President Aquino’s body language


WHEN he was going from coffin to coffin at the necrological services on the Day of Mourning for our valiant 44 PNP-SAF Heroes last Friday, President BS Aquino made the Sign of the Cross improperly many– maybe 44–times.

The correct way is to touch one’s forehead, the breast and the left and right shoulders, to make the form a cross, while praying, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” Review the video and you will see him not touching his forehead, or his shoulders, or his left and right shoulders–therefore not forming the Sign of the Cross. He often crossed his stomach instead.

Making the Sign of the Cross is body language that a serious Christian who believes in the Trinity does with fervor because it is the most simple profession of faith. Not doing it properly–as naughty kids and people mocking this prayer do–is a clear sign language of disrespect for the Christian faith.

Communicating without speaking
What President Benigno Simeon Aquino 3rd will not express in words about his feelings or psychological state, he conveys to us through his body language.

Technically known as kinesics, body language is a significant aspect of human communications. We can communicate without speaking through the powerful messages behind our body gestures.

Experts say that body language represents a very significant proportion of meaning that is conveyed and interpreted between people. They generally agree that 50 to 80 percent of all human communications are non-verbal.

The dictionary defines body language as “bodily mannerisms, postures, and facial expressions that can be interpreted as unconsciously communicating somebody’s feelings or psychological state.” In other words, these unconscious postures communicate a person’s feelings and attitudes–even intent.

Among our non-verbal messages, facial expressions are quite reliable indicators of mood and feeling. There are six universal facial expressions recognized around the world. These are: Happiness, fear, disgust, surprise, anger, and sadness.

At the necrological services for the 44 PNP-SAF Heroes, the cruel medium of television magnified raw emotions from the body language of those in attendance. In the case of President Aquino, however, TV likewise magnified an opaque absence of emotion.

This was most evident when the collective cries of bereaved family members soared, melting the hearts of those who heard them. Even those watching the event on TV became teary-eyed. How sad to see that a pair of presidential eyes was arguably bereft of empathy when the battle-tested commandos and their officers had teary eyes.

Many body language signals indicate negative feelings such as boredom and disinterest (hands in pocket), tension or stress (biting lip), embarrassment or stopping speech for reasons of shock (hand clamped over mouth), defensiveness or reluctance (crossed arms), etc.

President Aquino, who could not make it on time to the fallen heroes’ necrological rites, showed his feelings through his body language captured by The Manila Times lens for posterity. His folded arms conveyed reluctance (he snubbed the arrival honors for the slain SAF commandos, remember?) if not defensiveness.

Maybe the commander-in-chief’s reluctance to be there stemmed from his knowledge that he could have prevented the untimely death of the brave SAF men. Maybe the defensiveness is rooted on the fact that deep inside he knew that he had prioritized his personal wish for glory from the PNP-SAF men’s success in killing the terrorist Marwan. Then with the MILF slaughter of the 44, he probably felt some discomfort that in his heart and mind he was more concerned about the bad effect of the debacle on the passage of his Bangsamoro Basic Law than on the deaths of the Fallen 44 and the pain and loss being suffered by their widows and orphans. He must also have been feeling defensive about his failure to do anything to save the lives of the 44 SAF heroes.

Experts say some people can artificially control their outward body language to give the impression they seek to create at a specific time. But their consensus is that nobody can control all of his body language all the time.

The sight of BS Aquino 3rd with folded arms in front of the coffins of our dead heroes speaks volumes. But then again, Aquino defenders may argue that the President might have crossed his arms to keep warm. This may well be true because he should feel the eerie coldness of the death he had a hand in leading the Valiant 44 to.


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  1. funny how a lot of people are good in calling the President names.. each word, every move he makes are being the target of all possible criticism against him..

    to those who sure say a lot, let me just ask you…

    What have you done to make this country a better place to live in?
    and How about you try to fix you life before trying to meddle with other peoples lives, not unless you have a “Perfect” life and living it the “Righteous” way.

    • delikado yan kung may papatay sa kanya, alam mo naman kung sino ang papalit sa kanya. Walang iba kungdi si Binay na may sabit rin siya sa korupsyon! Dapat i-kudeta na lang siya o kaya magpatawag siya ng snap election para hindi pa gugulo ang ating bansa, maslalo na kung itong si nognog eh umeepal na siya agad sa isyu ng Mamasapano clash.

  2. Jaime Hernandez on

    It’s a common gesture among Filipinos to do the sign of cross quickly. Even, when they pray. The president was no exception & it’s not impressive at all. Forgive me father for I have sinned, don’t give me a long penance, I want to go now. Taing tai na.

  3. Sabi ko nuon. Ayan ang mapapala natin kapag inelect natin ang isang torpe for president. Here we will go again in 2016. Same thing will happen. Mas gusto ko pang manalo si Erap kesa sa mga torpeng ito.
    Si Erap dapat ang nanalo nuong 2010 if the votes were really counted. Kaso pumasok ang CIA at na-isahan nanaman ang mga Pinoy. Na-install ang PCOS President.
    Kung tutu-usin dapat ang binoto ng tao ay si Gibo. Matalino at may empathy sa mga tao. may kakayahan at hindi mayabang.
    Kaso nga ang Pinoy madalaing madala ng emosyon. Kaso kesyo daw si Gibo ay maka-GMA. At least walang ka-torpehan ginwa si GMA. Kung merong man ano ba iyon kumpara sa DAP at PDAF na “in your face” na nakawan. Hanggang ngayon ang mga Pinoy ay sunod-sunuran lang. Ngingas cogon pa rin. Galit kay GMA dahilmahilig tayong sumipa sa isang taong walang kakayaahan. pero takot tayo sa mga bully na gaya ni BSA na alam nating magnanakaw.
    Ayan manigas ang buong bansa sa pinili ng mga torpeng Pinoy at CIA.

  4. Pnoy is very very far from what President Obama did when his commandos captured Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan where he personally directed the operations in a war room and controlled everything from expected light to worst scenarios until they captured their target. Trully he is blinded by the passage of the BBL and indeed he does not want to hurt the MILF by ordering the other SAF members and the Army units to stand down and let the arresting SAF group massacred. When he attended the 44 SAF necrological service, it’s just a pakitang tao jesture. Such a hypocrite and callous person and a President at that. He must resign now! Those Japanese, Koreans and Taiwanese cultures people are laughing and making jokes by now.

  5. Dominador D. Canastra on

    Yes! Yes. Yes. We should all be actively supporting the move to make this PCOS-made, liar President Aquino RESIGN!

    • Ahyamae Dumagat on

      Sir, I think you are doing an injustice to PNoy by expecting him to do an act that is just BEYOND his psychological capacity.

      My knowledge of Joshua being the son of Chris had enabled me to understand and to forgive Chris when she complained to Cory saying: “Mama nahawaan ako ng tulo ni Joey.” Despite the fact that Joey’s house-helper reported of her ordeal in driving Chris out from her boss’ home where she had stayed as a “partner’.

  6. Aquino is not battle-tested. He is the target-shooting partner of Kim Henares. Bullets kill. When they do hit people their precious lives are taken away. Their dependents’ lives are affected as well. May be Aquino is petrified at the sight of the SAFs felled by bullets, caused by his “mis-order” resulting in the now infamous “misencounter”. Hence his hands are folded trying to warm his cold body. When he is happy, he tucks his hands behind his butt.

  7. Here is my body language to our dear leader : my middle finger …I hope it’s loud enough for him

  8. The subject of this article is true. PNoy made a “nominal” sign of the cross which looked insincere. His sign of the cross looks more like he was himself suspecting if he should make the sign or he is simply in a hurry to get it over with. Well it only shows that PNoy is a “nominal” catholic, meaning catholic more in name only but not practice the faith in accordance to what our catechism teaches us. It was also being said that if and when PNoy goes to mass he usually get out of the church or chapel during the homely and smoke his favorite Marlboro. Of no wonder that PNoy does not look affected because of insincerity.

  9. A true and correct statement. All we can ask now is for Mr. BS Aquino 3rd who an expert in handling firearms and commander-in-chief to lead the remaining SAF group to Maguindanao demanding the individuals or group surrender with no stipulations for their fate. They must all answer and executed under the rules of war as war criminals. Again, no exception and if Mr. BS Aquino 3rd does that then he will definitely have my 100% vote.