As mother goes, son emerges

07/31/2010 - When President Corazon C. Aquino died of cancer in August last year, her only son, Benigno Simeon Aquino III, became the chosen one to set things right for the country.

A bespectacled unassuming bachelor who smokes, loves guns and billiards, and enjoys jazz, Aquino never considered himself as a savior but became the face of a national desire for clean and honest leadership.

The President, earning a huge mandate mainly due to his untainted background, has vowed to carry on his parents’ legacy of democracy and pledged to create a better future for the country.

On the first death anniversary of his mother, the President remains committed to live up to the promise of the brand Aquino by fighting corruption and poverty during his six-year term.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda asserted that the 50-yearold Aquino has “carried to heart” his parents’ teachings on integrity, patriotism and honor and would not for a second betray the trust of his parents and the people.

Aquino's campaign slogan, “Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap,” which captured the hopes and votes of the people, has become the main thrust of his administration.

Lacierda said the campaign against poverty and corruption is a clear affirmation of his parents’ influence to his leadership.

“The parents are a very strong influence. Whenever I talk to him sometimes, he would always tell us stories about his mom, what the dad told him. He really carries them to heart,” Lacierda said. “He values the lessons learned from the wisdom from both parents,” he said.

Before running for President, then Senator Aquino had a quiet modest career as a lawmaker. His political rise was propelled by the death of his mother, the country’s democracy icon, last year. People were clamoring for change in a country where poverty and corruption have thrived for decades.

Rather than get irked by criticisms that his family name got him into Malacañang, Aquino has embraced the fact that he is indeed the son of his famous parents, much revered for their reputation of upholding democracy and fighting corruption.

In the one-month old administration, Lacierda said the President has displayed his firm moral backbone, owing to his parentage.

Apart from setting example of simple living to other public servants, he has laid out priorities to stamp out corruption and alleviate the plight of the poor.

“He really wants to rid the government of corruption. That’s the plan of Mr. Aquino that he inherited from his parents. That’s also the promise of his parents, to resolve the nation’s woes, and serve the people well,” Lacierda said.

He said the President, who intends to carve out his own legacy, also wants to ensure the lives of the people are uplifted during his tenure.

“That’s why he was so shocked to discover corruption left by the past government. He was very concerned and he has promised to resolve them,” he said.

Lacierda also shared that President Aquino, who adopted yellow as his political color during the campaign, is actually a mix of his famous parents.

It was the late President Aquino who taught his son to be patient, modest, and religious, he said.

“The patience of President Aquino is really the mom. Simplicity and all that is influence of the mom,” Lacierda said of the President’s values. The President’s religious side was even shown in his recent State-of-the-Nation Address (SoNA) before a joint session of Congress, Lacierda pointed out. In his speech last Monday, the President said: “If we truly believe that we have God on our side, is there anything that we cannot endure?”

Lacierda said this pious part of the SoNA was written by the President.

“It was his own input that he wanted to emphasize the power of divine providence, a similar trait that you can see from the mom, faithfulness to the Lord,” he said.

The President’s “mindset and political sharpness,” on the other hand, were influences from his father, Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr., the martyr who fought the Marcos dictatorship.

“He is great in politics although it is not noticed by some people. But when you talk to him you’ll notice he is political savvy, he knows what to do, how to respond,” Lacierda said. "He is an astute politician."

Lacierda said the President has also shown his no-nonsense leadership style, where he gives policy directions and does not micro-manage his subordinates.

“As Chief Executive, he oversees the whole thing. His style is he gives you the mandate and expects you to deliver,” he said.

At the start of his leadership, President Aquino declared that the people are his administration’s boss, promising to be true public servants who work for the common good.

In an attempt to show government leaders should not be given special treatment, he has refused to use car sirens to beat traffic even though he is allowed by law. He also turned down proposals to live inside Malacañang and opted to stay in his modest family home in Times St. Quezon City.

He is expected though to transfer to newly renovated Bahay Pangarap, located in Malacañang Park, this weekend.(Manila Bulletin)

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