PNoy didn't think he could live beyond 30
Right in front of me was someone who had always believed he was dead man walking.
Journalist and author of a forthcoming new book on the judiciary, Marites Vitug, and I recently had a one-on-one interview with the country's most powerful man.
During that interview, Benigno Aquino III said he didn't think he could live beyond 30. He's always thankful when he gets to celebrate Christmas for one more year.
As a bachelor, his fleeting relationships with different women have hit the headlines, hence leading people to ask, "When is he gonna get married?"
But because he almost faced death itself when he was ambushed in 1987, he wonders, "Parang kasing-tapang ba 'ko kung iisipin ko, anak na mauulila, asawang mabibiyuda? [Will I still be as daring as I am if I knew I could leave a child fatherless, or that I would leave behind a widow anytime?")
President Aquino knew he has enormous power and wields significant influence. But he also knows he is not invincible.
He is cognizant of death, literally. But since he is the head of a country now, he has also come to analyze death in its figurative sense. After completing his 6-year term, he could be just another fatality of politics.
He will just be another man without a title. He will remain rich, of course, and will always be part of political royalty. He can be a kingmaker. But he does not get to call the shots any more.
Is this the reason why Aquino does not hold his punches?
It looked like a foolhardy move to some, when he first mounted the campaign to have then Chief Justice Renato Corona impeached. Why would he risk his political capital and rock the status quo? Impeaching the chief justice then had political suicide written all over it.
What if Corona was not convicted? Aquino would surely be a lameduck president.
We could cast aspersions at him and ascribe political motives to his action. It could be, as what Corona said, about the Supreme Court's decision to distribute the 6,000-hectare Hacienda Luisita to farmers. After all, while the president has divested his shares, his family still owned it.
Only, Aquino would say, he only has until 2016 to prove his worth. He needs to deliver on his promises.
He was frustrated, saying they were blocked every single time they tried to go after his predecessor, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He formed the Truth Commission which was supposed to probe her, but it was declared unconstitutional by the High Court. He wanted to undo her midnight appointments, but the Supreme Court (SC) issued a status quo ante order stopping him.
The last straw, he said, was the issuance of a temporary restraining order enjoining Justice Secretary Leila de Lima from enforcing the travel ban against Arroyo and her husband, lawyer Jose Miguel 'Mike' Arroyo.
They wanted to leave to seek medical treatment abroad, as the former chief executive had undergone spinal surgery thrice in 2011. But the two also were the subjects of preliminary investigation for their alleged role in the electoral fraud in 2007; hence De Lima decided to stop them from leaving.
"Our secretary of health looked at medical reasons for leaving and found no reason at all. The Philippine Medical Association themselves said whatever procedures are necessary can be done here," Aquino said.
He added they were already looking at what else could be done when the SC issues another TRO. They came to the conclusion that no matter how many cases they filed, their moves would be stymied.
So he made the call. Remove Corona. And he succeeded.
But "changes" can be shortlived. Triumph could be temporary. Sometimes, the lessons are learned; sometimes they are not. Remember that we are a forgetful nation and that forgiveness is our vice.
So here's a challenge to the man who knew he could die anytime: actualize your vision to institutionalize reforms. You have 4 years to give life to your platform of good governance. The clock is ticking.
The President has yet to make good on his word that he will have the reproductive health bill and the freedom of information bill passed. He said he would help cleanse the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao of corruption, and aim to reduce poverty.
He has started rocking the status quo. Whether or not he will stay consistent remains to be seen. But here's one truth: everything in politics may be temporary, but real change is not ephemeral. - Rappler.com
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