Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Natural Successor Emerges for Aquino

MANILA - Less than a month ago, Philippine Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III was not among the many politicians vowing to run for president at next year's polls. But with the passing this month of his popular mother, former president Corazon Aquino, in the emotional aftermath there is a mounting push for him to enter the race.

Noynoy is the only son of five siblings of the late president Aquino and slain opposition leader Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr, who are widely recognized for standing up to and finally toppling in 1986 former Ferdinand Marcos' authoritarian regime. Many here now hope Noynoy will leverage his family's good name into a new era of good governance and democracy promotion.

The 49-year-old bachelor served three terms as a congressman before being elected a senator in 2007. He is a graduate of economics from Ateneo de Manila University and started his career in retail sales management and later managed the finances of his family's businesses before entering national politics. He has in Congress consistently called for more public accountability and greater oversight of funds earmarked for intelligence gathering.

In the process, he has also emerged as a vocal critic of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's scandal-plagued administration. At the height of the "Hello Garci" scandal,
where wiretapped audio recordings implied Arroyo was possibly complicit in vote-rigging the 2004 elections in her favor, Noynoy was stripped of his deputy house speaker post after he joined calls for her resignation.

Now, many political analysts view Noynoy as a candidate with comparatively clean hands the potential to rally jaded voters after nearly a decade of divisive and corruption-riddled rule under Arroyo. Widely perceived as humble and imbued with the same strong religious values that made his mother Corazon popular with the masses, political analysts believe his candidacy would be blessed with a sense of moral authority inherited from his politician parents.

It would represent a move towards more democratic rule, which many Filipinos crave and still associate with the Aquino family name.

Excerpt from article by Joel D Adriano is an independent consultant and award-winning
freelance journalist.

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