HE does not have the eloquence of his father, Ninoy Aquino.
Neither does he have the motherly tone of his mother, Cory Aquino. But President Noy Aquino was able to project the image that he wants to be perceived as the 15th president of the Republic of the Philippines.
Instead of delivering his inaugural speech in English, in which he is fluent, the bachelor president spoke in Filipino, and not in a bland and formal way but by using colloquial terms that easily connected with the masses of people that congregated in the refurbished Quirino grandstand, as well as with viewers on television and in the internet.
The speech will go down in history as one that was delivered in a style that was conversational and less oratorical, just a step higher than those delivered on the campaign trail. It had a showbiz tinge, making me believe that TV host (and part-time university lecturer) Boy Abunda had a hand in its composition.
The speech made good copy for the next day’s newspaper but I doubt if it will be among those that the youth will use in declamation contests or if it will be mentioned in history books.
With two former presidents in the front row (Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada), President Noy seemed to have emulated the delivery style of the populist ex-convict Erap rather than the officer-and-gentleman approach of Eddie Ramos. Actually, President Noy sounded more like a caring big brother, a “mabait na kuya” addressing younger sisters and brothers.
We can judge the inaugural speech by its substance. Well, it mentioned things that we long for while at the same time addressing those that we abhor. Among the things that sounded specific were the creation of a Truth Commission, the giving of marching orders to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to investigate anomalies of the past administration, and the revival of his mother’s emergency employment program.
The 20-minute speech covered the dreams and aspirations not just of a new president but also those of the Filipino people. The role of a president is to reiterate and remind us of these dreams and aspirations and to commit to achieve these as humanly possible.
All the presidents that have served our country had delivered speeches that fired up the enthusiasm of the people. That made the citizens believe that there is hope. That raised them up once more and made them proud of being a Filipino.
Most of those presidents failed us. Instead of bringing our country out of a pitiful state, we ended up frustrated as they served their selfish interests, if not promoted their desire to stay longer in power.
There were exceptions, though, but either they died too soon (Ramon Magsaysay) or served too short (Fidel Ramos), and they encountered resistance from those affected by their good designs (Cory Aquino).
There are doomsayers who think that the controversy involving the first official document of President Noy is a sign of the way things will go in his administration.
Memorandum Circular No. 1 declaring all positions occupied by non-career executive service positions vacant as of June 30, 2010 and extending by another month the services of contractual employees whose contracts expired on June 30 was an error, and his inner circle fumbled as they tried to explain the mistake before the media.
We hope they are wrong. For me, the most important sentence in President Noy’s speech was this: “My parents sought nothing less and died for nothing less than democracy, peace and prosperity. I am blessed by this legacy. I shall carry the torch forward.”
Filipinos can adopt these words as a reminder of their role under the PNoy administration: “We are blessed by this legacy.
We shall carry the torch forward.”