I CAN sense the excitement in Janrax’s eyes every time he talks to me about how he wants Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to run for president in the 2010 polls. And he means “president,” not vice-president even to Liberal Party mate Sen. Mar Roxas, who has spent millions of pesos on infomercials announcing his presidential bid.
Janrax even designed a logo “Noy.P” with a yellow background. That’s short for “Noynoy for President” and a play on the word “Pinoy” (Filipino). He showed it to me several days before Inquirer columnist Conrado de Quiros coined the straightforward “Noypi” for “Noynoy for President Initiative.” It was like fate is working double time.
I admit I consider myself old for this stuff. Since I was forcibly “retired” from activism after my second arrest in 1988, I had distanced myself from “isms” and other “movements” and concentrated on two things: work and family. Thus when I saw the peculiar “twinkle” in Janrax’s eyes it was like déjà vu. I had that when I was younger.
That only means “Noy.P” or “Noypi” is once more rekindling what decades of government-misrule and trapo politicking had erased from within the now indifferent former Edsa yellow horde. It has given a new sense of purpose to them and to a fresh generation of patriots who are now apparently willing to fight the good fight again.
But why Noynoy? His Senate stint is lackluster. In a way, that question eerily conjures a similar one asked days after the then dictator Ferdinand Marcos announced the holding of a snap election in February 1986. Why Cory? Why entrust this country to a housewife, a TWA (talagang walang alam)? Ahh, fate: Cory was Noynoy’s mother.
But you cannot dictate where the tide of history flows. Manny Villar, Mar Roxas, Loren Legarda, Joseph Estrada—and the list goes on—they all prepared themselves for the presidency years before straddling Malacañang may have crossed Noynoy’s mind. But who could have foretold Cory’s death and the recollection of our heroism of old?
The tail-end of the presidency of Fidel Ramos, three years of Erap plus nine years of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo represented the downslide of governance and has created a groundswell against government corruption and trapo ways. A Moral Force Movement has become appealing because of the lack of morality in our politics.
What the country needs, therefore, is a rallying figure for moral renewal and reform in time for next year’s polls. It is not surprising then that when the Noynoy Aquino for President Movement was launched this month, it had picked up momentum. Leaders of the yellow horde are coming out again, reinvigorated and determined.
Of course, we do not know if the groundswell would be enough to negate the usual maneuvering from the top. Noynoy is undecided and the trapos are urging him to run for vice president instead, where as a spare tire his presence won’t make a dent in current political realities. If Noynoy gives in, Noypi’s sense of purpose would be crushed.
The ball, then, is now on Noynoy’s court. Will he accept the challenge like his mother, who had a gut feel for what is good for the country, or will he frustrate those who believe he is really his parents’ true offspring? In this context, making that decision itself is the true test of the stuff the son of Ninoy and Cory is made of.
(I wrote this for my September 2, 2009 “Candid Thoughts” column for Sun.Star Cebu)