Last Philippine President?
Image Credit: Uniphoto Press

Last Philippine President?


Barring any unforeseen events or extra-legal surprises over the coming days and weeks, Sen. Benigno Simeon ‘Noynoy’ Cojuangco Aquino III of the Liberal Party will likely be proclaimed the next president of the Republic of the Philippines.

Noynoy topped the exit polls and unofficial canvassing of the May 10 elections and, based on tallied results, he received more than 12 million votes, with the next candidate trailing him by about 5 million votes.

Noynoy’s apparent victory is historic for two reasons—he’s the first Philippine president to win an automated election and the first bachelor president. But it could also be a historic presidency for another reason—it could be the country’s last.

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If the Lakas-Kampi Party, which still dominates the country’s Congress, succeeds in its plan to adopt a parliamentary form of government by amending the Constitution, Noynoy could be the Philippines’ final president.

Noynoy seemed to many destined to lead the country—his grandfather was the Speaker of the Congress, while his father was a senator and martyred opposition leader; his mother was herself once president. So when Corazon Aquino died last August, Noynoy’s supporters prodded him to run for president, reminding him of his duty to continue the legacy of his parents.

But it would be unfair to attribute the surge in Noynoy’s popularity solely to his ‘royal’ blood line. After all, for many, Noynoy has a spotless reputation as a public servant—no mean feat considering he was a congressman for nine years and senator for three. Throughout his time in public office, Noynoy has not, so far as we are aware, been involved in any corruption scandals or anomalous government contracts, and there were no reports of him having abused his position as a presidential son when his mother was president.

In a typical election year, even this squeaky clean record wouldn’t have been enough to win the presidency, but it seems Filipinos today are desperately looking for leaders like Noynoy.

Or to be more precise, Filipinos today want new leaders who are the opposite of incumbent President Gloria Arroyo. After nine years in power, Arroyo will step down next month as one of the most hated politicians in the country’s modern history, if surveys are to be believed. Aside from being accused of committing electoral fraud, human rights violations and abusing her presidential power, Arroyo is also embroiled in numerous corruption cases.

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