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