Funny how things seem to hit you on the head and leave a lump despite what seems like good and innocent intentions. I am far from being an automophile (no such word, boys and girls) save for that once in an apocalyptic moon when I browse Google for photos of luxury cars. Men like myself should be allowed to dream of the good life every now and then.
It should be understood, however, that from the day Noynoy Aquino sat as President of the Republic to this very hour, his words and actions will always fall under the scrutiny of the public. He is a public figure, needless to say. No doubt far from any personal reasons and efforts at black propaganda, albeit those cannot be discounted altogether, these uproars are more the signs of something deeper, something that needs immediate resolve.
Buying a Porsche is not bad, not even a sin, that is, from a comfortable angle. I personally have nothing against it. There is no law that says the President has no personal right as an individual to spend his mullah on a sports car. The President, notwithstanding popular belief, has rights too. As a bachelor, Noynoy Aquino has the right to live and love, even luxuriate in what his wallet can afford for himself.
Too, as the leader of a nation, he represents the good and admirable in the Filipino, not the people’s collective poverty. For one thing, it should never be said of the Filipino head of state that he is dugyot. The Aquinos and Cojuangcos are not poor in the first place.
If simple gatherings demand that we should be dressed for the occasion, then why are we raising a rancor over a purchase? If the chief executive officer of a multinational corporation can, by his own money, drive around the streets of Ayala in an Aston Martin or Mercedez Mclaren, why not the President of the Republic? I mean, we don’t call him Chief Executive for nothing.
Besides, he’s a bachelor and quite the ladies man, or so I heard. What better way to flaunt the mating feathers than to cruise around the metro with a yellow Porsche. It’s a ritual every man is familiar with, something even the great JFK was wont to display.
There is, however, a flaw in the wave. Aquino’s purchase of a Porsche spoke a lot about his character, the inner force that drives him. Leadership that’s worth its weight in gold is all about character—the temperament and disposition of soul and spirit that say he is a cut above the rest of the dire lot.
In a nutshell, leadership is about principle, and as former US President Thomas Jefferson once said, “In matters of principle, stand like a rock.”
Malacanang may think the purchase of the Porsche bears little weight on the public at large. It was the President’s money, so Lacierda explains. The fact that the Palace strongly pressed for the right of the President to purchase a luxury car, they totally missed why he is President in the first place: not simply because he was voted into power, but that his position requires him above everyone else to act with prudence and wise discretion. He must, at all times, have the country in mind, or at least, for the next six years. One question is: Mr. President, can’t you even wait?
The sin of one who gorges on a loaf of bread in front of a child hard put at having a piece of cold pan de sal without molds, is not only mindless, it is downright cruel.
The real question that Noynoy needs to answer then arises: Would the late President Cory Aquino or Sen. Ninoy Aquino approve of it?
I don’t think so.
JOEL PABLO SALUD is the chief editor of the Philippines Graphic magazine, the country’s top newsweekly publication (sister publication of the BusinessMirror). He is a member of the Unyon ng Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL) and The Manila Critics Circle.