Honestly, with power, capability, courage, intelligence and good intent.
I didn't say he was Jesus. I said he is first class, doing the job better than your or I or any of the men who ran against him could have done it. Better than most predecessors did it as far as I can tell. Infinitely better than his two immediate predecessors.
When Mr. Aquino was running for office, I saw him as soft and pliable. I anticipated that his staff and handlers and benefactors would run him. He wouldn't run them. I believe "puppet" was the term I used, and I herein retract that foolish utterance and grovel ferociously in the lush red Philippine dirt in abject humiliation.
We all come with a certain chemistry attached, our personality and portfolio of acts and the people in our lives supporting or urging or critiquing us. Some of us walk fairly alone. Others have hundreds of people attached. Or if they are on Facebook, thousands. The limitations of our knowledge, our openness or closure to ideas, our creative moxie or laziness. They are a part of our chemistry. Our ability to feel things, for ourselves or others. The way we talk, shyly or direct. Our need for accomplishment or the peace of a quiet beach. This is the chemistry of us.
President Aquino is blessed with the heart of his mother and the determined courage of his father.
Who among us, raised deeply and richly Catholic, would have the courage to step to the pulpit and say the two words that finally, finally, finally put the well-being of the Philippines ahead of subordinate but powerful religious interests.
As his father returned to Manila to a hostility that he knew was dangerous, his son stepped to the podium in his 2012 SONA and said what is best for the Philippines to people who might be inclined to condemn his soul to Hell. He has followed that up with urgings to the Legislature to vote, not for their personal advantage, but for the well-being of the nation.
Should the good but frustrated Catholic wise men try to consign Mr. Aquino to Hell, the God of my Church, the Church of Man, will welcome him and bless him for eternity and . . . I'd like to imagine . . . keep a cozy, happy place available for him, well stocked with Porsches, high powered computers with every game in the world on them, including Pac Man, and lots of pretty girls who may or may not be virgins. Some details do not overly concern our God. He respects people's privacy.
The chemistry of President Aquino includes a determination that sometimes gets him into trouble. He interjected himself into the Corona trial inappropriately, politically; he tried to jam Ms. De Lima into the Chief Justice Chair, never minding that she would be tainted for her entire career as "biased", and the courts would somehow be less independent. It is this same determination that keeps him on the backs of his staff to make sure his orders are followed. The 31 DENR officials fired for not enforcing the logging ban felt his determination. Maybe Customs will, too. They are two of the more recalcitrant, corrupt agencies in the Philippines.
His determination is the hard side of his good intentions.
The chemistry of President Aquino includes trust. Trust that his people will work earnestly to fulfill the promises of his mandate for clean government. I expect the Philippines to rocket up in the rankings on the Transparency International survey by the time Mr. Aquino is done with his leadership. I believe in the trickle-down theory of honorable governance, and trust, in an executive setting, is generally rewarded with output.
I do hope he starts hunting down extrajudicial murderers with a passion. It is one more very tangible step to a less corrupt Philippines. It says "we are not a nation of vigilantes; we believe in law, and we believe in order under that law."
Mr. Aquino is not an ego-maniac like his predecessor, finding some kind of kinky satisfaction in seeing his face plastered across the nation on every construction project in the land. He stands WITH people on the podium, not OVER them like so many other stuffed shirt politicians. His chemistry is as normal as normal can be. Is there a worthwhile event to attend? He'll be there to support the people who are supporting him.
His kindness is the soft side of his good intentions.
His feathers get ruffled by the knee-jerk Philippine media, always out looking for dirt. Dirt rather than substance. Perhaps he was a little caddish in ripping ABS-CBN at their birthday party, but his point was important. They are self regulated, and they do a sloppy job of it. His point is that the media need to be more professional, more objective, more knowledgeable, and more responsible. He is right.
Perhaps his handing out relief supplies during a flood disaster was too blatantly political during tragic circumstances. Yet he is not running for any office, and I can believe that he sincerely DOES want to help people.
I've thought about the demands on the President. China in one ear, the Catholic Church in the other, and Gloria screaming in the background. Something like 17 cabinet secretariats, each with a plateful of responsibilities and demands demanding his time, and his direction. But I get the feeling they are pulling together, not against one another. He cuts across the departments with cluster groups aimed at his complex top priorities. Like fighting poverty. He has good men and women in charge, working earnestly. Mar Roxas. Foreign Secretary Del Rosario. Tourism Secretary Jimenez. Even Justice Secretary De Lima, whom I fault for excessive, expressive lip, is unquestioningly dedicated to doing the job she is assigned.
These people are not lollygagging around sucking off the taxpayer, enjoying a leisurely and enriching few years on the throne. They are working for the Philippines. And the conductor, the man with the baton, relates to them as men and women of equal stature. Not underlings to admonish like children. He speaks. He listens. He thinks. He decides. He acts.
This man's chemistry is precious, to the Philippines. Honestly, with power, capability, courage, intelligence and good intent.
I've always thought the Philippines needed an executive president, and Mr. Aquino is of that style. A guy with his eyes on the goals, a guy with the courage to find strong people to run important agencies, a guy willing to listen and speak forthrightly. An honest man, a good man.
Look about. Who would do the job better?
No one that I can see.
No one that I can see.
You have a complaint? Speak it, forthrightly, without accusation. He'll listen.
You have a commendation? He'd probably like to hear that, too, considering all the complaining he has to hear.
You love the Philippines?
Great. So does Mr. Aquino.
He is his father's son as much as his mother's. That was the surprise for me. His father, we understand now, loved the Philippines enough to risk his life to return home to seek the presidency.
It is somehow intensely rewarding to see the son honoring the father now, not just in thought, but in deed.