The boor of Times Street will be a no show at Duterte's 3rd SONA

Wednesday July 18, 2018 ()

BS Aquino is not attending his successor's state of the nation address (SONA) for the third straight year. As usual, Aquino gave no reason for turning down the invitation for him to be present when President Rodrigo Duterte talks to Congress and the nation on Monday.

Noynoy's own surviving predecessors — Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo — are going to be at the Batasang Pambansa for Duterte's address. But Aquino, who doesn't have the excuse of being on a never-ending speaking-and-golfing tour (Ramos) or of being in jail (Estrada and Arroyo), isn't.

This is unfortunate for someone who remains the spiritual leader of the "disente" crowd. Aquino's third consecutive no-show at one of the very few events that tradition (and just ordinary good manners) demands his presence is no longer forgivable.

Noynoy Aquino
(Benigno Aquino III)

It shows that Aquino couldn't care less about the responsibilities he still has as a former president. It proves that he is truly vindictive and deathly afraid of being called to account for what happened during his watch.

I cannot believe that there are more pressing engagements that are keeping Aquino from attending Duterte's SONA. And I am sure that, apart from the occasional mandatory appearances before the Department of Justice and Congress, to explain his role in alleged anomalies that took place while he was president, Noynoy's social calendar isn't crammed with appointments.

Unlike his ideological successor, Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo, people aren't breaking down Aquino's door in order to give him invitations. I'm pretty sure that the rare attempts to draw him out of the house have been turned down by the former president, whose social life can only be described as hermit-like.

In other words, Aquino may as well have put up a "Do Not Disturb" sign outside the gate of his Times Street home. He doesn't even attend the infrequent meetings of his Liberal Party anymore, in part perhaps because he can no longer expect to see the crowds of politicians begging for favors or even attention from him.

Of course, no one can force Citizen Noynoy to go where he doesn't want to. Because he is no longer president, people cannot demand his presence, like they did when the bodies of the 44 members of the PNP Special Action Force arrived at the Villamor Air Base.

Aquino no longer has to explain that he doesn't go to the wakes of people he does not perSONAlly know. He can meet only with the people he wants, when he wants to meet them and no one can violate his perSONAl space without his permission anymore, even if he used to call them his "bosses."

But there are occasions when a former president, even one as jealously protective of his privacy like Noynoy, has to put in an appearance even if he is not summoned by some investigating body. One of them is a successor-in-office's SONA.

But I confess I can't even offer a plausible explanation for Aquino's boorish, unmannerly behavior. As a longtime Noynoy watcher, I can only speculate that he has decided that he cannot bear to face the people who professed their undying love for and devotion to him before, but who are now singing hosannahs to a new ruler.

I think Aquino has reckoned that he cannot abide any criticism of his past actions coming from his successor, never mind if he has repeatedly professed that he knew nothing about anything wrong that happened, from PDAF to DAP to Dengvaxia. I suspect that he still cannot handle being beside Arroyo, whom he jailed for five years and who has now been exonerated of all the charges he had filed against her, or seeing all the other Arroyo lieutenants whom he so unrelentingly pursued during his six vengeful years in office.

Most of all, I guess Aquino just reverted to his default diffident, detached and self-contained perSONA, now that he is no longer in office. He has merely returned to the same circumstances he had before it was decided by his opportunistic political handlers that he could become president, with the sudden death of his mother in 2009.

This is the real Noynoy Aquino that everyone who knew him was familiar with before the start of his career as a reluctant politician, the only son of his very promising father, his clueless mother and the designated inheritor of his family's political enterprise. Now, he believes that he has done his part as a member of his clan, as a lackey of certain oligarchs and of the hegemonic American bureaucrats who had been using his family for decades.

Now, he just wants to be left alone to do whatever he wants. Now, he just wants to stay home and away from people, who seem to be always needing something from him.

In Noynoy's world, life would be perfect if people just forgot about him totally. Then he can be left to his pursuits, his cars, his guns, his video games, his transitory women.

He will be able to plan his legal defense in peace, sticking to various versions of "I don't know" and "I had good faith." He will be free to fight his impending incarceration any way he wishes, whether with house arrest or a prolonged stay at a hospital for treatment of real or imaginary maladies.

But now that his term has ended and as he faces the prospect of spending many more years with basically nothing to do, Noynoy Aquino can at least go through the motions of being a former leader. Or else he faces the possibility of being remembered as the ill-mannered lout that, ironically, his remaining followers accuse his successor of being.

Not that Noynoy cares one way or the other what people think of him and how badly he's behaving. All he desires right now is to stay home and to keep out of jail.

And if there is any justice in the world, Noynoy's carefully planned and implemented program of isolation will be denied him. Soon.


  • The boor of Times Street, Jojo Robles, July 18, 2018, The Manila Times

(This article is adapted from the source listed above. We are unable to grant permission for any kind of reproduction other than social media shares.)


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