In my few decades of existence, I only met in person three Philippine Presidents – Fidel Ramos, Noynoy Aquino, and Rodrigo Duterte. I gained a lot of management-related insights from Ramos while from Noynoy, I was taught to look more into different perspectives and appreciate better the simplicity of life.
Noynoy debunked all my notions and stereotype of an elitist and high ranking Noynoy debunked all my notions and stereotype of an elitist and high ranking politician. His tiffs with Jesse Robredo and Butch Abad in the management and the scheduling of activities during the 2010 electoral campaign, and how he makes moves to reach out to them despite some disagreements simply showed that people like Noynoy are ordinary human beings, too, and not some cold-blooded and ruthless creatures portrayed in propaganda machines. He laughs at jokes, smiles at simple things, and even blushes when special persons close to his heart are mentioned or visit him unannounced.
He is not particular about ranks, or hierarchy, or organizational structures. In one of our meetings in Balai before he got elected as President, and I got lost in the middle of a crowd, he was the one who guided me and led me — to my amazement, not to the meeting room but to the dining area. “Politics can wait,” he said.
At times he is annoying as he just suddenly pops up during meetings and, when he became President, procrastinates on some policy recommendations. But he is Noynoy. Though sometimes he acts late, he still delivers. If he doesn’t, there is defitely a compelling reason why. Moreso, he accepts criticisms. It’s the people around him who doesn’t.
Meeting Noynoy was short – in fact, barely a year and purely work-related. But those months were like a decade of learning validated by his outputs when he served as President of the Philippines. He may be a member of the upper class, but he is one of the reasons why a greater number of poor people, the members of the lower class, once had the chance to participate in the planning and decision-making for local projects. He may be a face of the Dilawans, but he was able to reach out to members of the different political spectrum and establish political stability based on the indices provided by various international observers. He may have a Chinese descent, but he was the one who brought the Philippine case to the International Tribunal and scored victory over China in the latter’s incursions on Philippine territory. He may be slow to act, Noynoying to be specific, but he was fast in paying the debts of the Philippines, and made the country “one of the fastest growing economies in the world, impressively rivalling the dizzying growth rates of fellow Asian countries such as China”. It was also during his time that the Philippines was able to get an “investment grade” status from the world’s leading credit rating agencies.
Meeting Noynoy was short and surely he will be missed.