After Cory, why not Noynoy?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2009-08-09

After the assassination of Ninoy Aquino on August 21, 1983 and days before he was to be buried, I received a visit from Napoleon “Nap” Rama in the ad agency where I was then CEO.

Nap Rama was one of top political writers who wrote for the Free Press and he was one of the staunchest critics of then President (later dictator) Ferdinand E. Marcos. When Marcos imposed martial law on September 21, 1972, Nap was one of those arrested and he gained the distinction of being one of the cellmates of Ninoy Aquino.

Nap sought my advice on what the options of the then Opposition are after they lost their single biggest political asset to the assassin’s bullet. Only Ninoy could have united the fractured Opposition and only Ninoy had the charisma and political savvy that could have outsmarted the wily Marcos.

With Ninoy dead, the Opposition felt orphaned and leaderless.

Marcos was in poor health and could go anytime. And without a strong Opposition, the dictatorship will simply continue under another strongman or woman — Imelda Marcos.

Nap tried bouncing off some names to me but none of these really measured up to the level of Ninoy. However, ever the student of history, I recalled that crises tended to produce heroes. That is precisely what I told Nap — wait for the hero or leader that this leadership crisis of the Opposition will produce.

With the massive outpouring of sympathy for Ninoy’s family, anticipation was at its height on the day when Ninoy was to be buried. It was during the Requiem Mass at Santo Domingo Church when Cory C. Aquino spoke and took national center stage. That was the event that launched the phenomenal Cory political saga. The rest is history.

This past week, our nation experienced the rekindling of the Spirit of EDSA. Many friends contacted me and asked if there is someone who can rise from this revival of the Spirit of EDSA and fill the shoes of Cory. My quick answer was YES.

During the Tuesday eulogies for Cory, when son Noynoy spoke on behalf of the family, what immediately flashed across my mind was déjà vu. Like her mother during the Requiem Mass for Ninoy 26 years ago, Noynoy appeared like the mere mortal who suddenly took the form of a god of Olympus.

I could not help sending Noynoy a text message that read: “Noynoy, you were a revelation! You, not Mar (Roxas), should be the Liberal Party presidential candidate and I am serious. This is exactly the gut feel I had when I heard Cory speak before your Dad’s funeral.”

Sometime after he read my text message, Noynoy replied: “Now, if we only have 39 million like minded people.” I was glad that he reacted in that fashion — he did not kill the idea.

I am sure, like those Cory cynics who regarded her taking over the mantle of Ninoy a “pipe dream” when I broached it, that you are wondering if Noynoy is up to the task of taking over the Ninoy and Cory legacy. I would then ask that you think about the following:

1. Noynoy has much better preparation for leadership than Cory when she took over the mantle of leadership from Ninoy. Noynoy has been a three-term Congressman and now a Senator. Cory, as we all know, was a housewife without any previous experience in government or in politics.

2. Noynoy, like Cory, does not have a single scandal hounding him. Like Cory, he will not bring a spouse to Malacañang who might start yelling at people to “back off!”

3. Who better to inherit the Ninoy and Cory mantle of leadership than one with the genes of Ninoy and Cory?

4. If money and political machinery are your concerns, know that you need the money and machinery IF you do not yet have the numbers that showed up and registered their sentiments that they want another leader like Cory. With those numbers that showed up for the wake and funeral of Cory, despite the bad weather and the availability of live TV coverage — Noynoy will not be wanting for the wherewithal to win.

5. All the present presidential candidates can only offer how much better they can govern over their rivals. Noynoy brings an ideological factor into the equation — the same ideological factor that enabled a housewife to beat the dictator in 1986.

6. Noynoy has so much more going for him if he enters the 2010 presidential race than Cory ever had going for her when she entered the 1986 Snap Elections. Cory was known only to 22% in October 1985 but enjoyed a high conversion ratio. Noynoy has already been elected to a national public office and is easily known to over 80% of voters.

7. If the forces of evil try to pull another dirty trick to prevent a turnover of power, only the rightful inheritor of the mantle of leadership of Cory like Noynoy can summon the ‘Yellow Army’ to apply the usual remedy of People Power.

If Noynoy is to take over the mantle of leadership of Ninoy and Cory, it has to be the presidency, nothing less. Noynoy can only fulfill the mission of Cory if he is the president.

And it does not require too much brains really if you were a leader of the Liberal Party (where Noynoy belongs) to figure out who can bring you to victory. With all those TV commercials that Mar has been running, he could not even top leaders Manny Villar and Chiz Escudero. Erap has overtaken Mar in the June SWS survey. Noli, except for the June SWS survey, has always been ahead of Mar.

Mar displays the signs of a weak brand, the brand that will not make number one in its product category. If after all this time and Mar has not yet topped a single SWS and Pulse Asia survey, chances are he won’t be rising better than where he is between now and Election Day.

Putting Noynoy as the Vice Presidential running mate of Mar will not deliver a president to the Liberal Party. Joseph Estrada won as Vice President in 1992 but Danding Cojuangco lost as President. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo won as Vice President in 1998 but Joe de Venecia lost as President. Noynoy as Vice President is a wasted opportunity to win the 2010 Presidency.

The Cory phenomenon is every politician’s wish to experience. Not all the money or party machinery in the world can duplicate something that has all the appearances of having been made in Heaven.

The Cory phenomenon is back. If the Liberal Party lacks the good sense and will not avail of it through its most qualified inheritor - Noynoy Aquino - there will be others out there who will gladly fill the breach.

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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