September 10, 2009
MANILA, Philippines—Okay, okay, he’s balding. He speaks like, hmmm… never mind. And he doesn’t have the looks that will leave girls in awe.
But Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s “unique” appeal, contrary to what his detractors say, is an “asset” that can be his ticket to the Palace next year, his party colleagues said.
The 49-year-old Aquino, who announced his presidential bid Wednesday, has been the subject of mobile text jokes, making fun of his balding hair and poor public speaking skills.
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan was quick to fend off scathing comments.
“That’s an asset,” Pangilinan said on Aquino’s looks and demeanor at a regular forum on Thursday.
“He’s simple, unassuming, not extravagant, his pants seen by others as being out of fashion,” Pangilinan said. “The public will all the more like him with his ways.”
Being low-profile and not pushy are another Aquino traits Pangilinan finds to be desirable.
“He never asserted himself. For me, that’s a good trait,” Pangilinan said.
The bespectacled Aquino, who has no stellar legislative achievements in his 11 years in Congress, initially appeared ambivalent to run despite mounting public clamor for him to join the 2010 presidential race.
And his bad hair and uninspired speech were not among the concerns Aquino had in mind when he went into a weekend spiritual retreat in the south and left the entire nation in a state of suspended animation.
The Aquino sisters—Ballsy, Pinky, Viel, and Kris—were not keen on sending another family member into the showground of rowdy Philippine politics. But they’re all support now for their only brother.
Former Senator Franklin Drilon, chairman of the LP, has a different view on the nasty attacks against Aquino.
“The issue of physical appearance, if that’s the only issue they can say against Noynoy, then we’re happy,” Drilon said in the same forum.
Pangilinan recalled that former President Fidel Ramos had the same problem at the onset of his presidential campaign in 1992.
“But after a while President Ramos learned and became a good orator. I’m sure Senator Aquino will likewise go through a similar transition,” he said.
Both Pangilinan and Drilon saw no reason why Aquino should change his image just to appease his detractors.
For Drilon, the issue of looks is not “relevant” when it comes to holding the highest post in the land.
And Pangilinan really doesn’t find these bad hair and poor speaking skills issues as a problem.
“It’s his plus factor,” he said, believing that such traits actually set him apart from the bunch of traditional politicians scrambling to join the 2010 presidential derby.
Read the article in Inquirer.net