The new president is not only defying security protocols but more so conventions compared to the notorious former president who is now addressed as the honorable lady from the second district of Pampanga.
Only a few days into office under the tight watch of media and scrutiny of the public, President Noynoy Aquino is a complete turn-around from Gloria Arroyo’s leadership, character and management, making everyday full of surprises and added extra work his security personnel.
While GMA loved to flaunt her arrogance and clout to power through lavish spending of government coffers on so many unnecessary matters like travels abroad with the whole pack of her die-hard loyalists and their families joining the carnival (which by the way many now are joining the administration to save their perks) and expensive and gluttonous escapades; Noynoy Aquino chose to live a very simple and humble lifestyle despite being the most powerful man in the country. His cost-cutting measures and frugal administration was best observed during the inauguration party in the Palace.
During his inaugural address, Noynoy Aquino lambasted all politicians who arrogantly display their power by the use of “wang-wangs” or sirens defying traffic rules just to escape the notorious congested major thoroughfares. This arrogance that perpetuates the great divide between the public servant and the public to be served has been in existence since time immemorial that people thought they just have to live with it and live with contempt against their leaders. GMA and all her cohorts during her term were great examples of these power trippers on our roads; sirens howling the streets, black cars with black tainted windows, a throng of security escorts always ready to shove your car to the nearest ditch and motorists jammed for hours flashing their dirty fingers on the convoys.
But Noynoy as president is the opposite: he obeys traffic rules, do not use sirens and have to wake up even earlier in order not to be late for his engagements. By this example, many people even voluntarily surrendered their sirens to authorities after seeing the President walk his talk, while people only imitated Gloria Arroyo and her dark knights’ ways during her term to multiply many more acts of crime against basic human principles and self-respect.
People were first shocked but ultimately murmured, “it still works” in the Philippines.
But maybe the most shock comes from media people who had been following President Aquino’s new administration.
GMA’s administration was filled with scandals and corruption issues (to the delight of the press as they need not to look anywhere else for an evening headline news) that she has built towering and impenetrable walls for the media not to have any access to her; a government naïve and deaf and mute to the cries of its people. She is even more notorious with her disgust with the media showing no temerity when irritated. To save her face (to no avail as shown by her negative popularity ratings) her people were always at the receiving end of criticisms and most of the time doing the apologies for their boss. But we know better of course.
On the other hand, Noynoy Aquino is very open and accessible to media. During the first days into office of two of his cabinet officials, a bad signal and mishandling of media people by Br. Armin Luistro and Edwin Lacierda was seen. A total opposite of GMA, the new President was himself the one who asked for apologies and understanding for his new cabinet secretaries!
A long litany of many more differences between Aquino and Arroyo can be discussed the whole day, but these differences are not only for the sake of showing the distinct identity between the two but more importantly the clear peculiarity that the public sees of what a real public servant is from an arrogant self-serving public servant; the difference of black and white and not spreading grey areas on leadership and bureaucracy as GMA has perfected. The distinction only furthers the general public sentiment that we can still have a leader who can follow the most basic of laws in solidarity with each and every citizen to restore their sense of dignity and say, “it still works.”
GMA said that history will alone judge her, and by now judgment has already been rendered on her by history justly. The courts will soon follow.