally), he could not even make the MRT run efficiently - causing long lines, undue delays, overcrowding and almost inhumane congestion on a daily basis for the commuting public. PNoy could not even connect the 3km gap between the North Avenue Stations of the Taft Line and EDSA Line to create a continuous loop for faster and seamless transport for the people. Why showcase the MRT? The MRT is the metaphor for Metro Manila's public state-of-being. It affects 650,000 who represent the middle class - the productive and tax-paying citizens of the country who prop the country's domestic economy. The MRT is the tip of the iceberg that is the most visible and most felt by the public who put up with it as part of their daily grind. PNoy failed this test miserably.
  • The DU30 Landslide Win
    Why did Rodrigo Duterte win the presidency by a landslide? If PNoy's programs were successful in uplifting the common man to new economic heights, then why did people not vote for Mar Roxas and perpetuate the Daang Matuwid program?

    Duterte's win says volumes about the state of the union and the mounting level of frustration imposed on the public. Duterte did not want to run for the presidency but eventually ran due to persistent public clamor not just from Davao people but from across the country. The people are fed up! It says a lot about the desperation of the Filipino against the status quo - of oligarchs offering band-aid solutions to a serious social hemorrhage without any long-lasting solution to the social and economic crisis.

    Despite his accomplishments in Davao, Duterte was unlikely to win at the national level. Why? He is a self-admitted killer who has little regard for the rule of law. He cursed the pope, perhaps the most popular pope that graced the Vatican in recent years. He even said he will pardon Gloria Macapagal Aroyo for plunder and other crimes against humanity. He threatened to sever ties with long-time allies. He made a crude joke about the mayor being first to taste a beautiful rape/murder victim. But despite all of that, he still a landslide! What does that say about the state of the nation's frustration? How miserable has PNoy's presidency been for the public to grab hold of a knife's edge (kapit sa patalim) and risk a possible dictatorial rule?
  • China Litmus Test
    PNoy has done nothing to curtail China's bully-claim and development over our own islands. Granted, we cannot win a war against China, but still, he could have done something instead of passively watching China take over our islands and then look the other way pretending the problem does not exist. That is not the mark of leader!

Ending Thoughts
Yes, through out his term, he remained clean. But at the end of this presidency, he has proven once again, like his mother before him, that good intentions are not enough to run a country. He could have rallied the people to support his crusade for nation-building, but he didn't have the charm, the leadership, the capacity or even the credibility to do so. Looking back, he is just another oligarch who did the charade about uplifting the poor but left them exactly where they were, if not worse. The Aquinos were given their chance at history. I've made my verdict. Let's see what history says.

Knowing this in hindsight, would I still have supported him 6 years ago? This is the saddest part. Yes. As dismal as it turned out, as disappointed as I am now, PNoy was already the best of the lot. I had more serious concerns about the rest of them. I guess we had been reduced to settling for the least inept of the unacceptables (trapos, questionable mandate, inexperience, oligarch), instead of choosing the best from among the most qualified.

--- TheLoneRider

PNoy (Benigno Aquino III) Blogs on TheLoneRider

  1. The Legacy of President NoyNoy (PNoy) Aquino May 28, 2016
  2. President NoyNoy Aquino Aug 2, 2010

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May 26, 2016

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