BS Aquino: The prince of Philippine politics

Tony Lopez

Tony Lopez

The United States and indeed, the world, mark this November the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Also, this November, the Philippines marks the 80th birth anniversary of opposition Sen. Benigno S. Aquino Jr. Both JFK and Ninoy were hero and cult figures, idolized more for the myth and legend that surrounded them than their actual achievements. Both were victims of an assassination.

JFK was the nearest to a crown prince Americans had. Ninoy was the nearest to a crown prince Filipinos had. Both were young, brash, ambitious, intellectually hefty, and yes, tragic figures.

JFK and Ninoy both symbolized a people’s unfulfilled dreams and aspirations, their burning yearning for a better world marked by justice, freedom and democracy.

JFK’s only son, JFK Jr., died in a crash of a small plane he himself was piloting on July 21, 1999. Who knows JFK Jr would have been president too. He had tremendous charisma and possessed the most famous name in US politics, after Lincoln and Washington.

Ninoy’s only son, Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino 3rd, is the Philippines’ president. He had famous parents—Ninoy and the late President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino who died on August 1, 2009. A nation’s grief over her death catapulted BS Aquino to the presidency.

BS Aquino is the nearest thing to a crown prince of Philippine politics during this century. He won with more votes than any other elected president of the Philippines—15 million versus the nearly ten million of the second placer, the comebacking former President Joseph Estrada.

Filipinos embraced BS Aquino like their savior. After the disappointing abbreviated 30-month rule of Estrada and the controversial nine years of Gloria Arroyo, perhaps the most maligned president in Philippine history, BS Aquino was like an oasis in the desert that somehow met the people’s hunger for a good leader. BS Aquino promised good governance and deliverance from corruption, massive unemployment and poverty and one of the worst income inequality ratios in the world. No more than 80 families ruled the economy and politics of the country, including the hacendero clan of BS Aquino.

By the end of this year, BS Aquino would have been in power for three and half years. In the pre-martial law presidency of four years plus one reelection, he would have been seeking reelection. And he would have been a doubtful starter at the gate.

For two reasons. One, little has been achieved on three fronts—poverty reduction (the ratio has remained stagnant at about 30 percent of total families though in number, the poor actually increased by at least one million during BS Aquino’s presidency; employment generation (not only is a supposedly robust economy not producing jobs, it is even destroying jobs so that people who are already employed are losing their jobs); and unemployment reduction (unemployment hit a high of 7.5 percent in 2012 after hitting a low of 6.3 percent in 2008). Aquino’s men think poverty can still be halved to 15 percent by the end of his term in 2016. The world halved poverty last year. The Philippines did not. I would like to give BS Aquino the benefit of doubt but the odds are against him.

The other reason for the people’s distaste with the President is that BS Aquino’s matuwid na daan program has been an utter failure. He has been found to have bribed the senators who voted to impeach and remove Chief Justice Renato Corona in December 2011, using money commandeered from the savings of Cabinet departments and various government agencies. A man accused of corruption and betrayal of public trust was convicted by people who were even more corrupt and had no reason to be trusted by the public simply because they have been corrupted by the president of the republic.

BS Aquino’s Bureau of Customs is the worst BOC in Philippine history according to senior government officials. His Department of Transportation and Communications is one of the most incompetent and slow-moving Cabinet ministries.

BS Aquino has lost a great deal of public approval and popularity. Pulse Asia insists he remains hugely popular. But the social media and the Internet think otherwise.

My hope is that BS Aquino would still succeed as president. If he fails, with all his popularity and good intentions, no future president will succeed.


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  1. it’s very depressing to hear the above comments, who then among our current presidentiables have the capacity to move the Philippines forward in the best way possible – economic modernization and poverty alleviation in a lawful manner???? Any name suggestions, so we can scrutinize them now as soon as possible.

  2. romeo polistico on

    The people are already tired of looking for a better President. During the campaign period, all these candidates had promised even high heavens, but right after the election, what is the outcome? Daang matuwid na patuloy na binabaluktot.

  3. There is no hope for the Filipinos under his regime. His popularity has nothing to do with the improvements. He totally no good intentions for the country but only for their family sake.

  4. PNOY destroy the legacy of AQUINO CLAN because of DAP, NINOY AND CORY are famous in fighting corruption but PNOY was eaten by bad politics system vows to stop and reform instead bad eggs like ABAD, DRILON, OCHOA and BELMONTE teach him how to become a patron satanic politicking.

    • Ingkay Garutay on

      I beg to disagree. BS “PeNoy” Aquino is living up to the corrupt legacy for his bloodline:

      a. Ysidra Cojuangco appropriated for herself and her family the revolutionary funds of the Katipunan
      b. Ninoy used his personal closeness to Pres. Magsaysay to lend the Cojuangco’s funds coming from GSIS so that they can purchase Hacienda Luisita from Tabacalera
      c. Remember the infamous Garchitorena landscam under Aling Coring? She knew about the scandal but she asked her people to be silent about it.
      d. PeNoy’s grandfather, Benigno Aquino Sr. was a Japanese collaborator who brought many Filipino freedom fighters to their death.
      e. PeNoy’s great grandfather, Gen. Servillano Aquino is a staunch anti-American who’s pleased to see American soldiers suffer and die.
      f. During Aling Coring’s rule, there’s Kamag-anak, Inc. Now under PeNoy, there’s KKK
      g. Of course Ballsy still has to explain herself regarding the Inekon bribery scandal
      h. IN 1987, there’s Mendiola and Lupao Massacres. Hacienda Luisita massacre and the succeeding assassinations happened while PeNoy is the estate’s Security Officer.

  5. to HOPE is really the right thing to do at this time as we do have a president who we can “at least” trust than anybody else in the government, however, TO BE ONE in support to his good intentions (as you have mentioned in your article) is needed for him to attain his goal for his bosses…

  6. I strongly disagree with your last statement that “f he fails, with all his popularity and good intentions, no future president will succeed.: First of all, I don’t think there is the good intention on his part. Second, less popular president can do more that those who are popular. Looking at the records, GMA accomplished a lot even if she was not popular.

    • Correct. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is not popular. But she did her job and she has more accomplishments than the presidency of BS Aquino and her mother combined. Because of the efforts of Gloria Arroyo that the Philippines did not even felt the effect of recession as compared to other countries.

      What GMA’s administration was able to save, BS Aquino and his favorite turncoat Butch Abad used as DAP to bribe unprincipled Senators to oust CJ Corona, just so he could have complete control of the three branches of the government.

  7. It would be a bleak future for the Philippines if Pnoy fails, then. However, future presidents not coming from the politicians we have at present may be the answer. They would not have been tainted by corruption, yet.

  8. the president to succeed in his last three years is to remove his incompetent advisers who only protect their vested interest.problem number one Frank Drilon, then Abad.

  9. Noynoying, Boy Sisi, King of Pork and now, Prince of Philippine politics among many other names. Wow, PNoy must love all the titles he was able to acquire in just 3 years. Amazing man-child.

  10. majority of filipinos were fooled into believing that honesty (so they say of noynoy – though i’m not convinced that he is honest in the truest sense) is enough to make a credible and effective government. it needs a combination of intellect, experience, in-depth knowledge of governance and/or management, leadership quality, firmness but being fair, etc. to run the government that is above board and benefits all the people.