• The Noynoy Aquino I knew

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    IN a few days we will have a new President … someone who looks like an opposite in many ways of the outgoing leader we have had in the last six years.

    I am writing this piece to share with you the little I know of the man who took up the challenge of seeking the presidency in 2009 by public clamor but was much pilloried and called so many obnoxious names after he was voted into office, winning the May 10, 2010 elections with a little over 15 million votes and defeating former President Joseph Estrada and seven other candidates.

    I happen to know Noynoy Aquino before he became President. What he has become after winning the presidency is something I cannot pretend to know more than what I read in the news and from the accounts of people who have stayed close to him.

    I covered the presidency of his mother, Cory Aquino, for five years. I was barely starting out a career in journalism at that time as a junior reporter of a government-controlled newspaper publication company. But I could remember only once being face to face with Noynoy, a private citizen and presidential son, in those five tumultuous years marked by seven unsuccessful power grab by rightwing soldiers. Two of those coup attempts—Aug. 28, 1987 and Dec. 1, 1989—were bloody.

    I knew very little about the son that Cory Aquino loved to describe as her favorite. He is the only one, that’s why there could be no other who could be jealous. I didn’t know him even after writing about his near-death experience when rebellious soldiers ambushed his convoy on J.P. Laurel Street on his way home to nearby Arlegui Street, where the presidential family stayed.

    It was long after his mother left Malacañang when I came to know Noynoy Aquino. That was several months after he was elected congressman of Tarlac in 1998. I was then assigned to cover the House of Representatives. When he learned that I covered his mother’s presidency, we had more things to talk about than the stories and events happening at the House.

    He became friends with other reporters covering the House but was closer to my group, some members of which also covered the Cory Aquino presidency at one time or another.

    He was friendly but some other reporters considered him selective. He was not one who would greet or banter with just anybody he did not know. But there were instances when he had become at ease with familiar faces, whose names he did not know or could not remember.

    Noynoy Aquino loved to tell stories, engage in banter, and tease other people. But he is sometimes supersensitive (pikon) at jokes, and quick-tempered at criticisms, particularly when the criticisms have little or no basis at all.

    I also considered him a farmer because he holds a grudge against friends who he thinks have betrayed him or spoke behind his back. I remember him avoiding someone who once described him as self-centered, something he took too personal. On rare times, when he would join us at lunch or coffee tete-a-tetes, he would check first that this person was not around before he would show up, or he would come late when the person had left, or would make sure there were enough people to talk with to avoid direct conversation with the person he wanted to avoid.

    As a friend, I could say that he would go the extra mile to be there to help. When I fell victim to a robbery known as “ipit-taxi” in 2003, he was one of those that my best friend Weng Orejana texted to warn against texts or calls from the robbers who took away my mobile phones and other personal belongings for other crimes like extortion.

    Once Noynoy received the text, he called me at home and suggested that I report to the nearest police precinct. I said I was too scared to get out of the house because the robbers could still be around to do more harm.

    In less than an hour, two police cars were outside our gate and an officer was knocking at our door. A police major said the chief of the Quezon City police district sent them to check on a robbery case. I was hesitant to let the police officers in until Noynoy Aquino came with his two escorts.

    As soon as they got in, he handed me one of his mobile phones that I could use. He convinced me to report the crime to the police officers.

    He was like a “kuya” (elder brother) who somehow calmed me. I would not forget that because he was in Pampanga that time when he received the text from Weng, and he must be too tired after a daylong practice and competition in target-shooting. I think he topped the competition that was why he was in good spirits when he came.

    When he was a senator, he took time and traveled far to our humble home in Bulacan just to attend the wake for my mother in 2008 and condoled with the family.

    His presence there, however, became a problem after he was elected President because relatives and neighbors thought they could get access to jobs and financial assistance from government through our friendship. I had to explain that opportunism is never part of the friendship that I keep with anyone else. I know I have disappointed some, but many understood me on this principle that I value.

    While a distance in our friendship has obviously grown over the last six years, I believe that he is still the same Noynoy Aquino that I knew before 2010: simple, compassionate, dedicated to his job, and committed to help others. But then, he is still “pikon” but never a retard or “abnoy” that those who only know him from the criticisms in media call him.

    How can someone who has been hailed by the international community, praised by global news media organizations, and respected by foreign leaders and diplomats be a “retard” or “abnoy,” as those who had lost the perks and privileges they used to enjoy before he came, called him?

    With two of every three adult Filipinos (66 percent) satisfied with the performance of Noynoy Aquino as President of the Philippines, and only one of five were dissatisfied, based on surveys conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS), I guess he did well, contrary to what his critics say.

    According to SWS head Mahar Mangahas, Aquino’s 66 average gross satisfaction rating over his six-year presidency had surpassed those who led before him: Cory Aquino, 56 percent; Fidel Ramos, 59 percent; Joseph Estrada, 58 percent; and Gloria Arroyo, 37 percent.

    With such a feat, I could only kneel in prayer that those who would lead the country after Noynoy Aquino would be a “retard” or “abnoy” of his kind.

    The Noynoy Aquino I knew was far from the person portrayed in media, particularly by those who were identified with Presidents before him. He is far from perfect as a person and as a President, and I don’t agree with many of his policies and actions as President, but what the heck, he did wonders to the economy and the country before the international community.

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    22 Comments

    1. Puro bashers pa rin. Tapos na halalan. Mahirap lang siguro tanggapin. Ang pinakamagandang performance in term of the growth of the Philippine economy is during Noynoy Aquino’s presidency. Kayang-kaya namang lampasan yan ng susunod na Presidente. Kaya tigil na pangba-bash. Naniniguro lang ba dapat siraan para kayang-kayang mahigitan?

    2. Ang totoo lang dito sa sinasabi dito sa article na ito ay yung “pikon”at “self-centered”.
      Katulad din nang isang article na isinulat nang isang Paulynn Sicam sa Phil Star ilang araw na nakakalipas, at walang patid na propampaganda na artikulos nang Elfren Cruz sa mga Aquinos at Dilaw na diwa mula 1986 and so on, and on, sa Phil Star uli…
      Ang Noynoy mahirap sa kalooban niya na tumanggap nang kritik at ang paggiging self -centered slash self-righteous kung bakit kung bakit ganyan ang asal ugali slash contempt- nang tao na iyan sa tao, publico at masa… ang nanay na niya mismo ang nagsabi na hindi siya fit for politics and government service because of his, well, reputation and personal character and demeanor…

    3. First, for transparency sake, please disclose and reveal the entity behind the SWS Survey leading to that 66% pro Simeon 3rd.
      Otherwise, YOU ARE TAKING ME FOR A BIG FERRIS WHEEL RIDE, and will ram all this info through my throat, as is….

    4. Leodegardo Pruna on

      Why then the name calling and the adjectives attached to P-Noy? God bless the Philipines.

    5. Juan de Paul on

      Wonderful!

      “He is far from perfect as a person and as a President, and I don’t agree with many of his policies and actions as President, but what the heck, he did wonders to the economy and the country before the international community.”

      You categorized it well: “before the international community”.

      It is the news that reach the international community, not the micro-economic effect to the BCD classes.

      The day-to-day MRT woes for years, the 24/7 traffic, and the mushrooming shabu communities are not wonders but “I wonder why?”.

      I respect your opinion. Just as I respect the reactions of others.

    6. Eugenio Salazar on

      You can add: Ripping up perfectly good good road for “repair” and thereby causing monstrous traffic jams, all done in the name of “Projects” in order to increase nominally the GDP.

    7. Amnata Pundit on

      Yes he has his human side, but as president Boy Sayad definitely sucks., just like the fake pollster Mahar Mangahas.

    8. Most people here are lion in character and behave like a tiger but show themselves like a turtle. It’s obvious that you are a loyalist of the other party. What could we expect from you anyway? You are behaving like you are not belong to the country where you were born. You keep in spreading venom of hatred and lies. You are keeping yourself blinded of truth and forever you will be blind. We’re Millions anyway who appreciates the effort of President Aquino.

    9. He is a fool when it comes to friendship. These are the people that destroyed him like Abaya, Abad , Purisima Alcala . He just cannot discipline them because as you said , he is very emotional. He has a few selected friends that did okay. He failed to help the poor families. Even the conditional cash transfer was very small to help. He is okay with the Macro economics but but on the Micro economics which is very important . I did not feel any compassion with Pnoy that is why most Pilipinos thinks that he is Manhid.

      • YOU think he is manhid but not me nor 2 of 3 Filipinos. You are just 1 of the 5 that were dissatisfied and that does not equate to MOST.

    10. Juan T. Delacruz on

      The Noynoy Aquino you knew, is he a GAY? If he is, tell him to come out and celebrate with the LGBT community. He may hang out with this group to advance their cause, when he steps down as President.

    11. How about the case of Justice Corona? Can you comment on that? 66%? Are you sure he did not cheat in the 2010 election vs. Estrada?

    12. So you think your personal friendship with the guy is never clouding your better judgement or is your definition of “friendship” the social type of acquaintance where you can discuss about politics and the weather but with whom you can not even borrow P1,000.00 to pay your electricity bill? One test of so-called “friendship” is when you call the “friend” in the wee hours of the morning telling the person to come because you have not enough money to pay for your drinking spee and the person would come to help pay the bills and bring you home. Times change and people change and our earlier impression of a person could be entirely different from what the person can be over time. What kind of a person would spend so much money just to impeach someone or one who has no qualm on the value of life that he would let 45 people killed just to push a political agenda and achieve a Nobel?

    13. Your comments about Pnoy is more of a personal emotional appreciation of his lackluster achievements especially on behalf of the poor population who just remain poorer in his watch for lack of care ans sensitivity, since Pnoy is pro-elite and oligarchs, like Roxas who was not supported by the masses.
      Pnoy received accolades from business people and ratings firm for selective Ebonics growth which did not trickle down to the poor populace of society. Pnoy ioneered selective justice as well as he persecuted only his political opponents but not his allis who were equally indictable, including him, Abad, ALCALA, Soliman, and other LP involved in PDAP and DAP. Pnoy governance for six years were disastrous and ruined the country, becoming a narco state and crime-saturated nation, to,say the least.

      On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst, Pnoy administration rating is a 10!

      • I’d rather go with the opinion of someone who knows him than someone who pretends to know him.

    14. Ms. Valderama you are PNoy’s partisan because you are his personal friend and supposed to be biased. Of course you are biased because he went out of his way to help you in time of distress. Unfortunately you are one of the few. Now let us not talk so well of what SWS and Pulse Asia saying that PNoy is the best President in the Philippines and the people love him so much. If it were true, he could have made Mar Roxas the President hands down, Let us face it, the Filipino people showed how angry they are at the PNoy administration. In fact, the reason why Mr. Rody Duterte had a bigger preference (never mind that Mr. Duterte was even denied much bigger voting figures because of the attempt of dagdag-bawas so Robredo will win). Mr Mangahas is a certified yellow and the owner of Pulse-Asia is a yellow, so what do we expect. If you believe that your man PNoy is really good and did so much, tell the people thru your column what policies he applied is working but do not include the accomplishment of the past administrations like what the World Bank, IMF and Banko Sentral of the economic success because of the policies of the Arroyo Administration. If you read this challenge, the readers will be very happy if you can make another article to reply to this challenge.

    15. Really did wonder to the economy di ba sa teacher niyang GMA iyon namana lang niya pero ok lang opinion mo friend mo kasi

    16. SAF 44 massacre

      Yolanda

      Impeachment of Chief Justice Corona

      Pork barrel abuse and bribes

      DAP fund abuse

      Selective Justice

      Subverting government agencies

      Rigged Elections

      Rampant Crime and Smuggling

      Most corrupt government in history

      That’s what your friend NoyNoy will be remembered for.

      • With all the negative criticism you have horded against him, aside from Pnoy’s mother, from Ramos to GMA who do you think can match his record of accomplishments in the last six years. Did any of your favorite President ever send to jail any member of congress? Sorry, its GMA term that Erap was convicted of plunder but less than a month he was pardon by GMA for the sake of uniting the country but what did she achieved, further division among us. Corrupt individuals and politicians heated him because he is honest! History will judge him not individuals who are bias!