By TJ Besa
The moment our beloved former President Cory Aquino's passing was announced by Noynoy, perhaps by virtue of his being the only son and father figure by default, political capital was created. At that instant, even Noy may not have realized this, but one could already see that this was a "slingshot situation"--a confluence of events which provide undeniable opportunity to propel even inert objects, or persons, to otherwise impossible heights.
By now, we all know who the near-inert beneficiary is.
Heir-apparent to a martyred father and President mother, some would breathlessly declare, the choice is clear. On the heels of economic fallout, numerous national tragedies, and the looming presidential elections, Aquino the Inheritor seemed a promising choice for a nation badly in need of heroes. Note how every other political ad now is about heroes.
The "situation," quite by accident, seems to have left Aquino constantly marveling and wide-eyed, mouth agape, jaws slack, in complete awe of his good (?) fortune. Like a child innocently on his way to play a game of checkers, he now finds himself thrust to the high stakes table up against the big boys.
Marinated in low-level politics, seasoned with sympathy, and fired with opportunity, Aquino's run to the top may very well get us all burned.
But worry not, Noy. I have nothing personal against you and know that this is not your own doing. Rather, the current situation may be a result of opportunistic manipulations by political handlers, realizing the power of playing to the sympathies and emotions of a people. And it is our fault, too, for pining that the leadership and management savvy of the parents have been inherited by a son. Not.
On second thought, even dear Tita Cory was our accidental president, albeit inexperienced, through no fault of hers. Propelled by public outrage over the assassination of would-be presidential challenger, Ninoy, she has come to be known as the mother of People Power--an unwitting catalyst to the overthrow of a dictator. My affection for Cory is not necessarily personal, but more importantly is for what she has come to represent: a collective dissent against abuse of political power. However, my admiration begins and ends there, and does not extend to her presidential performance.
Once again, it is our endearing but ridiculous sentimentality that has almost led us down the road to ruin, by launching Noynoy on a trajectory for a presidential run. Though some would have us believe that it is a case of nanos gigantum humeris insidentes, where one would benefit from standing on the shoulders of blind giants, this time around it is not the giant Orion who is without vision.
Latest observations, however, indicate that fascination with Aquino the Son, is a passing fancy. During the run-up to filing of presidential candidacies, I recently found myself in Tarlac City, the bailiwick and bulwark of Aquino support. I chanced upon the Noynoy parade in the city plaza, noting a stage packed with his candidates, supporters, and handlers. I daresay that the audience seemed to be just a little bit more than those who were putting on the show.
By this sign, I am hopeful that the level of political maturity of the voting public, in this country that I love dearly, is rising. Quoting Professor Ed Malay, Director of the Issues and Advocacies Center, "the drop in the survey rating of Noynoy is understandable as the euphoria associated with the death and burial of the late President Cory Aquino has started to wear off."
Some objects, no matter the driving force exerted upon them, encounter resistance if no substance and mass exist. Have you ever tried firing a ping-pong ball thru a slingshot? Noy is already falling short. There is still hope for the Philippines. May the best man win.