Noynoy cover of TIME Magazine

Noynoy cover of TIME Magazine

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Leading presidential candidate Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III of the Liberal Party on Saturday said he was glad to have been featured by the prestigious international magazine TIME, adding that it’s always a triumph of the Filipino people if one of their countrymen is cited in such publications.

Among the Filipinos who have graced the cover of TIME in the past generation are Corazon Aquino, Fidel V. Ramos, and boxing champion Manny Pacquiao. Environmentalists Chin Chin Gutierrez and Von Hernandez of Greenpeace have also been cited as Asian heroes.

TIME Magazine’s April 26 issue, “The New Aquino: Can Noynoy Save the Philippines?” written by Ishaan Tharoor, described Aquino in his campaign sortie in Zamboanga as an “unlikely man of the moment,” emerging on stage looking more like an “abashed computer nerd than the sort of brash, swaggering politician that has become the stock-in-trade in the Philippines”.

The Liberal Party standard-bearer comes from a family whose parents had fought to restore democracy in the Philippines.

“His charismatic father, Benigno (Ninoy) Aquino Jr., was the country’s greatest champion of democracy before being gunned down in 1983, presumably by agents of the ruling dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Then his mother, Corazon (Cory) Aquino, a once meek housewife, became the figurehead of a popular rebellion in 1986 that toppled Marcos and gifted to the global lexicon the now immortal phrase of democratic revolution – people power,” the article said.

The article said he was encouraged to join the race for the country’s highest political office following the “massive outpouring of public grief and affection that followed his mother’s death from cancer last August.”

Aquino said to TIME: “They made automatic in me the preference to take up the cudgels for those who have less in life, for the powerless”.

Philippine economics professor Winnie Monsod was quoted in the article as stating that Aquino “doesn’t have his father’s charisma, but he has his mother’s sincerity. Whether that’s enough, I don’t know.”

Noynoy’s campaign

TIME said Aquino’s campaign “has styled itself as the panacea for an afflicted country,” because his supporters believe he is the “righteous change candidate, destined to overhaul a stagnant status quo and redeem democracy.”

According to TIME, Aquino’s primary goal in his campaign is to curb corruption and “empower the people by delivering them ‘freedom from hunger.’” TIME added that 9 other rival bets have spoken out against corruption—“a problem that is hardwired into the country’s politics”.

TIME quoted political analyst Ramon Casiple as saying, “There are ties of clan, family and region that are stronger than the nation”.

The article said “Aquino is not the only candidate promising social renewal, but he seems well suited for the part – carrying himself with an air of almost Gandhian simplicity and uprightness”.

His chief rival, Nacionalista Party’s Sen. Manuel “Manny” Villar Jr. is described to be a “suave, smiling, businessman with a rags-to-riches story, rising from a Manila slum to become one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the country”.

Populism vs legacy?

It noted “observers say the presidential race has become a contest between Villar’s populism (and deep pockets) and the Aquino family legacy.”

The article added: “But there are doubts about how savvy an operator he will be when thrown deep into the murky world of Philippine politics – one, by his own admission, that he has considered forsaking in the past “so not to be compromised anymore.”

Casiple added in the article that Aquino “may not be the ultimate architect of change, but he could push open the door for real reform.”

Newsbreak editor, Marites Vitug commented in the story, “Our trust in politics has been so eroded that people just want a new leader who will do the very basic – who will not be corrupt, who will be good.”

Karen Ang

A plebeian who is trying to make small changes in this world.

  • mongolianbbq ,

    Aside from being the son of NINOY the hero and champion of democracy and CORY the icon of democracy NOYNOY has nothing on his sleeves anymore. Anybody could check his records in Congress for 9 years and in the Senate for 3 years. He was even bested by a simple action star in Lito Lapid for having at least one passed bill in the Senate on his first term. I wonder how could NOYNOY be able to eradicate corruption, as he advocated in his campaigns, when in fact he has nothing to be proud of being a legislator for 12 years. Could sincerity alone bring forth the salvation he is promising to the people after he won the presidency? I don’t think so as I believed that no country in the world could boast that theirs has no corruption record at all.

    And since day 1 of the campaign period his party is not presenting anything as his platform other than eradicating corruption and worst the mudslinging spree against his main rival Villar.

    Mudslinging strategy as I have known would only result to more divisiveness instead of unity after elections. I hope that people would be more discerning now as the election day draws near. And for me, aside from Aquino and Villar, who are frontrunners in the surveys, there are more credible, competent, qualified and sincere candidates with proven track records to lead us to unity and progress. We have Gibo Teodoro who does not resort to mudslinging and advocates unity and Gordon who is a proven hardworker and transformer. He was able to transform Subic and Clark to a very progressive zone in the country.

    Let us choose the right candidate to elect and base our vote on the capacity, integrity, competence and experience and not just base it on sincerity. For sincerity alone not backed by competence and qualifications with proven track records could not uplift the lives of our countrymen.

    • canbee ,

      I completely agree with your points mongolianbbq, if only most of us pinoys think the way you do.

      One angle that I think is worth a look is that this NoyNoy fever is somehow a backlash of the Gloria controversies that we have been experiencing.

      Pinoys tired of a supposed capable but corrupt Gloria, are now looking for a non-corrupt but incapable leader — the irony.