Had former President Cory Aquino not died on Aug. 1, 2009, her son, Benigno Aquino III would not be in Malacañang today.
At the time of Cory’s death, nine months before the May 2010 presidential elections, Noynoy Aquino, who had an unremarkable record as legislator (9 years as representative of the 2nd district of Tarlac and three years as senator), was not in anybody’s mind for the highest position in the land.
He was catapulted to the presidency by the people’s sympathy for his mother.
He owes his presidency to his mother.
Last Wednesday, in an interview with Mel Sta. Maria, TV5’s resident legal analyst, Aquino said, whereas before he was averse to amending the Constitution, he is now open to it as he wants the powers of the Supreme Court clipped.
On extension of his term that Interior Secretary Mar Roxas is pushing, he did not disapprove of it. He said he is listening to the people whom he refers to as his “boss.”
This is the transcript of that TV5 interview:
Sta. Maria: “Sarado ba kayo sa pag-aamyenda ng Constitution hanggang ngayon?”
Aquino: “Bago nito, bago nangyari lahat ng ito, sarado.... aminado ako .Pero ngayon, napapag-isip ako talaga... yung tinatawag na judicial reach.
“Yung kongreso, executive, kumilos kayo, pero anytime, puede namin kayong kastiguhin...at parang imbes na magkaroon ng tinatawag na judicial restraint, bihira lang ito ginagamit, parang masyadong madalas ginagamit. Ngayon, yung balance between the three branches, tila nawala.
“Marami pang ibang provisions na pwedeng i-fine tune, pwedeng i-update. Kinakaba ko lang noong araw naman na baka ang magagandang provision baka ma-dilute.”
On term extension, Aquino said: "Nung pinasukan ko ito, ang tanda ko, one term of six years...Ngayon, after having said that, syempre ang mga boss ko, kelangan kong pakinggan 'yon."
"Hindi naman ibig sabihin..na automatic na hahabol pa ako na magkaroon pa ako ng dagdag dito, 'no?"
On the fifth anniversary of Cory Aquino’s death last Aug. 1, the President’s office released a statement recalling her fight against the dictatorship.
The statement said: ”Even after her presidency, she remained active in the country’s affairs—a true icon of democracy not just in name but in actions.”
One of the post-Malacanang activities that Cory Aquino led was a protest rally in Rizal Park on Sept. 21, 1997 against moves by then President Fidel Ramos of changing the Constitution through a People’s Initiative.
Excerpts of that stirring speech by Cory Aquino: “Twenty-five years ago, the President of the Philippines blew out the light of democracy and covered the nation in darkness. Congress was padlocked and the Supreme Court put under the gun. Journalists were picked up, newspapers were shut down. The public was blindfolded and gagged, and the country was robbed. Robbed for 14 years without let-up or hindrance, without limit or shame. Some of the best and brightest of our youth disappeared.
“Why? Because the President of the Philippines then wanted to change the Constitution so he could stay in power beyond the legal term.
“Fourteen years later, millions of Filipinos gathered in massive act of civil disobedience to send a single short message from this place: Tama na, sobra na…never mind the rest. One week later, His eminence Jaime Cardinal Sin called on those millions again to form a human shield around Fidel Ramos and Juan Ponce Enrile, because they had joined our fight for democracy.
“The flame of freedom burned again.
“Today, there is a dark wind blowing across our country again…the wind of ambition, a gathering storm of tyranny. We are here to shield that flame so that the light of democracy will not go out in our country again…..
“That is why we are here – to tell the people who want to stay in power, by martial law or Charter change; no way and never again. Do your worst, we will do our best to stop you. And we, the people will prevail.”
Since Aquino said he wants to hear from his “boss”, it would do him well to remember these words of his mother: “ Power intoxicates; too much power is addictive. And there will always be power drug dealers who will feed your habit as President.
“They will say you are right, when you are wrong. They will say you are successful, when you fail, and will insist you are indispensable, although you are just one of 70 million Filipinos who gave you the rare privilege to be their servant but only for your elected term. They will say that nobody can take your place, when what they mean is that they do not want to give up their places.
“Let me tell you now, the presidency is so great an honor, no one deserves to have it again. It imposes a duty so important – to guide a whole country and protect a whole nation – that you must do it well.
“And if you did it well, you won’t deserve to do it again. Doing your job well was your duty and not a special favor to the country.
“There is a secret I would like to share. The honor of the Presidency is so great, no one needs to have it more once. The honor sticks to you. A president is never forgotten, whether he is good or bad. Better to be remembered as good one.”