From Pnoy to Leni Robredo
 
 
 
 
 
 
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From Pnoy to Leni Robredo

Vice President Leni Robredo and ex-Pres. PNoy Aquino. INQUIRER FILE

Vice President Leni Robredo and ex-Pres. PNoy Aquino. INQUIRER FILE

Sinulat ko ito naging presidente si Noynoy Aquino. Na-delete ang kolum sa web noong nag-redesign ang Inquirer.net kaya gusto kong i-share muli dito — at balikan ang mga inasahan ng sambayanan sa kanyang pamumuno.

“Kay Noynoy sa iyong pagsumpa,” June 2010

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Sa bisperas ng pagsumpa mo, maraming umaasa. Maraming nagagalak, puno ng pagmamalaki.

Sa Makati, nandoon marahil ang isang empleyado. Naghahandang magsuot ng dilaw para ipagdiwang ang tagumpay mo. Ang pagdating ng bagong araw.

Nagsabog siya ng confetti noong panahon ng nanay mo. Nagluksa noong pumanaw niya. At ngayon nagdiriwang sa ‘yong pagdating.

Sa Payatas, pinag uusapan siguro kung ano kaya ang mangyayari sa pamumuno mo.

“Mabuti siyang tao.”

“ ‘Alang ere kahit mayaman.”

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“Puno ng kabutihan tulad ng nanay niya.”

Kahit sa ibang bansa, umaasa sila.

Maaaring may isang nawalan ng trabaho sa Estados Unidos. Hirap sa pagbabalanse ng pagbayad sa mortgage at ang tulong na kailangang ipadala sa Pilipinas.

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“Bumuti nga sana ang ekonomiya sa atin. Para makahanap na ng trabaho ang kapatid ko.”

Pero marami ring nagdududa. Nangangamba. May mga wala nang pakialam, wala nang pag-asa.

Marami silang iba ang inaatupag habang inaasikaso ng marami ang iyong selebrasyon.

Habang piniperme ang seating arrangement sa Quirino Grandstand, may mga nanlilimos pa rin sa Quiapo. Balewala malamang sa marami sa kanila ang nalalapit na inauguration. Ang susunod nilang kakainin – iyon ang mas importante.

Balewala rin malamang ito sa marami sa Payatas. Ang sunod na dating ng basura ang inaalala nila. Doon manggagaling ang susunod na hapunan.

Sa isang pamamahay, nag-eempake siguro ang dating guro para sa biyahe niya sa Ingglatera kung saan maninilbihan siya bilang katulong o alalay sa pag aalaga ng mga matatanda.

“Ay naku. Wala namang magbabago. Parehong kulay tulad noong dati.”

Pero nandoon din silang mga naghahanda para suportahan ka.

Malinaw sa isang negosyante na magkakaroon lang ng kaunlaran kung matigil nga ang korupsyon, at kung mas maraming Pilipino ang nakikinabang sa yaman ng bansa.

“Matigil lang ang mga drama sa pulitika, pwede tayong lumarga.”

At ganoon din marahil ang pakiramdam ng mga kabataan at estudyanteng tumulong sa kampanya mo. “sAnAH [email protected] may pagbAbaG0h paH [email protected] [email protected] ni N0wyn0WEy.”

Subalit nandoon silang umaasang mabibigo ka.

Sa mga malalaking bahay sa mararangyang komunidad na may matataas na bakod, gwardyado ng mga sikyo, naghahanda sila at nag aalala. Silang maaaring madisgrasya ng pangako mong sugpuin nang tuluya ang korupsyon.

Pero meron din sa kanilang panatag ang kalooban.

“It was all about politics,” sabi nila.

“Pang eleksyon lang yon.”

“Kilala natin ang mga supporters niyan. Di tayo gagalawin niyan. E di pati mga kadugo niya madadale.”

At baka may batayan nga kumpiyansa nila. Laking tuwa siguro ng mga kamag anak mo na ikaw ang presidente.

At tuwa na di lang batay sa pagnanasang guminhawa ang bayan natin, na matapos na sa wakas ang panahon ng sunud sunod na krisis.

Tuwa na batay sa inaasahan ng marami, sa iniisip ng marami: Na hinding hindi mo tatalikuran ang kadugo mo.

Samantala, nandoon silang naghahanda para hamunin ka.

Hindi ka pa nauupo sa poder kaaway ka na ng bayan sa mata ng mga rebeldeng walang kikilalaning pinuno ang sumusunod sa pinanganalandakan nilang wastong ideolohiya. Sa Mindanao, handang ipagpatuloy ng iba pang rebelde gustong humiwalay sa Pilipinas. Ang malungkot e maski sa hanay ng militar na pamumunuan mo, merong nagnanasang patuloy lang ang giyera, patuloy lang ang bakbakan, dahil dito sila kumita at nagkakaroon ng mahalagang papel.

Subalit kahit sa mga grupong ito, naroroon ang mga umaasa. Silang kumalaban sa gobyerno, o nag sundalo dahil gusto nilang tumulong, dahil nais nilang ipagtanggol ang sambayanan.

“Magkatotoo lang nga sana ang mga pangako ng presidenteng ito,” sinasabi nila.

Meron ding buo na ang loob sa pagnanasang hindi ka magtatagumpay. Na naghahanda nang magniobra para siguraduhing, pag semplang mo, pag bagsak ng tiwala sa iyo ng mga Pilipino, nandoon sila para makaposisyon. Makahirit. Makabuwelo.

May ngiti kaya sa bangkay ng diktador na nakasalang sa freezer sa norte? Malamang nakangiti rin ang misis niya, ang bagong conggresswoman, habang binabati ang baong gobernador, ang bagong senador.

“Malapit na. Six more years. Sabi ko na nga ba, wala tayong dapat aminin. No need to apologize for anything. For they’ll soon forget everything. Don’t worry my dears. Makakabalik din tayo. The true, the good and the beautiful will be back.”

Ang koalisyong naghatid sa iyo sa poder ay malawak. Iba iba ang pinanggalingan. Halo halo ang patutunguhan.

Sa simula, malamang pakinggan mo silang lahat. Ang problema ay ito: Na pag nagkakagipitin na, makikinig ka sa kanilang may pinaka malakas na boses. Sa mga kakila mo na, mga kadugo at kaibigan. Sa mga matatanyag at makapangyarihan.

Sana hindi ganito ang mangyari. Dahil marami ngang umaasa na iba ka. Maraming umaasang totoo ang nakikita nila, ang nararamdaman nila na tao kang marangal at may matibay na paninindigan.

Simula na ang paglalakbay.

••

Clearly, many things have changed.

For one thing, as my niece just told me recently, “jejemon” is no longer in. The dictator’s corpse which I imagined was smiling with the 2010 election results? It has been moved from the north to Manila to desecrate what was supposed to be a resting place for our heroes.

And the Marcoses? Yes they remain a threat to democracy. But obviously, there was another, bigger, more destructive threat that was not mentioned in that column, Rodrigo Duterte, the leader who inspired mass slaughter, who ushered in a new era of fear and despair.

There were many things that got me excited about the Pnoy years. He held the line against attempts of the Marcoses to distort the past. “Many of us were worried that P-Noy would turn out to be a wimp who would give in to, get hoodwinked by, the forces of tyranny and greed. But he proved us wrong. And this is one time that I’m glad to be proven wrong,” I wrote in October 2011.

He took the problem of corruption seriously. I wrote two months later: “He could be the first Philippine president whose family will end up becoming substantially poorer and politically weaker after he leaves office than before he took power.”

But I also was critical. And it is important not to forget why so many others were also critical of and disappointed with his leadership, especially toward the end of his term.

The best way to honor Pnoy’s memory is to highlight what he accomplished, but also to point out the weaknesses that a new reform-minded leader who hopefully can put an end to the Duterte nightmare might learn from.

At the beginning of Pnoy’s term, an acquaintance told me that he was so popular and successful his anointed successor would surely win in 2016.

That didn’t happen.

Lila Shahani, who served as an assistant secretary under Pnoy (and who happens to be the daughter of former Senator Letty Ramos Shahani and niece of FVR), offered an important insight into why that happened, why she too became disillusioned despite her admiration for Pnoy.

“In my view it was the elitism and cliquishness of the people around the late President – and not so much PNoy himself – that led to his downfall, ultimately paving the way for someone like Duterte,” she wrote in a Facebook post.

It’s been great to read how Pnoy’s speechwriters remember his work ethic and integrity and I hope someone writes a detailed and in-depth account of his years in office. I’m particularly interested in one major criticism of Pnoy, his staunch loyalty to friends and allies, which became a serious weakness.

In fact, he himself appeared to defend this attitude when he said: “If all these people who are close to us are removed and replaced by those who are not as close, the next group could already be our enemies.”

New revelations about Pnoy offer an explanation. Here was a man who was forced to take on a huge burden as a young man, from Ninoy’s imprisonment to the military rebellions against Cory, and who probably embraced the view that he can and must trust only his family’s most loyal friends and allies.

Leni Robredo’s recent recollections of Pnoy and the graciousness and generosity he showed to the Robredo family after Jesse Robredo’s death are moving. But it’s also noteworthy that Robredo did not always get along with Pnoy as Criselda Yabes’s compelling biography — which I highly recommend — recalls.

In fact, Jesse Robredo’s political philosophy was broader and more engaging than Pinoy’s. “Hindi na sapat na tayo ay matino lamang. Hindi rin sapat na tayo ay mahusay lamang. Hindi lahat ng matino ay mahusay, at lalo namang hindi lahat ng mahusay ay matino. Ang dapat ay matino at mahusay.”

[“It is not enough to be decent. And it is also not enough to be brilliant. Not everyone who is decent is brilliant, and not everyone who is brilliant is decent. You have to be both decent and brilliant.”]

Again, I think the best way to honor Pnoy is to highlight what he accomplished and also where he failed. He was a man of decency, integrity and honesty. But that was not enough. It did not prevent the rise of Duterte. It did not stop the nightmare that the country is enduring today.

The good news is Leni Robredo, who has been building on and expanding the politics of quiet strength and integrity of both Pnoy and her late husband.

In the face of the crude and vicious attacks launched by Duterte and his supporters, she has soldiered on, working tirelessly to do the basic tasks of a national leader in a time of crisis. No drama. No theatrics. In many ways, she has emerged as a wiser, stronger leader than either Pnoy and Robredo who did not endure what she has had to endure.

It even appears that Leni Robredo, if she decides to run next year, can draw much strength and many lessons from Pnoy.

Unlike the president whom the nation just honored who was worried that “if all these people who are close to us are removed and replaced by those who are not as close, the next group could already be our enemies,” VP Leni, perhaps tempered the political battles she has had to fight over the past few years, has embraced a broader, wiser more inclusive view of her role as a leader — a leader who understand the complexity of what she and the nation are up against.

“Kailangan nating intindihin bakit marami iyong attracted sa pangulo, bakit maraming attracted sa ganitong klaseng mga pulitiko,” she said recently in her weekly radio show. “Hindi puwedeng sabihin na tayo lang ang magaling. … Dapat intindihin kung bakit ganito ang paniniwala nila. Kung hindi natin iintindihin, hindi tayo magkakaroon ng pagkakaisa.”

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TAGS: eulogy, Philippine politics, Philippine presidents
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