In the days following President Noynoy Aquinoâ€™s SONA, I found myself trying to think of reasons why I like the President. Really, man, all the insults, cynicism, skepticism, atheism, and other negativity, etc. can get tiring, if not boring. Sometimes, simply because I get sick of all that, I try to force myself to believe in somethingâ€”just to shake things up.
If I were to believe in Prez Noynoy, I would have to at least like him first. Hmmm. Letâ€™s see. What reasons could there be for me to like the President?
The President is pro-gun.Â Now this is controversial for some people. In a perfect world, of course, not a single gun should even exist. Unfortunately, while some believe that education is the most powerful weapon (a saying attributed to African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela), it is highly ill-advised for you to confront an armed robber and try to disable him with a recitation of the Periodic Table of Elements.
In fact, one of the smartest people in the ancient (or even modern) world, the Greek mathematician and inventor Archimedes, once famously remarked, â€śGive me a long enough lever and I will hit you on the head with it if you disturb my calculations again.â€ť In short, he was badass and smart.
Archimedes was so badass and smart that, as a hobby, he invented war machines to fight the Romans during the siege of Syracuse from 214 B.C. to 212 B.C. These war machines included steam cannons that hurled chemical-filled projectiles at the Romansâ€™ ships, setting them on fire.
Archimedes also invented a type of catapult, which he named â€śThe Scorpionâ€ť. Supposedly, his catapults could throw objects as heavy as 1800 pounds with deadly accuracy over hundreds of feet. One ancient account said that Archimedes catapults â€śinspired terrorâ€ť during the Roman siege.
But the most dramatic weapon attributed to Archimedes was the Death Ray:
So Iâ€™m with the President and Archimedes when it comes to using weapons in our defense. Thereâ€™s a YouTube video showing the Presidentâ€”he was still a Senator at the timeâ€”using a Glock-9 at a firing range in the PNP. Hereâ€™s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnDl4RWiGys
Can you blame the President for taking up his gun hobby? Five bullets hit him during one of the coup attempts against his mother, President Cory. One of those bullets is still in his neck.
The Presidentâ€™s third SONA. Okay, PNoyâ€™s third SONA wasnâ€™t exactly a marvel of eloquence. A lot of people were skeptical about the good news that the President was giving. Still, I like his SONA because it gave us that photo of protestors smashing up a PNP truck with huge wooden clubs. This photo, one of many taken during the SONA protest, made people think, â€śHey, why are you busting up that police truck? We paid for that!â€ť
Said photoâ€™s true significance however, only arose when we saw former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyoâ€™s convoy of SUVs bring her out of the Veteransâ€™ Hospital when she was released from hospital arrestâ€”after the Pasay RTC had allowed her to post bail at one million pesos.
Noticeably fewer protesters were there to express outrage at her release. Not a single tomato, not a single egg, was hurled at her convoy. Not one protestor dared to even tap the SUVs with a long, thin stick.
Part of me wishes that the protestors had at least rolled-up their cartolina signs and used these to go berserk on those SUVs. Heck, they should have at least hit those SUVs with palm fronds blessed with holy waterâ€”if only for its possible exorcism effects.
The President is a regular guy. Perhaps what is most exasperating for many of the Presidentâ€™s critics is that he, irritatingly and vein-busting-ly, behaves like a regular guy. Itâ€™s only right for us to expect greatness from our President. We expect each of our Presidents to be superhuman. Instead, we get this:
If the one in the photo was President Arroyo, sheâ€™d be wading deep into floodwaters, joining disaster officials as they made rounds of flooded areas, to assess the residentsâ€™ situation. If this was former Senator and Philippine Red Cross Chairman Dick Gordon, heâ€™d be in the thick of PNRC operations, riding a rubber boat, then wading in floods.
(But wait. Letâ€™s not turn flood-wading photo ops into a contest. After all, President Noynoy got hit by five bullets. Would Arroyo and Gordon want to top that?)
Some of PNoyâ€™s supporters hail the above photo as proof that the President really considers the ordinary Filipino as his Boss. Letâ€™s be honest: the guy on top is not there because heâ€™s the boss; heâ€™s there because his job is to adjust the plastic covering to ensure that PNoy and DTI Sec. Mar Roxas donâ€™t get wet. And thereâ€™s nothing wrong with that.
The President is known to eschew dramatic gestures while heâ€™s on the job. In his case, at least, this might be a good idea. Remember the hostage incident at the Quirino Grandstand?
The President showed up at the local and security officialsâ€™ â€śbase of operationsâ€ť at a nearby restaurant, where Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, in a fit of righteous hunger, with so many lives at stakeâ€”ordered pancit. We know how that played out.
The President would probably have earned more pogi points if he had gone to Quirino Grandstand and shot the hostage-taker himself.
So if he is, at heart, a regular guy, then he should stick to that. If heâ€™s not good at projecting a super hero image like other politicians, then why should he? Pinoys seem to like him behaving like a regular guy, anyway.
The President is like your old mother. Meaning, he scolds people. And he does it at formal, public gatherings. He did it first to (impeached) Chief Justice Renato Corona. More recently, he did it to former Vice-President and now TV Patrol anchorman and commentator Noli de Castro. This was during the 25th anniversary party of TV Patrol where the President gave a speech as guest of honor.
In his speech, PNoy congratulated the news organization and then proceeded to twit (not Tweet) de Castro for making baseless critiques of his administration.
The President then pointed out to all those gatheredâ€”and he didnâ€™t say these words, but itâ€™s a rough summary: â€śWhy is Noli de Castro so quick to criticize my administration, when he was one of those, as Vice-President of the Republic for six years, who not only failed to solve the nationâ€™s problems, but moreover passed on these problems to the present government?â€ť
If PNoy suddenly pulled out an umbrella, shook it with rage, and yelled, â€śDyaske kang bata ka, Noli!â€ť we wouldnâ€™t have been surprised.
PNoyâ€™s repeat transformation into The Scolder, significantly, highlighted the questions of credibility and conflict of interest, not only on the part of de Castro but of all journalists-turned-politicians, or politicians who become part of media. Can we still trust journalism as performed by those who already established political ties with certain groups?
Well, maybe we can. Thereâ€™s absolutely nothing wrong with this picture:
Some jokers are now referring to Noli de Castro as â€śGoliâ€ť de Castroâ€”a pun on the Tagalog slang â€śgoliâ€ť meaning, â€śto batheâ€ť. Non-Pinoys wonâ€™t get this, so hereâ€™s an explanation: In Filipino culture, the word â€śsinabonâ€ť means both â€śto get rubbed with soapâ€ť as well as â€śto get scolded.â€ť
So, a Filipino could say that Noli de Castro was a recipient of a soaping, some Jabon de Noynoy, from President Noynoy Aquino. Get it?
Noynoy and Noli. Soaping. Bathing. Waitâ€”donâ€™t think about it too much or else youâ€™ll end up with something seriously perverse andâ€¦ oh no, too late.
President Noynoy is midway into his term. I say itâ€™s too early to judge him and his accomplishments, for now. Hopefully, heâ€™ll be able to surprise us, yetâ€”in a good way, please, please.