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Stop being Noynoy, be the President


They just don’t get it, these new tenants of Malacanang, particularly President Noynoy Aquino. His spokespersons insist there was nothing wrong with Aquino buying a P4.5-million Porsche because he used his own money after all. If Aquino were just the plain Noynoy, an heir of hacenderos, we will defend his right even if he buys a Ferrari or a Lamborghini and slams it against the wall. It’s his life and money after all.

But Aquino tends to forget that he is no longer Noynoy, the bachelor, or Noynoy, the gun enthusiast. Since he took his oath as the President of the Republic of the Philippines, he should have ceased to be Noynoy and become His Excellency, Benigno S. Aquino III, the President of the Republic of the Philippines. If he had said from the start that he could not separate himself from Noynoy, the bachelor, then maybe we shouldn’t have supported him at all.

Aquino and his barkadas still think stopping by a hotdog stand on a New York street for a bite of that famous hotdog sandwich was cute, explaining that it showed that Aquino remains the same simple Noynoy, but ignoring the fact that it exposed him to security risks. He used to do that when he lived in Boston with his exiled father as a teenager, why couldn’t he do it now?

Just recently, he was photographed in a pizza parlor in Baguio City with some of his buddies in the Cabinet and an unidentified lady. Until now, he would divert his convoy to a favorite restaurant to grab a bite to eat. Whether these are being done as a publicity stunt to show Aquino has remained the simple Noynoy is beyond the point. What we are worried about is the security risk he is exposed to every time he does that.

Reports say Noynoy drove all the way to the speedway at SLEX to test his new toy and his barkadas were proud to say that he was a good speed driver. Obviously, the speed trainer that went with the Porsche was a good mentor.

Okay, so we get it. Noynoy remains unaffected by the trappings of power and remains the same Noynoy who loved target shooting, eating at his favorite joints in the middle of the night, eating hot dogs from food carts, and now driving fast cars. Hallelujah!

But we don’t need Noynoy, the man on the fast lane. We want Aquino, the leader.

If he wasn’t ready to transcend Noynoy, the bachelor, he shouldn’t have strived to be the leader of a nation beset with gigantic problems. He should have stayed on as Sen. Noynoy Aquino, where he could stay up all night, date disinterested women, and sleep off Senate sessions, and perhaps nobody would even notice.

But he run to become the President of the impoverished people of the problem-plagued Philippines who expected so much of him, who continue to hope that he would deliver them from poverty and political abyss. As the leader of a hopeful nation, he should not just be simple and honest, but decisive and sensitive to the people’s needs and feelings.

He cannot go around driving a P4.5-million Porsche while almost half of the population cannot even find enough money to pay for transportation fares and toll fees that he had allowed to be raised just a few days earlier.

He cannot go around driving a Porsche while 30 percent of the people cannot even find a decent meal for days on end, according to a survey by the Social Weather Station released just a few days earlier.

He cannot go around driving a flashy Porsche while the judiciary is making a mockery of his anti-corruption drive, and while the allies of his predecessor are obviously pushing aggressively to make him a lame duck president by trying to amend the Constitution and sending his Liberal Party in disarray.

He cannot go around driving an expensive Porsche and think his poor people would continue believing that he is the God-sent savior to liberate them from hunger and injustice.

He cannot go around driving a Porsche and think that nobody would question who was the generous seller who would sell a low-mileage, nearly brand-new luxury sports car for almost half the price it should have pegged in the open market? Or think people would not wonder why a known luxury sports car dealer, as reported by former Sen. Ernie Maceda in his column, had been appointed vice president for marketing of cash-rich Pagcor?
If Aquino can make a decision to buy a Porsche and not worry about or not know its consequences to his image, leadership and to the people’s feelings, can you imagine what kind of decisions he is liable to make in matters that would affect the country and the people? He cannot even decide on matters of the heart, how can he make firm decisions on matters of the state?

These actions of the unaffected Noynoy may not matter much to his buddies in the Cabinet, but knowing his nonchalance and his obvious lack of sensitivity, how can we not worry that Aquino, the President, is not leading us to the “tuwid na daan” but to the scary lanes of race tracks?

By Val G. Abelgas

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