Thursday, July 01, 2010

Dear Noynoy, Now That You've Been Sworn In...

.:A Belated Dear Noynoy:.

Dear Noynoy,

I hope that the car ride with the former president GMA was not an awkward time for you. I just wanted to say "congratulations" to you on becoming the 15th president of the Republic, although really, I'm more inclined to say "good luck," because you're sure going to need it.

If your predecessor was any indication, you should learn from history by now: like you, she was sworn in. But she was also sworn at. A lot. And for all the right reasons, no less. Please don't follow her example.

If that inauguration happened at Wrestlemania, you probably would have heard people singing "Nananana nananana hey hey hey, goodbye," as your predecessor stepped away to rip Pampanga off for the next three years, instead of the whole country. The only good thing I can say about her at the moment is that I'm glad she actually turned the reins of power over to you (Or to anyone at all, for that matter.). I was half-expecting something to come up at the last minute and prevent that from happening.

I hope you know what you got into, really: the presidency, thanks to your predecessor desecrating the office for a miserable nine years, really became an unenviable position of power. It doesn't matter who you are, what background you came from, or what your intentions are: once you become president, all eyes are on you, and any mistake you commit becomes forever etched in the history books. In the age of the internet, history is no longer going to be a kind judge of character over time. In fact, it's not even a kind judge of character for the present, seeing how many people already started Facebook groups and want you to resign even before you assumed office.

Let's face it, Mr. President: prior to the presidency, your track record was anything but impeccable. I know the Filipinos seem to act like they have massive entitlement complexes when it comes to the qualifications they seek in a president, but since they're paying your salary, I think that sense of entitlement is rather justified. Whether it's the people who blindly follow you and will walk to the ends of the world for you, or the people who blindly hate you and wish you were shot during yesterday's inauguration and for singing "Estudyante Blues" with the very telltale lyrics "Ako'y walang kalayaan/sunod sa utos lamang," you have your work cut out for you, and high expectations across the board from all sectors of all persuasions in this country.

Can you handle it, Mr. President? I don't really know. That's not for me to say. But what's for me to say is that even as a person who did not vote for you, I still stand by the choice my people have made, and a choice I respect and treasure, because with a margin of over four million votes, the legitimacy of your mandate is almost undisputable, save for a few sourgrapes here and there. The elections are done. That was the easy part. Now comes the hard part: picking up the pieces of a nine-year administration characterized by shady transactions, euphemisms, and backhanded stifling of free speech.

Indeed, I did not vote for you, but unlike others far more bitter than I, I want you to succeed. Hades, if Erap actually won, I'd want him to succeed, no matter how much I disliked his presidency, too, and I'll tell you why: if you fail, we, the Filipinos, suffer for it. If those 15 million or so Filipinos who shaded the circle beside your name in the ballot made a mistake, the whole 90++ million of us will end up regretting it. I am not selfish enough to want anyone but my personal choice for president to succeed at your job, because everyone is going to pay for your failure, the way all of us paid for the few of us who were stupid enough at the time to come together for EDSA 2 and oust Joseph Estrada, only to install someone who was no better in power.

Dear Mr. President, I want you to succeed, not for you to finally have achievements to your name, but for this nation to succeed with you. Your glory is not your glory alone: it is the glory of the Filipino people, not because we live vicariously through you, but because the truly patriotic Filipino people will support you despite their personal choices for the greater good, and not only for their selfish purposes. I hope that over time, as people approach to "help" you, you will be granted the wisdom to know the difference between those who want the country to succeed, and those who only want their own interests to be satiated.

You said it, not I: kailangan mo kami. Here we are, ready to help, ready to deliver the change you promised, knowing full well that you cannot do it alone. We have no illusions that you will be our savior. You went un-Obama on us during the campaign and made it painfully clear that this was not going to be a one-man show. Despite that, we certainly want to keep an eye on you and the people around you, because there are still so many things that need to be done.

I'm sure you're used to all the mudslinging that came before, during, and after the elections. It's all part of the territory, especially since your mom herself was not spared from all these, even after her passing. Nonetheless, steel yourself, because it only gets worse from here.

I hope that my letter, no matter how seemingly negative and anticipatory of darker times ahead, does not dissuade you, Mr. President. I am merely stating what lies ahead in the horizon, but by no means should these obstacles hinder you from becoming the great president that I can almost be sure of, in your heart, you truly wish to be. Ultimately, as you recognize this is not a one-man show, then the success of your presidency rests in the ability of the Filipino people to come together and show the world that this so-called Filipino pride is anything but misplaced. You are not blind to the shortcomings of the Filipino as a people. This does not mean that we are somehow racially, genetically, or fatally relegated to failure. Kaya natin ito. Hindi ka nag-iisa.

Once again, Mr. President, congratulations, salutations, and as a sort of special request, we hope to see your erstwhile rival, former Senator Dick Gordon, in the Comelec someday, seeing as the automated elections was his brainchild, after all. Offhand, though, we'd gladly take any excuse just so we can call him "Commissioner Gordon".

Godspeed, and long live the Filipino people.


Marcelle Fabie

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