A critic’s tribute to PNoy

The untimely demise of former President Benigno Aquino III (“PNoy”) has prompted me to reflect on my years in politics dating back to 2009. To clarify, I never had any professional or personal relationship with the former President, but I always had an affinity for the kind of political environment there was prior to the 2010 National Elections.

While I may have been on the other side of the political fence, I witnessed and experienced the hopefulness of more than 15 million Filipinos for an honest and transparent government when they elected Ninoy and Cory's only son to the highest seat of power in the country. While I campaigned and spoke for a different candidate, I looked forward to how PNoy would maximize this huge political capital to enact reforms in governance.

I consider myself one of the PNoy administration's harshest critics particularly on its mishaps and failures during the Quirino Grandstand standoff, Mamasapano incident, and Typhoon Yolanda, among others. I was relentless in calling out the PNoy administration's failures in addressing the traffic and transportation problem, corruption in government through the DAP and pork barrel and underspending in infrastructure development projects. Nevertheless, I also acknowledged the PNoy administration’s laudable programs on conditional cash transfers (4Ps program), implementation of various PPP projects that were recently completed under the Duterte administration, and several fiscal and monetary policies which made the Philippines one of the best performing economies in Asia at that time.

The climate for political engagement back then is so much different today than what it was about ten years ago. I enjoyed discussing contrary and opposing views with supporters of the previous administration while being friends with some of them outside of the formal summits, conferences, and interviews. We endlessly debated and argued on several contentious issues of national concern to elevate the level of political discourse in the country beyond personalities.

Times have indeed changed wherein the national conversation is dominated by fabricated news and endless trolling throughout various social media platforms. You often question the authenticity of opinions given the manner and language these are expressed by certain users. The quality of social conversations on politics has deteriorated from its golden age before and during the Aquino administration.

A lot of praises have been heaped on PNoy's humble and dignified leadership. I am in no position to personally vouch for his character. However, I laud the political climate and environment that was cultivated before and during his ascension into the Presidency.

I may have been a critic of the PNoy administration, but I am grateful to have felt safe and secure in expressing my dissatisfaction, discontent and disapproval for its faulty policies and programs.

Thank you PNoy for your 18 valuable years in public service and for allowing a space for contrary and opposing views.

From one of your harshest critics…

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About the Author
Mr. Aaron Benedict De Leon is currently a Business Development Practitioner in a private consulting firm. He has more than six years of professional experience in leading and managing political and non-government organizations, specializing in organizational management, policy development and program management. He has had stints with notable political/socio-civic organizations, serving in various capacities as: Secretary-General of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP) [2013-2015], Founding Chairperson of the Centrist Democratic Youth Association of the Philippines (CDYAP) [2012-2014], Philippine Representative to the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) [2011-2012], Chairperson of the Christian Democratic Youth [2011-2012], Secretary-General of YOUTH Philippines [2010-2011], and Spokesperson/Communications Director of the GT2010 Gilbert Teodoro Presidential Campaign [2009-2010].
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