Palace: Aquino's display of emotion not sign of weak leader

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014


MALACANANG defended on Tuesday President Benigno Aquino III for being emotional when he delivered his 5th State of the Nation Address (Sona), saying his display of emotion was not a sign of being a weak leader.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that the President's rare display of emotion was spontaneous.

"In fact, the closing part of his speech was delivered extemporaneously without referring to prepared text previously uploaded on the teleprompter," he said.

Several speculations were raised after Aquino's emotional Sona. Some said this was an attempt to win public sympathy amid impeachment complaints and protest actions against him. Others thought that the President has health problem or he was thinking of resigning.

Former President Fidel Ramos, who was in the audience when Aquino delivered his Sona, reportedly said that the President should have psychological stability so that the public could not see any weakness from a leader like him.

"His firm belief, derived from his parents' philosophy of service, that 'The Filipino is worth fighting for' underscores his firm determination to fulfill a mission to serve, acknowledging that his emergence from that 1987 event with a new lease on life was providential. This is the context for understanding his rare public display of emotions," Coloma said.

Aquino started to become teary-eyed when he mentioned in his speech his parents - late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. and late President Corazon Aquino.

"We beg to differ from view that a display of emotions shows 'weakness' on the part of a leader," Coloma said.

There is now a widely accepted concept of emotional intelligence (EI), he said.

"According to Salovey and Meyer, EI 'includes the abilities to accurately perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth'," he said.

"It is clear, therefore, that all other speculations (health issues, coup rumors, reaction to impeachment complaints, thinking of resigning) are tangential and miss the essential point," Coloma stressed.

The Palace official explained that one of the President's basic objectives in the Sona was to be enable the public to both know and understand the full range of important issues and challenges facing the country; and distill the essential elements that make it imperative for Filipinos to close ranks and act in unison to achieve their shared goals for a better future.

"His bosses -- the Filipino people -- are also the best raters or assessors on how effectively he has communicated," he said.

He noted that based on the Palace's initial tracking of online sentiments, as well as a monitoring of public commentary on broadcast channels, "it is evident that those who agree with what he said in the Sona outnumber those who disagree by a ratio of two to one." (SDR/Sunnex)

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