What’s in a Name? For Noynoy, a Shot at Presidency — and a Challenge to Do Better

As president, Cory presided over the restoration of the democratic space that was in place before the declaration of martial law in 1972. Her regime, however, was tarnished by, among other things, the lack of genuine agrarian reform, a long-standing demand of the peasantry, as well as the imposition of US-sponsored low-intensity conflict in the countryside, leading to numerous human-rights violations.

“His mother’s watch was most meaningful for ending the Marcos dictatorship with little other political or economic progress, and actually serious human-rights violations at that,” Africa said in an interview with Bulatlat. “The politician Noynoy meanwhile has not yet shown any real vision for change in his career so far.”

Africa pointed out that “whatever clamor there is for Noynoy to run reflects the people’s yearning for change. Unfortunately, with Noynoy, it’s again just about changing personalities.”

Tuazon of CenPEG believes that Noynoy and his supporters need to do more other than rely on the “Cory magic.”

“Those who support Noynoy because they believe that being an Aquino can win votes should do more than that. They should prove that Noynoy, having been a legislator for years, has a track record and experience of leadership and capabilities to lead the country from the morass of corruption and failed governance. We’ve not seen that yet.”

Noynoy, Tuazon said, “faces the formidable challenge of broadening such outpouring of sympathy from the small upper-middle classes to the masses where the votes really count.”

The Only Son

The only son of the Aquino couple, Noynoy was born in 1960 and studied at the Ateneo de Manila University from pre-school to college, graduating in 1981 with an AB in Economics. He joined the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) as an individual member in 1983 and, from 1985 to 1986, was retail sales supervisor and youth promotions manager for Nike Philippines and, subsequently, advertising and promotions assistant for Mondragon Philippines. From 1986 to 1993, he concurrently held the positions of vice-president and treasurer of Best Security Agency Corporation, owned by his uncle Antolin Oreta. From 1993 to 1996, he was executive assistant for administration at the Central Azucarera de Tarlac, and from 1996 to 1998 served as the same company’s fields service manager.

Though the tumultuous events involving his father and, later, his mother in the period 1983-1986, Noynoy was pretty much out of the limelight, hogging the headlines only in 1987, after getting wounded in a coup attempt led by Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan.

His first foray into electoral politics was in 1998, as a candidate for representative of the third district of Tarlac. He won in the elections, and was elected for two more terms in 2001 and 2004.

In 2007, he ran for a Senate seat, campaigning on a platform in which he claimed to stand for strengthening the Senate as an independent branch of government, continuing to hold government accountable for its “excesses and misgovernance.” He also promised to resist charter change “if done to serve the selfish interests of the few and if the process circumvents that prescribed by the Constitution.” He vowed to stop attempts to “impose a repressive government” and to be “the voice of the powerless and the oppressed, those who do not have access to our government and are, thus, victims of injustice.”

His official Senate profile cites as “one of his key legislative initiatives” a bill to “make the procurement of the petroleum, oil and lubricants requirements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) transparent by requiring public bidding.” The Senate website does not list any other bills or resolutions that he may have authored as senator since 2007.

Pro-Landlord Position

As pointed out in a statement by the Pagbabago! People’s Movement for Change, “not a few have raised questions about his less than outstanding record as a legislator and his pro-landlord position on land reform. All await his platform for genuine change, which he promised would be forthcoming.”

Tuazon, of CenPEG, pointed out the belief among many Filipinos that the coming election “should not only lead to a change in faces. It should be a transformative process in government as well as social change, of winning back the trust in government and the political system.”

Noynoy, Tuazon said, will not fit into this process. “There’s nothing new in having a candidate driven by the same trapo (traditional politics) style of personality, popularity, name recall, media imagery, and dynasty,” he said. “The presidency needs experience and proven leadership – not just a name.” (Bulatlat.com)

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