Wexistential Crises, Wayward Thoughts, Welcome Distractions and Willful Pursuits

Kamag-anak, Inc.?

with 3 comments

On my social networks I posted a link to the Inquirer article Aquino accused of posturing on land reform issue. The article makes reference to a New York Times interview with Fernando Cojuangco, Noynoy’s cousin and chief operating officer of the holding company that owns Hacienda Luisita*, in which he said the Cojuangco clan has no intention of distributing the land to the tenants. In response to this, Cavite Rep. Crispin Remulla was quoted saying “[Noynoy] cannot control his family and shows the weakness of a person masquerading as a leader. He cannot stand up to the family patriarch and proves he is not his own man.”

A friend of mine who is a Noynoy supporter reacted negatively.


Let’s all hope then that all our cousins and assorted relatives are all virtuous, lest their actions be attributed to us.


I don’t think that’s the point. I think the concern of many is whether or not Noynoy is strong enough to resist pressure from his assorted relatives. According to Malacanang insiders during Cory’s presidency, his mother wasn’t, and the Aquino-Conjuancos supposedly had their fingers in all sorts of pies.


The point is that conclusions about his position are drawn from statements made by other people. Aquino is posturing on land reform because his cousin says he’s not serious about it? And now you’re implying because his mom wasn’t able to resist the pressure, he won’t be able to handle it either? Come on….


It’s not that I think he will succumb to the pressure simply because his mother did. The question of whether or not he will succumb is not a question of DNA. It’s a question of strength. People who knew Cory and who were there during her administration say that although Cory was a saint, she wasn’t strong enough to fend off her relatives. Is Noynoy stronger than his mother? I don’t know. So far Noynoy does not seem to be a particularly strong, decisive personality and that does not fill me with confidence.


We need Moral Leadership at this stage. The claim on intelligence, or political will, or competence are minor considerations at this stage of our collective lives. We need someone up there who at least has not YET been tainted by corruption or greed. This intelligence-competence-will argument was the exact same thing people used in 2004 when they voted for GMA. They got what they deserved. Unfortunately, so did the rest of us.

I let the exchange end there because it’s pointless to argue with people who’ve already made up their minds. But to those who are still on the fence, I pose the following questions:

Why does Noynoy have a monopoly of morality? What good is his so-called morality if he doesn’t have the intelligence to understand the nation’s problems or the will to implement politically difficult solutions? Where does his moral ascendancy come from? From his parents? On one hand, Noynoy supporters say we shouldn’t judge Noynoy on the basis of Kamag-anak, Inc. On the other, they expect us to accept his Moral Leadership on the basis of Ninoy and Cory. Ano ba talaga? Should we judge a person by their blood relations or not? Stripped of the Cory Magic and the Aquino Legacy and the messianic narratives that people have woven around him, what are we left with to judge Noynoy? Let us consider his personal merit, or lack thereof.

*GMANews.TV special report on Hacienda Luisita:
Part 1: Hacienda Luisita’s past haunts Noynoy’s future
Part 2: Cory’s land reform legacy to test Noynoy’s political will
Part 3: How a worker’s strike became the Luisita massacre
Part 4: After Luisita massacre, more killings linked to protest


3 Responses

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  1. Hello Aissa! I like reading your blog because it resonates with my reflections toward the political climate in the country. I used to support Noynoy (the very first week he announced his decision to run for the presidency). I withdrew my support when this very insistent and indignant voice in my head kept asking me, “what exactly has he done to deserve my vote?” and it dawned on me that I could not think of absolutely anything substantial he, himself (and not his mother or his father), had done to warrant my support. When I made the decision to support Gilbert Teodoro, it opened up the floodgates to hell, as my facebook buddies who support Noynoy (and who happened to be parliamentary debaters) attacked me and demanded an explanation from me why I was making “the stupid, insane and inane” decision to support Gibo and not Noynoy. One of them told me, If you are anti-GMA then you should be anti-Gibo as well. I was appalled to say the least. Since when did these yellow supporters earn the authority to decide for themselves what is right and wrong for this country? I think this excerpt from an article in the Manila Standard Today written by Jojo A. Robles pretty much sums up my sentiment regarding that particular incident really well:

    “It is the same exclusionary, self-righteous attitude— often badly disguised as being on the side of “good” while everyone else who may not agree is automatically allied with “evil”—that permeates the Noynoy camp and which may, in the end, be its undoing at the polls.”

    The logic in Noynoy’s train of thought (and that of his supporters, as well) is that since they experienced persecution under Marcos, and his parents were instrumental in ending an overstaying administration, he and his elitist backers have acquired the privilege of knowing what is good and bad for Filipinos. I hope filipinos scrutinize the political candidates thoroughly. We need a head of state who has a solid strength of character, good management acumen (because essentially his role will entail dealing with all kinds of people, crooks, ruthless businessmen and honest public officials), outstanding policy-making skills (in which case, I think it is imperative that we remain vigilant and discern the way they approach national issues, do they flinch? do they have the ability to acknowledge the cold hard facts of reality?) and a firm and consistent political will (let us again, scrutinize their statements and their deeds, do they have the balls to advocate generally unpopular ideas, regardless of the risk of alienating voters? Remember that the trademark characteristic of a trapo is someone who will say and do whatever is popular depending on the audience and the area. It takes a mighty set of balls to not give a shit what the general public will think because we need to hear it. We need a leader who appreciates reality and who intends to build solutions by working with it, not by ignoring it and most certainly not by going against it. This is of prime importance because only those who see reality as clearly as possible have the ability to actually redress its wrongs and reform its ills.

    I think that based on this criteria, Noynoy is sorely lacking the meritocracy necessary for the presidency. Someone once told me and I think there is truth in his words, that the candidate you are supporting reflects the character of the voter. I also think that the campaign is a reflection of the character of the candidate. Therefore, we must be vigilant and scrutinize the way our candidates appeal to our votes.


    March 26, 2010 at 9:50 pm

  2. These Aquino supporters talaga. Sigh. I’ve had a few of them feeling sorry for me because I’ve said that the only two candidates for president that I’ll ever even consider supporting are Teodoro and Gordon.

    Some of my friends also give me variations of (1) “Noynoy has his ancestors’ legacy to uphold” and (2) “He is not tainted by corruption.” Sometimes they say it in the same breath. It’s hard not to laugh. Which ancestors? On the Aquino side, his grandfather and namesake was a WW2 collaborator. On the Cojuangco side, Cory’s parents hi-jacked Ramon Magsaysay’s social justice policy to acquire Luisita using GSIS funds and gold from the National Treasury. Cory herself promised to distribute Hacienda Luisita when she campaigning with UNIDO, which was a pointless promise then because the government was successfully suing her family to honor the agreement made with the Magsaysay government. When she became president, one of her first acts was to get the government prosecutors to withdraw their own case. Which they were winning. But Filipinos conveniently forget that and choose instead only stories that smack of apocrypha about what a saintly person she was.

    But proving that Noynoy Aquino is tainted by greed and corruption requires no rehash of his ancestors faults. While I know of no study saying that the greed of grandparents and parents is heritable, one of the most useful principles of behavioral science is that previous behavior predicts future actions. And Aquino’s own behavior stinks of dishonesty and corruption. In the past, Noynoy Aquino has used his influence as congressman to get the RP’s own armed forces to “secure” Luisita against farmers. That episode ended in deaths by the way–mga magsasakang inapi nang walang kalaban-laban. And there are allegations of a whitewash too. Which of course neither ABS-CBN or Inquirer covered fairly. During this campaign, Aquino promised to distribute Luisita (yet again) but the date he gives is actually the deadline prescribed by the Agrarian Reform Program. Liar-liar, pants on fire!

    Of course, his supporters go all gooey eyed at this apparent magnanimity. “Salamat Noynoy and Family for complying with the law!” How is this any different from those ridiculous signs thanking GMA for building walkways and such?

    Another thing that’s sad and annoying is how the Noynoy fans belittle looking at achievements and track records of candidates. It’s not only that they make ridiculous excuses about their candidate’s lack of achievement in the legislature (“His bills were so pro-poor and progressive that they never stood a chance in Congress/Senate. Kaya wala syang naipasa.”), they also dismiss the achievements of the other candidates. I cite Dick Gordon’s accomplishments in Subic and Olongapo as well as his longstanding Red Cross affiliation and they shrug their shoulders. I tell them about Gilbert Teodoro’s bills to create a Dept of Forensic Medicine at PGH, to protect the dignity of the accused, and to upgrade the agricultural sciences in the provinces (now that’s progressive!), they flip their hair and tell me he’ll never win anyway.

    Well apparently, candidates who actually prepare for the presidency by being achievers are never given more than a shrug or a flip. How, then, can they win?

    Sadly, even candidates who are achievers are shifting campaign strategies. Con. Hontiveros-Baraquel has done so much for the country and I was so proud to support such a strong and worthy candidate. And then her campaign decides to get Kris Aquino on-board. What the hell were they thinking? The candidate isn’t corned beef! She’s not an artificial fruit drink! She’s a Nobel-nominated activist-journalist-lawmaker for crying out loud!

    Tama na, sobra na!


    April 3, 2010 at 10:24 pm

  3. I love this blog and the two comments

    I’m sorry for you miss TheLateIsabel that your facebook friends think you’re insane.

    And to you Pixiecato5

    I posted the same thing(almost the same thing) in the Noynoy Aquino Fanpage, got banned of course. But what’s funny is nobody is willing to debate with you when you strike them with those kinds of informations.

    “You know how people are. They only recognize greatness when some authority confirms it.” -Calvin


    May 3, 2010 at 2:23 pm

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