We waited for him since before dawn. We wanted a glimpse, a few words, even a conversation with him before he went to face history.
He came out of the house an hour after daybreak. No family was with him, only a bevy of bodyguards in blue polo barongs. He wore a black collared shirt, still the image of mourning. Embossed on the upper right were the Philippine islands in yellow, the color of his family name.
He smiled at our crew. We asked if we could join him. He declined. For that fateful ride, he wanted solitude–something he’d been asking all of us for a week now.
Thirty minutes later, Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III stepped on a podium at Club Filipino to finally “accept” the “call,” the “bilin,” and the “challenge” to run for President.
When his mother was still alive, Noynoy Aquino would not have crossed the mind as a viable 2010 candidate for President, much less presidential material.
But Tita Cory died, and those clamors came.
A number then questioned his experience. His will and determination. His (questionable or lack of a) stand on issues. His relationships. His seeming reliance on women for his decision-making. Even his look and his gait. They still do, more so now that he’s running.
To Noynoy’s defense, his supporters point to the senator’s uncorrupted record, and his potential to give the country badly-needed moral leadership. They point to his previous unwillingness to run as a sign that he deserves it.
It seemed we heard a different Noynoy that morning. On the road then, our crew listened to his speech via radio. He sounded resolute and decided. This time, he was speaking for himself.
And it seemed many others saw that too. Maybe the Cory magic still worked. Maybe it’s the media focus he got that week. Maybe they found Noynoy the lesser evil. Or maybe they did see something in him other Presidentiables did not have.
Now, the senator who did not even get a point in those surveys is now considered the front runner. That does not say though if he is the right choice.
We can’t predict if the votes come May 2010 will still turn out well for Noynoy. All this current fuss over him might show how we think as Filipinos though.
To many, Noynoy may be the one who would finally turn things around in this country. Thing is, we thought all our previous presidents would.
The tragedy lies in thinking that one mere mortal can save the Philippines. Wait for him (or her) to take the cudgels for us and we’ll throw behind all our support.
Instead, something deeper begs a change.
Maybe the wait for Noynoy might be something good. That’s if his decision to “be a man” and fight our challenges leads us to step up as well.
We wait for more of those who will stand, do a Noynoy, and say, “Ako ang simula.”