I didn’t vote for Aquino in 2010 but I don’t want to be the person who tells everyone, “I told you so.” Over the past year, Aquino has come across to me as an incredibly weak leader and nothing in this year’s SONA has changed that. But what it has done — and this could be a good thing — is that it has help me set more realistic expectations of him. No, he won’t be that inspiring leader we need. No, he’s not even a leader to begin with. But perhaps, if we get out of his way for a bit he’ll get things done. He’s folksy enough. He pays enough attention to detail. He may not be the perfect president, but he can be a really good mayor.
He lacks vision, to put it frankly. And while he’s now bannering himself as the anti-corruption crusader, I just don’t buy it. I believe solving corruption is integral. A lot of money is wasted, sure, and a ton of good can be done if it went to where it’s supposed to go. I’m just not sure that he’s the man to do it. Maybe he can do it for a municipality or a small city — but a whole country?
That requires a lot of will, courage, and the political gut to stand by what you believe in. Thus far, all I’ve seen him do is shrink away. Case in point, the RH Bill debate. When things got so sour late last year and early this year, that was a chance for him to show leadership. He could’ve stepped in, mediated, and put the country on a path forward. Instead, he blinked. The RH Bill stalled. Now both sides of the debate are seen to be uncompromising, bigoted, and completely irreconcilable. Both sides are shamed. Instead of being the leader of one country, Aquino now looks like the leader of two.
I’m also in disbelief after the former Ombudsman resigned. She was made to appear like such the bad guy then. The administration seemed so hell bent on proving that she’s corrupt, but now that she’s resigned — what happened? Has the case been magically dropped? Will they be pursuing criminal charges? Because what it appears to me is that they’re using this anti-corruption drive to simply weed out people who aren’t so friendly to them and once they’re out, that’s it. End of story. But it shouldn’t.
I also don’t appreciate all the pot shots against the previous administration. Sure, GMA isn’t the most well-loved. But what is he doing about all her alleged crimes besides injecting them into speeches for quick thrills? I find it as pandering really, and that’s the lowest form of political communication. Giving people what they want to hear is one thing, following through on them is another. I see Aquino in a game of poker with the Arroyos — but does he have a winning hand or is he simply bluffing?
That leads me to what I would’ve wanted to hear.
Well, I know the logistics of the SONA. The President only has so much time to brief us on the State of our Nation; a detailed run through of every single initiative may as well convene the entire nation in a week-long conference.
For one, I would’ve wanted to hear finality on the RH Bill. Discuss that in the context of a wider commitment towards improving our people’s health and well-being. Second, I want something more concrete on jobs. I would’ve wanted government to acknowledge how global events shape our policies towards OFWs and hence argue for better quality jobs here at home. Obviously, I want something concrete on education. Nothing on K-12? What a shame. I know for a fact that the DepEd is trying to railroad it for 2012 but until now there is no clear road map on it.
But I want to hear something even beyond all this.
I want the President to call us out.
I want the President to call us to do something greater for our country. We need a JFK moment — I want to hear our equivalent of “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.”
I want that President to challenge us that the utak wang-wang is not just something we see from our politicians. The mentality is in each one of us. Whenever your dad runs the red light. Whenever your parents exploit your political connections. Whenever a student copies a homework or cheats in an exam. Whenever an employee forges a time card. Whenever we ask the easy way out and look for the way to do the least, all that is utak wang-wang. The sins of the system are in each one of us, and hence change can only begin from within us.
“But sir,” a student may be challenging now. “I don’t think Noynoy can do that. No one will take him seriously”
I know. And that’s my point.