Misreading the Cory phenomenon
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2009-08-16

What compounds the Information Gap in our country, other than the programmed misinformation and disinformation of vested interests, is the narrow mindedness of people who pass themselves off as political analysts.

This narrow mindedness has the bad habit of persisting to evaluate new major developments based on old givens despite a dramatic change of the situation.

A good example is how these so-called political analysts continue to overlook that the sudden change in our political landscape (the lack of enthusiasm in pushing Charter change (Cha cha) via Constituent Assembly (Con Ass), the end of the Mindanao bombings, the assurances by Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) that the 2010 elections shall be conducted sans any hitch) are results of pressures from powerful external forces and not the outcome of purely domestic political dynamics.

They missed the big picture. The US actions pertaining to American energy and geopolitical interests in Mindanao have compelled GMA to comply with the newly evolved situation. Anyone who followed the statements (and body language) of the US Defense Secretary, State Secretary, Ambassador to the Philippines and the CIA Chief can easily spot where the stimulus came from.

Now, the so-called political analysts and some politicians with vested interests are offering their take on the revival of the Cory phenomenon and the sudden spotlight on Cory son, Senator Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III, as the dark horse of the 2010 presidential elections. They are saying that Noynoy cannot inherit the Cory mantle of leadership the way Cory took over from her murdered husband Ninoy.
So far, these are the fractured reasons that they have been peddling:

1. Noynoy lacks the experience to be a good president and pales in comparison with the leading presidential candidates.

2. Noynoy is too late to join the 2010 elections. He lacks the time to be able to muster the resources to win.

3. Noynoy does not have the charisma of Cory and cannot inspire People Power.

4. The revival of the Cory phenomenon is just an emotional outburst, an act of sympathy for the dearly beloved president and her family, but will be spent come election time.

5. Noynoy becoming 2010 president promotes political dynasties.

Now, let’s dissect these points.
On the lack of experience and failing to compare with the top 2010 contenders, the fact is Noynoy had better preparation than Cory ever had. Noynoy has been a legislator for over ten years now. Cory had zero government experience when she became president. Also, the Cory phenomenon had nothing to do with personal comparisons but all about clashing symbols of political ideologies.

If the 1986 Snap Presidential Election was a personality game, then few would have voted for Cory. The truth is the 1986 Snap Presidential Election was all about a clash of ideologies — the fight between democracy and dictatorship. And yes, the fight between good and evil.

Therefore to liken Noynoy with the same parameters of traditional political patronage (resources) and personality (experience, magnetism, etc) politics is to lose sight of the real values of the Cory phenomenon. The very attraction of Noynoy Aquino is that his entry elevates the 2010 presidential elections to an ideological clash which all the other contenders cannot accomplish. The Noynoy presidential candidacy is all about the Cory type of governance (democracy) versus the GMA type of governance (oligarchy).

To say that Noynoy lacks the time and the wherewithal to mount a winning presidential campaign is to be ignorant of the history of the Cory phenomenon. From the time the 1986 Snap Presidential Election was called by Ferdinand Marcos, there were only four months to prepare and campaign. There are still over nine months before the 2010 elections.

Also, the political terrain today is much more favorable compared to that of 1986. There are free media and fast, interactive means of personal communication. In 1986, the media were controlled and muzzled by the dictatorship and there were no cellular phones and the internet.

Donations — not from oligarchs but from ordinary folks — can be easily coordinated today via electronic banking. If 10 million OFWs will donate US$5 each, that is around P2.4 billion.

Having the bare minimum wherewithal is never the problem of the clearly perceived winner. When Joseph “Erap” Estrada ran in 1998, his campaign was reported to be teeming with donations, more than he ever needed. Also, when the minds and hearts of the electorate are Noynoy’s then he does not need so much money.

On Noynoy not having the charisma of Cory, listen to this — neither did Cory have that imagined charisma. Cory, from the day she took political center stage when she spoke during the Requiem Mass for Ninoy all the way to her last days, was one and the same simple Cory.

The imagined charisma was the effect of the People Power Revolution and the aura of good and sincerity that she exuded. The accomplishment and not the central political player was the larger than life element, the one misconstrued as charisma.

If you saw and met Cory without knowing anything about the People Power phenomenon, you would not consider her charismatic at all. This does not lessen the Cory greatness. On the contrary, this adds to her greatness as it underscores that the phenomenon was not the result of a personal quality but the result of a trustworthy leadership that inspired millions to be heroes.

To say that the recent resurgence of the Cory phenomenon is a mere emotional outburst that won’t be around come Election Day in 2010 (and will not get Noynoy elected) is inconsistent with the historical track record. If that was the case in 1983 when Ninoy Aquino was assassinated — then there would have been no People Power phenomenon which took place three years after the assassination.

The truth is the Cory phenomenon may have started in 1983 as a sympathy backlash for the widow of Ninoy Aquino but it grew from that seed to become the fruit of People Power.
To say that Noynoy will further promote political dynasties is the most idiotic remark we can hear from these charlatans. A political dynasty is a family’s continued monopoly of political power, a series of succession to power by members of one family.

Cory was our president from 1986 to 1992. Three other presidents followed Cory to the presidency; one was passable while the last two were dismal failures. If ever Noynoy is fated to become our 2010 president, only an idiot — one who does not know the truth — will call that a case of political dynasty.

It is easy to see why Noynoy Aquino brings a game changing element to the 2010 political terrain and why vested political interests that will be badly affected are now attempting to scuttle it. Noynoy is the only presidential candidate (if ever he sees the mandate of history to run in 2010) that changes the equation from a clash of personalities to a clash of ideologies.

From choices of Brands A, B, C, D, E and so forth in the same product category — Noynoy can elevate the 2010 fight to one of democracy versus the long entrenched oligarchy which is the root cause of Filipino misery and exploitation.

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A great disservice to P-Noy

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