Noynoy to go on 'retreat' before baring 2010 plans
Ngayong umaatras muli ang ating bayan patungo sa bangin ng kapahamakan, panahon muli upang manindigan! Panahon ding maghanda para sa isang mas mahaba at matinding laban, kung saan walang bibitiw hanggang makamit natin ang pagbabagong ating hinahangad.
Hindi ko po tatalikuran ang hamong ito! Sana’y kasama ko kayong lahat sa Laban.
His announcement was reminiscent of the decision of his mother, former president Corazon Aquino, who went on a retreat in 1985 before giving in to the public clamor for her to run for the presidency during the snap elections in 1986. Yet it also struck many as a curious move after Roxas seemed to set the stage for the momentous start of another Aquino presidential campaign.
"Hindi po madali ang misyong ito dahil matindi ang kabulukang bumabalot sa ating lipunan. Pero hindi po imposible (This mission isn't easy especially since the corruption enveloping our society is so widespread. But this isn't impossible), " Aquino said in a press conference in Club Filipino in San Juan City.
On Tuesday, Roxas held a press conference at the same time in the same venue to announce that he was giving up his ambition of pursuing the presidency in next year's elections, and would throw his support behind Noynoy instead.
"Ang usapin pong ito ay 'di tungkol sa akin o kay Mar. Ang mahalaga pong malaman ay kung kasama namin kayo sa misyon ng tunay na pagbabago," (This is not an issue about me or Mar. The more important issue here is if all of you are with us in this mission for genuine change) Aquino said.
"Sa dakong ito, dapat pong tanungin natin ang ating mga sarili: handa rin ba akong mag-sakripisyo para sa bayan? Sa mga nalalabing araw ng aming pagluluksa at pagdadalamhati sa pagpanaw ng aming mahal na ina, sisikapin ko pong taus-pusong sagutin ang katanungang ito. Sana maunawaan po ninyo ito," Aquino added.
(At this point, we should be asking ourselves: Am I ready to sacrifice for the country? In the remaining days of our grief and mourning for the death of our beloved mother, I will strive to answer this question. I hope you understand.)
"This weekend, I will be going on a spiritual retreat. As I pray for discernment and divine guidance, I urge you to pray with me so that you too can assess your own readiness to take part in the difficult struggle ahead. We are in this together," Aquino said.
"Hindi ako aatras sa hamong ito (I won't back down from this challenge)," he added.
When asked by GMANews.TV if he had enough funds for the 2010 polls, Aquino said he would rely on people's support to fuel his possible campaign, making long-time political observers again recall the example of his mother and her "Piso para kay Cory" fund raising campaign so she could challenge the Marcos political machine in 1986.
"If this is the campaign based on what the people want, they will run the campaign… And perhaps at a certain point in time, if we are on the true course then they will provide for the things that…. politicians would have to pay for," he said.
In 2001, Noynoy’s declared net worth as Tarlac representative was only P10.4 million, based on government data. After seven years, when he was already in the Senate, Aquino’s declared net worth only increased by 37 percent to P13.9 million. Of the 23 senators, he was ranked 16th, with poll survey leader Sen. Manuel Villar topping the list with a declared net worth of over P1 billion.
In 2004, the declared net worth of Cory’ son was P12.6 million or about one-sixth of the P74.4 million declared net worth of Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey" Arroyo, the son of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Noynoy and Mikey both belong to haciendero families of Tarlac and Negros Occidental, respectively. [See: No money for 2010, Noynoy wants people to fuel campaign]
Among the political observers present at the press conference were Rep. Nereus Acosta, political analysts Alex Magno and Joel Rocamora, Sen. Rodolfo Biazon and son Muntinlupa Rep. Rufino Biazon, and Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo.
Popular support for Aquino to seek a higher government post has snowballed in the weeks after the death of his mother last August 1, as the multitudes at the wake and in the streets gave Aquino supporters hope that "Cory magic" could be harnessed for a run at the presidency.
A signature campaign has been launched to persuade Aquino to run for president. The group is headed by Edgardo Roces, son of newspaperman Joaquin “Chino" Roces, the same man who led the "piso-piso" fund-raising drive that convinced his mother to run for president in the 1986 snap elections against strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
Aquino is also enjoying support from various political and civil society groups like Kaya Natin movement led by presidential aspirant and Pampanga Gov. Ed Panlilio; Aksyon Demokratiko party; Heightened Ethic League of the Philippines (Help); and the Tuloy pNoy movement.
Despite the growing support for Aquino, his four sisters were apprehensive over his possible entry into the 2010 presidential race.
Aquino said his sisters, Maria Elena 'Ballsy' Cruz, Aurora Corazon Abellada, Victoria Eliza Dee and Kris Yap were worried that their lives would again be subjected to the vagaries of a family member in the Palace. With the exception of Kris, Noynoy's sisters are famously low-profile personalities who treasure their privacy.
“All are filled with anxieties of being associated again with Malacaňang. Noong panahon ng nanay ko, 28 na diyaryo ang naghahanap ng negative na balita kinabukasan. Ganoon na naman ba (ang mangyayari?) (During my mother’s time, 28 newspapers searched for negative news about her to be published the following day. Do we have undergo the same ordeal again?)" he asked.
Earlier, Aquino said three factors would influence his decision on running for president: his ability to guarantee that there will really be meaningful changes for society and the country, the availability of logistics for his electoral campaign, and the sentiments of his four sisters about his presidential bid.
[See video below on Noynoy's answer to Mar Roxas' sacrifice]
'Cory Magic' won’t last
Executive Secretary Ermita earlier expressed doubts if the so-called 'Cory Magic' would work wonders for Aquino until the 2010 elections.
Ermita said that while the legacy of Aquino’s parents made him the flavor of the month, it was not an indication that his popularity could be translated into votes in the 2010 elections. [See: Palace concedes Liberal Party now ‘formidable’]
Two analysts interviewed by GMANews.TV also expressed contrasting opinions on the possibility that the popularity of former President Aquino could catapult her son to the country's top post.
Ateneo de Manila University Political Science professor Benito Lim said the "Cory magic" was nothing but “media hype."
Lim said that if Aquino really wants to lead the nation he should present concrete plans and not just bank on his parents' legacy.
"As a congressman and senator he did not even show that he is the new Ninoy Aquino," Lim said. Aquino served as the representative of Tarlac from 1998 to 2007 before he successfully ran for the Senate in the 2007 elections.
Lim described Cory's only son as "odorless, tasteless, and colorless."
But Joel Rocamora, director of the Institute for Popular Democracy said it did not make sense to remove the legacy of his parents because “that is who he is."
He also reminded Aquino’s critics that Marcos used to criticize former President Aquino as somebody "na walang alam" (who didn't know anything) just because she was a mere housewife. - with Aie Balagtas See, Amita Legaspi and AR Sabangan, GMANews.TV