An unexpected added impetus - the TIME Magazine cover
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-04-20
Your Chair Wrecker first met our late “Icon and Saint of Democracy” — as TIME Magazine had hailed Cory C. Aquino — in her Times Street residence, sometime in late 1983, when I accompanied our late STAR Chairman Emeritus, Betty G. Belmonte. Betty had sought to interview Cory about her thoughts on the approaching Christmas season which would be the first Christmas the Aquino family will have without husband and father Ninoy.

Among the many topics we talked about, Cory shared a discussion she once had with Ninoy, whose assassination led to the 1986 People Power Revolution. Per Cory, Ninoy intimated how he felt that a person can apply all human and worldly means to attain a high public office but when it came to the presidency — it is a public office that is made in Heaven.

Ninoy and Cory’s deep faith in God convinced them that all things happen as the will of God. George Bernard Shaw had a less optimistic view when he wrote in “St. Joan”: “God is no man’s daily drudge. If you are worthy of it, He will sometimes snatch you out of the jaws of death and set you on your feet again. But once on your feet, you must fight with all your might and all your craft for He has to be fair to your enemy too.”

In a way, Ninoy and Cory were the best proof of what they believed. Ninoy had once coveted the presidency but the Good Lord had a better place for him in history. Cory had never coveted public office but look at where the Good Lord placed her.

Indeed, it would seem that an Aquino presidency is made in Heaven. Ninoy died and Cory became president. Cory died and son Noynoy is now looking every bit as the new, 2010 president. It is as if the Good Lord taketh away and then the Good Lord giveth.

The comfortable lead that Noynoy Aquino has posted in the trusted presidential polls, the defections to Noynoy Aquino’s camp, the large and passionate crowds that welcome the Aquino sorties, the desperation now seen in the actions and statements of his closest rival — all these point to another Heaven-made Aquino presidency. An act of God — the passing of the “Icon and Saint of Democracy” — led Filipinos to consider Cory’s son as a president whom they could trust and believe like her.

As if the local developments were not more than enough affirmation of how Filipinos will vote come May 10, 2010 — TIME Magazine had featured Noynoy Aquino as its April 26, 2010 cover story. The Noynoy Aquino political saga has transcended from local to international — courtesy of the same publication that hailed his mother as the “Icon and Saint of Democracy.”

Penned by Ishaan Tharoor, the TIME interview was conducted right after a successful rally in Zamboanga City. Tharoor called Noynoy Aquino “an unlikely man of the moment” which was exactly how the country and the world saw his mother Cory in 1986. Unlikely persons of the moment do suggest the intervention by an out of this world force as political processes traditionally produce likely persons. In 2008, an unlikely person of the moment — Barack Obama — was elected president of the most powerful nation on earth.

Tharoor’s story captured the passion fueling the Noynoy Aquino saga. “Chris Tio, a Cebu businessman who has left his work and family behind to volunteer for the campaign, shakes with emotion when recounting the virtues of the Aquino cause. “The Senator is a humble man at an extraordinary moment,” he says. “We’re in a fight for the soul of this nation.” — Tharoor wrote.

“He talks with ease and intelligence about his plans to expand the country’s middle class with microcredit programs, to boost industry, universalize health care, fix education and shake up the judiciary.” Aquino was described by Tharoor. Tharoor added: “Aquino’s rise follows his mother’s retreat from the maelstrom and there’s a palpable steeliness beneath his unimposing demeanor. “I crossed my Rubicon in 1983,” says Aquino, referring to the year his father was assassinated. “I cannot accept that he would die for nothing.”

Tharoor described the energy level of the Zamboanga motorcade and rally: “The roads teem with Zamboangans of all walks of life, barefoot street kids and housewives holding parasols, all clad in their own makeshift yellow Aquino gear (the campaign didn’t at the time have a budget to mass-produce T-shirts). The procession teeters to a snail’s pace for over three hours, as thousands swarm around, their hands held up forming Cory’s famed L sign — meaning laban, or “fight.” So much confetti and shredded paper billows out of office buildings that, over the wail of sirens and the ceaseless chanting of “Noynoy!,” tropical Zamboanga looks like it’s covered in a layer of snow.”

The Tharoor TIME story is a good gauge of how momentous the Aquino campaign has snowballed. Being a foreigner, Tharoor is a dispassionate and neutral writer who only told it like it is. Tharoor’s headline — The Next Aquino: Can Noynoy Save the Philippines? — reflects the popular perception that Noynoy Aquino will be the 2010 Philippine president.

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  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

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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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