The way our political landscape was reshaped, following the passing of former president Cory C. Aquino, is no phenomenon to a consistent reader of history. It is a rare occurrence — usually produced by extreme social conditions – but it is something that can always be expected to happen time and again.
Normal political processes take a back seat when a nation hits rock bottom and enters a deep crisis where people lose all hope of ever producing a good leader and seeing better times again. It is then that the big national crisis produces a leader, usually one who is radically different from the present mold.
From the disgrace that overcame the Joseph Estrada regime to the past nine years under Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA), our country simply went deeper into cynicism and a feeling of hopelessness. Until the passing of Cory, the prospects of the 2010 presidential elections were largely seen by a cynical nation as another choice between greater and lesser evils. That is why, until August 2009, the early presidential polls saw presidential contenders go up and down in ratings.
The public mind was so unpredictable that then early frontrunner, Vice President Noli de Castro, is now nowhere in the presidential race. Another highly touted presidential contender, Senator Chiz Escudero, has also wisely backed out – wisely because he managed to preserve himself for another presidential race.
Once aspiring presidents Loren Legarda, Jojo Binay, Bayani Fernando and Mar Roxas have all slid down and are now engaged in the Vice Presidential race. Convicted former president Joseph Estrada simply refused to see the light and insists on running for president despite all the signs that he no longer commands the blind obedience of the masses who pinned their hopes of economic emancipation on him in 1998.
Until August 2009, Senator Manny Villar looked like he was poised to consolidate his top ratings in the SWS and Pulse Asia surveys. But ever since Senator Benigno Simeon (Noynoy) Aquino III was driven by the confluence of historical events into the 2010 presidential race and has since been dominating the SWS and Pulse Asia surveys — Villar has been stuck as a poor second placer, reminiscent of Joe de Venecia’s second place finish to Estrada in 1998.
So totally revamped was the 2010 presidential landscape that the administration party, the once vaunted ‘best and unbeatable’ Lakas Kampi CMD Party political machinery, cannot even produce a complete 12-man Senate slate. Their incumbent public officials were scampering to join either the Liberal Party of Noynoy Aquino or the Nacionalista Party of Manny Villar.
Even if the so-called “skilled and talented” administration presidential candidate, Gilbert Teodoro, did not make the monumental blunder of stating that he will continue the policies of the Arroyo regime and that he will also call for Charter change — it is doubted if his ratings would have been any better.
Unfortunately for Teodoro, the voters are junking him not because of who he is but because he is GMA’s anointed. The Pulse Asia December 3, 2009 media release showed that 79% of Filipinos will junk any candidate endorsed by GMA. That would tend to say that Teodoro has only two chances — none and nil.
From the hopelessness of the last 11 years, Noynoy Aquino emerged. In him, a nation remembered a Camelot era, from 1986 to 1992, when we had a woman president who had not lied to us, stole from us, cheated us when we voted and willingly relinquished power to her successor even if she was not banned from seeking re-election in 1992.
From the previous choices between greater and lesser evils most Filipinos felt they were stuck with, they now realized that there is a good, competent person of heroic parentage they could have as their 2010 president. Those who insisted that Noynoy Aquino was only an emotional preference that would soon give way to reason simply deluded themselves and were wishful thinking.
Filipinos had good reasons to prefer Noynoy. In his platform (visit www.noynoy.ph and click on the PDF of the Noynoy Aquino Platform), it is vowed that:
1. From a President who tolerates corruption, under Noynoy, the nation gets a President who is the first and most determined fighter of corruption.
2. From a government that merely conjures economic growth statistics that our people know to be unreal, Noynoy will give us a government that prioritizes jobs that empower the people and provide them with opportunities to rise above poverty.
3. From relegating education to just one of many concerns, Noynoy is making education the central strategy for investing in our people, reducing poverty and building national competitiveness.
4. From treating health as just another area for political patronage, Noynoy is recognizing the advancement and protection of public health, which includes responsible parenthood, as key measures of good governance.
5. From justice that money and connections can buy, Noynoy vows to reestablish a truly impartial system of institutions that deliver equal justice to rich or poor.
Any rational Filipino who longs to save his country from the depths of desperation and deprivation that traditional and corrupt politicians have brought us — will logically opt to have those five hallmarks of Noynoy’s platform. Those are logical deductions arising from a desperate national situation.
The emotional feature of the Noynoy ascendancy is the passion with which most Filipinos now feel for their new champion. They see him as the Moses they can trust to free them from their generational cycle of poverty and bring them into their Promised Land.
For them, the 2010 presidential election equates to it is NOY or never. For them, it is Noynoy or no political and economic emancipation.