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RAPPLER.COM INTERVIEW: THE EMOTIONAL JOURNY OF BENIGNO AQUINO III


JUNE 25 -Throughout his interview with Rappler, President Benigno Aquino III is relaxed, confident, and in good spirits – the picture of a retiring public servant satisfied with a job well done President Benigno Aquino III still has time left on his tenancy, but he’s already packed. The 15th Philippine president didn’t seem to have as much baggage as most of his predecessors when he walked into Malacañang in 2010. He’s an orphan and a bachelor. He had a girlfriend at the time, but not for long, and many friends – quite a few with him on the full stretch of the Daang Matuwid journey to his promised Philippines, where a crackdown on corruption would free people from poverty. But as Aquino prepares to leave his temporary bachelor’s pad, he may find his take-home load far heavier than what he had brought with him, capping an odyssey where public emotions – and the question of whether the Chief Executive considered them – were key. The son of democracy icons Ninoy and Cory Aquino was propelled to power by a nuclear explosion of emotions – national grief over his mother’s death, and the same depth and breadth of public anger toward the sins of his predecessor. The fallout was not felt until the last full year of his term, when the same adoring public found itself inconsolable and outraged by a few of the “uncaring” decisions he and his administration had made. His story On a Tuesday afternoon at Malacañang's Music Room, Aquino gives Rappler a broader look at where his leadership has taken the Philippines. (WATCH: Rappler interviews Aquino) CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: The Aquino promise
'My hope is that when I leave office, everyone can say that we have traveled far on the right path, and we are able to bequeath a better future to the next generation'


JUNE 12 -Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III (R) takes his oath as the Philippines' 15th president before Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales (L) at the Quirino grandstand, Manila, Philippines, on June 30, 2010. Dennis Sabangan/EPA/File That he turns over his administration to another president who vowed the same is not lost on Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. He can look at this as a harsh indictment of his presidency. Or he can say it’s the best proof that change is, indeed, an endless wish for a nation of over 100 million people. “My hope,” Aquino said in his inaugural address on June 30, 2010, “is that when I leave office, everyone can say that we have traveled far on the right path, and we are able to bequeath a better future to the next generation.”  The path was off to a good start. Thrust to the 2010 presidential campaign by the massive outpouring of grief over the death of his mother, democracy icon former president Cory Aquino, the Aquino heir became a reluctant, awkward candidate who had the presidency in the bag long before election day. In many ways, his campaign mirrored that of Rodrigo Duterte’s – riding on people’s frustration with corruption and inefficiency, promising change in how things are done. Aquino was the anti-thesis to what the then outgoing Arroyo administration had stood for: excess in how power was wielded and abuse in how state resources were used. In May 2010, more than 15 million Filipinos voted for him, representing 42% of the total votes cast in that race. This remains – to this day – the biggest win by any plurality president in the post-Marcos era.
Regaining lost reputation “Kung walang kurapt, walang mahirap.” If no one is corrupt, no one will be poor. It’s a big promise that Aquino tried for 6 years to fullfill, limited by his own definition of who was corrupt and constrained by the sheer magnitude of the problem of the country's poor. He sacked or jailed some big guns, appointed fiercely independent-minded people to constitutional bodies, and set up a system that doled out cash to the poorest of the poor on condition they send their children to school and do their part in the community. Aquino was the anti-thesis to what the then outgoing Arroyo administration had stood for: excess in how power was wielded and abuse in how state resources were used. READ MORE...

ALSO: Rappler Talk - President Aquino's legacy and reflections on leadership


JUNE 7 -(REPOSTED) MANILA, Philippines – He was a reluctant presidential candidate, thrown into the toughest political race in 2010 by an electorate sick of corruption in government. Over 15 million voters elected Benigno Aquino III as president because of his Daang Matuwid (Straight Path) platform. He promised an administration that would stamp out corruption, ensure transparency in governance, and pull more Filipinos out of poverty through an inclusive economic development. It was a presidency marked by record-high public approval ratings until Aquino's biggest challenge – the botched Mamasapano encounter that killed 44 elite cops. Then came urban woes like traffic and the long queues at the glitch-ridden MRT3, gut issues magnified in the heat of the election campaign that pushed another candidate – also promising change – past the administration's anointed one. Less than a month before he steps down, Aquino spoke to Rappler's Maria Ressa on his legacy, his greatest challenges, and his hopes for the next leadership. Watch it here on Rappler. – Rappler.com WATCH THE VIDEO INTERVIEW...

ALSO: The Aquino Legacy
[Rappler looks back on the presidency of Benigno Simeon Aquino III – its successes, its failures, and its legacy]


JUNE 15 -President Benigno Aquino III attending the 118th Independence Day rites – his last as commander-in-chief – at the Rizal Monument in Manila, June 12, 2016. Photo by Gil Nartea, Malacañang Photo Bureau  At the stroke of noon on June 30, 2016, Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III will once again become a private citizen. For the past 6 years, he was the Philippines' most powerful man, leader of more than 100 million Filipinos – the person responsible for determining the fate of an entire nation. He was elected into office in 2010, riding on a wave of goodwill after the death of his mother, democracy icon Cory Aquino, and on the promise of leading the nation to prosperity treading a straight path.
With a focus on fighting corruption, the economy grew. Soon, the country became one of the best-performing economies anywhere. The archipelago at the Pacific's western edge, once a mere footnote in the global conversation, became one of the main talking points – a success story in a landscape dotted with struggling and failing economies. But it has not been an easy ride all throughout. The journey along the much-vaunted "Daang Matuwid" had its share of bumps and potholes. Luneta. Yolanda. Mamasapano. Corruption, though scaled down, persisted. The West Philippine Sea. Poverty. Climate change. A rocky peace process. Even traffic, urban blight, and dysfunctional trains. But the country – and Aquino – carried on. As the country's 15th president ends his term, Rappler looks back on his presidency – its successes, its failures, and more importantly, its legacy. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

The emotional journey of Benigno Aquino III


LEGACY. 'There is no place in the country that I am afraid to go to because we neglected them,' says President Benigno Aquino III. Photo by Robert Vinas/Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, JUNE 27, 2016 (RAPPLER.COM) Mia Gonzalez @miamgonzalez Published 8:30 PM, June 25, 2016 Updated 2:15 AM, June 26, 2016 - Throughout his interview with Rappler, President Benigno Aquino III is relaxed, confident, and in good spirits – the picture of a retiring public servant satisfied with a job well done

President Benigno Aquino III still has time left on his tenancy, but he’s already packed.

The 15th Philippine president didn’t seem to have as much baggage as most of his predecessors when he walked into Malacañang in 2010. He’s an orphan and a bachelor. He had a girlfriend at the time, but not for long, and many friends – quite a few with him on the full stretch of the Daang Matuwid journey to his promised Philippines, where a crackdown on corruption would free people from poverty.

But as Aquino prepares to leave his temporary bachelor’s pad, he may find his take-home load far heavier than what he had brought with him, capping an odyssey where public emotions – and the question of whether the Chief Executive considered them – were key.

The son of democracy icons Ninoy and Cory Aquino was propelled to power by a nuclear explosion of emotions – national grief over his mother’s death, and the same depth and breadth of public anger toward the sins of his predecessor. The fallout was not felt until the last full year of his term, when the same adoring public found itself inconsolable and outraged by a few of the “uncaring” decisions he and his administration had made.

His story

On a Tuesday afternoon at Malacañang's Music Room, Aquino gives Rappler a broader look at where his leadership has taken the Philippines. (WATCH: Rappler interviews Aquino)

CONTINUE READING...


ANIMATED STORYTELLER. President Benigno Aquino III stresses a point during Rappler Talk with Maria Ressa at the Palace Music Room on June 7, 2016. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

“There is no place in the country that I am afraid to go to because we neglected them,” he says, before diving into how his flagship conditional cash transfer program has begun to break intergenerational poverty.

Aquino talks with Rappler for nearly 3 hours in two rounds of interviews. He takes only one break. Throughout, he remains relaxed, confident, and in good spirits, regardless of the questions asked – the picture of a retiring public servant satisfied with a job well done.

Aquino is slightly leaning to his right, arms folded, sometimes one hand scooping his cheek – a mannerism he shares with his successor. His periodic fits of coughing – the subject of news stories early in his term – are no longer jarring; he has somehow integrated these into his speech and doesn’t keep him from responding to questions.

More than a few times, he moves his hands to animate his anecdotes, his adventures and misadventures as president, and to punctuate his achievements. He uses his voice the same way. He has always been a lively storyteller, far from the emotionless Chief Executive some perceive him to be.

A sensitive man

People who have worked with Aquino describe him as considerate and maawain (compassionate). This can be seen in small, everyday gestures behind Palace doors.

"Ladies first," is a given at the start of shared meals. A Palace official says he would always remind the female staff members to heed the President’s call because if they follow protocol and wait for Aquino to get food first, all of them would starve.

Midway through his term, Aquino visited the wake of a Malacañang Press Corps member who died of cancer. After noticing that the father was sickly, he directed an aide to schedule him for a check-up. Knowing that the late journalist was the breadwinner, he asked whether her two siblings had jobs. The Office of the President hired the older one.

At events with children, Aquino turns into everybody's favorite uncle, high-fiving tiny hands left and right, asking questions, cracking jokes.


UNCLE PNOY. President Benigno Aquino III high-fives with children dressed as elves during the DSWD's Pasko ng Batang Pinoy Project at the Palace grounds on December 19, 2012. Photo by Gil Nartea/Malacañang Photo Bureau

In discussions with public officials, his oft-repeated order is to deliver "palpable" and enduring reforms that would benefit future generations. There's the Aluling bridge, for example, that connects Ilocos Sur to Mountain Province completed only under his watch – after over 30 years and 6 presidents. Before it was finally opened to traffic in 2013, it was jokingly called the "longest bridge" because of the time it took to be completed.

Aquino, a known history buff, is conscious of how future Filipinos would look back at his presidency. During the election season, when his anointed candidates sorely needed a boost, he vetoed the proposed Social Security System (SSS) pension hike bill and refused to support the income tax cut for low-salary earners – low-hanging fruits; gifts, even, for an administration reviled as uncaring.

(READ: Aquino: 82 bills rejected in 6 years)

Explaining his decisions then, Aquino said he would rather be called "heartless" now than "heartless and careless" in the future, when the SSS goes bankrupt and its members are left holding the bag if he had signed the bill into law. The bill seeking to scrap income tax payment for fixed-income earners would deny government a steady revenue stream for its social services and key programs. Congress did not give him any proposal to compensate for the loss.

Aquino may have learned from former president Fidel Ramos. He is credited with reinvigorating the Philippine economy by solving the power crisis and breaking up monopolies in industries such as in telecommunications, which mobile phone-dependent Filipinos enjoy to this day. But today, Ramos is arguably most remembered for the country's prevailing expensive power costs – the highest in the region and a dampener on investments – because of the Ramos administration's flawed negotiated contracts with power suppliers.

Aquino's argument is lost on critics who cannot shake off their image of the callous Chief Executive who chose a scheduled car plant function than comfort widows of elite cops who got butchered in the southern Philippines.

For them, he’s the unsympathetic leader who inspired a thousand and one memes and crisp expletives from people stuck in queues at train stations or in Metro Manila traffic. Worst of all, some of them say, he has developed a thick skin to broadsides against his leadership.

Aquino is not as onion-skinned as he was during his early years, when his new administration was ridiculed as a "Student Council" government. This is clear in how he answered some of Rappler's questions that might have visibly piqued him years ago. But he continues to be sensitive to criticism, which the public would sometimes glimpse at press conferences or in some of his public addresses.

This is a common observation of those who have worked with him and journalists who have covered him: In a sea of praise, he would likely remember the lone buoy of disapproval – or what looks to him like censure – bobbing in the surf. Its mildest form is his continued insistence that he never had a honeymoon with the public, the media, since he assumed office, though his survey numbers prior to the Mamasapano incident would debunk this claim.

The heartbreaks

Though already a senator, Aquino was a minor political figure when he came under the spotlight in 2008, the year his mother began a year-and-a-half long bout with colon cancer. The family spokesman, he was tasked with updating the public about the condition of former president Corazon Aquino, and ultimately, her passing, even when he had not yet dealt with his own grief.

Facing local and international media hours after Mrs Aquino’s death, he kept his composure and managed to "smile" as he spoke – a default facial expression that he would get criticized for when he became president – but his voice betrayed him when he relayed how the family was holding up.

Personal loses

Years later, he would recall this personal losses to explain why he chose not to lead the arrival honors for the slain Special Action Forces (SAF) cops in Camp Bagong Diwa. When his father, former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr was assassinated upon his return to Manila nearly in 1983, and when his mother died 26 years later, his family needed time to grieve. This was what he wanted to give the SAF 44 families, he would say everytime the issue is raised.

Biggest heartbreaks

In a Rappler roundtable interview, Aquino counts the Mamasapano clash as among the biggest heartbreaks of his presidency, along with the Supreme Court ruling on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), and Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

The Mamasapano incident, he says, “gained traction” so all his political foes rode on the issue. 2015, after all, was the year before the presidential elections. Up to that point, there was no major issue that could dent his popularity.

“Mamasapano was anything and everything that I did or didn’t do,” he says. “Bakit 'di ko sinalubong ang SAF 44 (Why didn’t I welcome the SAF44)?”

There were repeated suggestions for him to stand beside the widows and their families as the mangled bodies of their loved ones arrived at the tarmac, but he wanted to give the families space, and for all government assistance ready by his pre-scheduled meeting with them the following day.

The next day, he attended the necrological services and met with the families. Some grief-stricken family members did not even want to look at him, but some were overheard asking the President to help get their children into the Philippine Military Academy.

To this day, he believes he had done the right thing.


GRIEF. President Benigno Aquino III (center) pays his respects before one of 44 police commandos killed in a botched anti-terror operation, during a necrological service at Camp Bagong Diwa on January 30, 2015. Photo by Noel Celis/AFP

“To my mind, the best way to do that was to have as much as possible a non-emotional period with them,” he says.

“Siyempre, kung ano-ano na ang sinabi….Pero ‘yun nga ang point. Sa totoo lang, di ko naman puwedeng sabihing manhid ako pero as much as possible, kung ako naman binabanatan ng nonsense, bahala na kayo. I have X amount of time to be able to effect all the changes that we want. I cannot spend all this time wasting it on something that does not lead to a betterment of the situation of our people,” Aquino adds.

(Of course, so many things were said….But that’s the point. Honestly, I can’t say that I’m unsympathetic but as much as possible, if the attacks against me are nonsense, it’s up to you. I have X amount of time to be able to effect all the changes that we want. I cannot spend all this time wasting it on something that does not lead to a betterment of the situation of our people.)

It snowballed into a "series of unfortunate incidents," as one political observer calls it. Some candidates used the “manhid (uncaring)” image of Aquino in managing the Mamasapano crisis and sewed it into other urban woes, creating a potent quilt of miseries under his Daang Matuwid leadership.

Show of sympathy

Aquino usually shuns public stunts that he believes are meant only to earn empty brownie points. He did not go to the wake of Filipino transgender woman Jennifer Laude, who was killed by US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton in Olongapo City in 2014, because he said he didn't know her and personally condoling with her family would just be uncomfortable for both sides.

“It’s like how can I say that I really sympathize with their loss and have some relevant discussion with them on trying to assuage their loss at that point in time?” Aquino said in a news briefing then, when asked if he would go to Laude's wake. Readers commenting on the Rappler story page were generally in agreement with the President, saying it was better for him not to be "opportunistic."

When Aquino chooses to go to public events, it's usually for major crises. This was evident in the last quarter of 2013, when the country was rocked by natural and man-made disasters.


YOLANDA SURVIVOR. President Benigno Aquino III checks on a Yolanda survivor in a mobile hospital on November 18, 2013. Photo by Gil Nartea/Malacañang Photo Bureau

For 11 days in September, 2013, the President stayed in Zamboanga City to personally oversee operations to end the Zamboanga siege. He wanted to make sure that there would be no civilian casualties. In the end, over 200 people were killed during the crisis, mostly Moro National Liberation Front members belonging to the faction of Nur Misuari. There was one civilian death.

A day after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck Central Visayas on October 15, 2013, Aquino flew to Bohol and Cebu. A week later, he and members of his Cabinet returned to Bohol and slept in pitched army tents in hardest-hit Loon. This was to show “solidarity” with the victims and to signal a return to normalcy after the tragedy.

"Dinesisyon po namin na ipakita sa inyo kung paano paniniwala [na ligtas na dito], ‘di siyempre wala pong mas magandang pruweba ‘yan kung hindi ‘yung makiisa kami sa inyo ngayon, dumamay ngayong gabi (We decided that there is no better way to prove that it is safe here than to be with you, in solidarity, tonight),” he told the people there.

In November 2013, Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck Eastern Visayas. Before Yolanda made landfall, he addressed the nation to remind affected local governments and communities to do preemptive evacuation. “This is a very real danger,” he said then.

If he wanted to milk the disaster to his advantage, Aquino says he would have ordered the live TV broadcast of the government briefing on Yolanda. Then, he says, he would have made an overly dramatic, impassioned appeal “showing all my emotions.”

“Grabe na ho itong bagyong ito (This typhoon is really serious),” he says in an exaggerated pleading voice, giving a glimpse of the option he rejected. Doing this, he says, would have triggered pandemonium. Instead, he chose to calmly apprise the public on the gravity of the impending situation.

“Parating ine-emphasize, act presidential. Pero ito, more than anything, ang idea ko: ‘Kaya kitang ikalma. Obligasyon ko. Kaya kitang maka-recover nang mas maaga. Obligasyon ko.’ Ngayon kung ako may frustration, may galit, may tampo, whatever, bahala na ang tiyan ko. Kaya dito na ako nakatikim ng hyperacidity,” says the 56-year-old Aquino.

(Always emphasize, act presidential. But this, more than anything, my idea was: ‘I can calm you down. That’s my obligation. I can help you recover earlier. That’s my obligation. Now, if there is frustration, anger, hard feelings, whatever, my stomach will deal with that. That’s why I only experienced hyperacidity here.)


IN THE THICK OF THINGS. President Benigno Aquino III in Palo, Leyte, after Yolanda struck Eastern Visayas. Photo from Malacañang Photo Bureau

Yolanda killed over 6,000 people. He went to the ravaged communities afterwards to bring relief goods and a message of hope. He came across people who remained resilient even after they had lost everything but their lives.

While discussing Yolanda, Aquino tells Rappler an anecdote about Guiaun Mayor Christopher Sheen Gonzales, when national government officials visited his Eastern Samar town after Yolanda.

Aquino said that when the mayor, who sustained an arm injury while helping evacuate residents to safer ground, was alone with the national officials inside a vehicle, he finally had time to lower his guard.

He said Gonzales told the officials: “'Salamat, dumating kayo. Sa totoo lang, lahat sumasandal sa akin – ‘yung tirahan, tarpaulin, yung pantakip ng bubong, pagkain, gamot. Sa totoo lang, siyempre, matibay ako! Ngayon nandito na kayo, mas marami kayong kaya, puwede ba ihinga ko na sa inyo lahat ito? Ibubuhos ko naman, sa inyo naman ako sasandal.' Pagbaba ng kotse, sabi ni Mayor, ‘Okay na ako.’”

(Thanks, you're here. Honestly, everyone is leaning on me for shelter, roofing, food, medicine. In truth, of course, I'm strong! Now that you're here, you can do a lot more so can I just vent this all out to you? Let me lean on you." When he alighted from the car, the mayor said, "I'm okay now.")

“If he collapses, everybody else [will too],” Aquino says.

The value of empathy

Asked whether there is value in empathy in a president, Aquino nods after he takes a sip of water. Then he asks matter-of-factly: “I’ve been accused of lacking empathy. Can you help me? Can you give me an example when I lacked empathy? Can you give me a situation where I was supposed to have lacked empathy?”

He recounts the 1987 coup attempt against the first Aquino administration, when he was nearly killed by rebel soldiers while he was on his way to Malacañang. This happened because he wanted to be with his family during the turmoil and he did not check with security officials before heading to the Palace.

Aquino lost 3 of the 4 people who were with him. He got shot 5 times, one leaving an irremovable bullet in the left side of his neck. Aquino says the experience has taught him not to be impulsive.

“If somebody is undergoing a tragedy and ang ginawa ko nakiiyak lang ako sa kanya – ‘Paano na kami nito?’ ‘Paano ka nga ba?’ [feigns crying] – ang paniwala ko, papaano makakatulong? Parang ang papel ko, ama ng bayan, masasandalan niya," Aquino says.

(If somebody is undergoing a tragedy and what I did was, I cried along with him – ‘What will happen to us?’ ‘What will happen to you?’ [feigns crying] – my belief is, how will it help? My role is to be the father of the nation, someone one can lean on.)

He adds: “I have to show I am in control. I have to show, ‘Yes we will be able to help you. We are now actually helping you. Or we have directed the relevant agencies and organizations to render you whatever assistance you need.’”
Apparently learning from the lessons of the Mamasapano incident, Aquino went to the wake of two soldiers killed in an encounter with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in May 2015. Thirteen months later, he personally condoled with families of slain soldiers, and checked on those wounded in an encounter with the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan.

Anger manager

Another emotion that Aquino has learned to control is his anger, especially when it involves decision-making. He says this is something he learned to do early in his life.

During a sikaran match – a Filipino martial art likened to streetfighting which involves the using one’s hands and feet – the teenage Aquino’s anger got the better of him and he became careless.

“First tournament, napuruhan niya ako. Ang habol ko makabawi lang; walang focus. Sabi ng instructor ko, ‘‘Pag galit ka, walang focus," the President says. (First tournament, my opponent got me good. My only aim was to hit back; I lost focus. My instructor later told me, "If you’re angry, you lose focus.")

At meetings, Aquino has been observed not to show his frustration with flawed presentations and arguments through the usual means. Unlike some of his predecessors, he doesn’t yell or throw things on the table. If he gets too angry, he would take a break. He has also been seen quietly gripping the table to keep himself from losing his cool. He doesn't want anger to cloud his judgment.


THOROUGH. Presenting at Cabinet meetings is likened to a thesis defense in front of President Benigno Aquino III. Photo from Malacañang Photo Bureau

“Any decision made in anger is normally wrong. Kung galit ako, pause muna (If I get angry, we have to pause first),” he says.

The President says he’s also conscious that if he bawls out an official, chances are the subordinates of the latter would get a beating, and others down the line.

“‘Pag ako nagalit, siyempre conscious ako na yung under me mas galit at ‘yung under him lalong galit. Baka tingnan ko lang nang masama, sinampal na ng under me [‘yung tao niya], sinuntok, sinipa na. May control dapat ‘yon,” Aquino adds. “Kung ano gagawin ko, siyempre mama-magnify ng subordinate ko. Hindi puwede. Tiis ka.”

(When I get angry, of course I’m conscious that those under me would get angry, and those under him would get more angry. If I glared at the official, he might beat up the people under him. There should be some control. Whatever I do will be magnified by my subordinate. That can’t be. So I have to bear it.)

He cites a Palace meeting on government efforts in Ginsaugon, Saint Bernard town in Leyte, years after the 2006 landslide that buried an entire village. He got riled when an Office of Civil Defense (OCD) official prefaced every sentence with, “We hope, we believe, we think, we assume.” The official also presented wrong figures – a known pet peeve of Aquino, who keeps a calculator by his side to check questionable numbers.

After observing 5 mistakes in the OCD presentation, Aquino turned to the official who sat beside him. He put his hand behind the latter’s back.

Without raising his voice, he told him, as he gently rubbed the man’s back: “Buhay ng tao ito. Bakit puro ‘we hope, we believe, we assume, we think?’ If anything happens, you have to have the basics. Ilan ba ang tao diyan, ano ba ang kailangan nila?….’Pag nagkita naman tayo sa susunod, umpisahan mo naman dapat ng, ‘We know, we are sure, we have confidence.’ Di ba dapat ganyan yan, brod?”

(People’s lives are at stake here. Why is it all ‘we hope, we believe, we assume, we think?’ If anything happens, you have to have the basics. How many people are there, what do they need?…When we see each other again, preface your statements with ‘we know, we are sure, we have confidence.’ Shouldn’t it be like that, my friend?”)

Changed man

It is this power to demand instant solutions to problems that Aquino says he’ll miss the most when he’s no longer Chief Executive.


CABINET MEETING. President Benigno Aquino III presides over a Cabinet meeting at the Palace Aguinaldo State Dining Room on November 27, 2013. Photo from Malacañang Photo Bureau

“I’ll miss more than anything – you see a problem, you can call the agency directly and demand an action right away; an analysis of the problem and action. Perhaps at the most that would be it. May dumating, may lumapit sa iyo, may nagreklamo, reasonable ‘yung gusto nila (Somebody approaches you and complains, the request is reasonable). Then the process starts and ends rather quickly,” he says.

The outgoing president says when he was a senator, he had second thoughts about running for reelection because he was getting frustrated with pushing his advocacies. He was elected senator in 2007.

“There was a time when I was in the Senate, I was really wondering whether or not to even stand for reelection. The idea was you’re banging your head against the wall; it seems it would not achieve anything – fighting for all of the good causes. Then now, to be able to do everything you’ve been thinking about this country, you were able to do something about it in 6 years. You found answers to perpetual questions,” Aquino says.

How has the presidency changed him? Aquino charts his fate which started with his parents’ fight to regain Philippine democracy.

“From my Dad’s solitary cell, to EDSA, and people trying to stop tanks that are even higher than them, to all the ingredients necessary for a bloody revolution being present, but we somehow avoided it. Those of a religious mind would think God had a part in it. And to now,” he says, referring to his presidency.


HIS DAD'S CELL. President Benigno Aquino III visits the detention cell of his father, the late senator Benigno 'Ninoy' Aquino Jr in Fort Bonifacio. Photo by Joseph Vidal/Malacañang Photo Bureau

Until he became Chief Executive, Benigno Aquino III was known only as the son of two Philippine icons of democracy. He did not stand out when he was a presidential son, seen at the time as an easygoing, average guy who did not fit the mold of a future leader.

In Congress, he remained low-key, quietly working under the long shadow cast by his parents. A former co-lawmaker, Health Secretary Janette Garin, says Aquino was not the kind of person who would seek out the media to boast about the work he had done on major legislation.

When it was his time to step up to the plate, Aquino was flushed out of the shadows. His parents' legacy illuminated him and might have even shielded him from some of the early blunders of his administration.

“There was a time somebody asked, ‘Ano bang papel mo?’ ‘E di dakilang alalay’ (‘What’s your role?’ ‘What else, a noble follower’). Because there was always some leader that I deferred to, to suddenly being the leader that everybody deferred to and everybody was looking to for all of the instant solutions yesterday," he says, still on his transformation over the last 6 years.

In his farewell addresses to different departments and offices in his final week as Chief Executive, Aquino has the same message: After his roller coaster of emotions over the last 6 years, he is getting off with a smile, his head held high.

Other exiting presidents would be having separation anxiety in the final months of their term – even earlier, when they begin to feel the full weight of their so-called lame-duck status.

If Aquino feels any of this, he doesn't show it. And if he has any regrets about his presidency, he will probably just keep them to himself. Tiis lang. Rappler.com


RAPPLER.COM (REPOSTED)

Rappler Talk: President Aquino's legacy and reflections on leadership

Rappler.com Published 1:44 PM, June 07, 2016 Updated 9:01 AM, June 08, 2016

 

Watch Benigno Aquino III speak to Rappler's Maria Ressa on his legacy, his greatest challenges, and his hopes for the next leadership on Tuesday, June 7

 

MANILA, Philippines – He was a reluctant presidential candidate, thrown into the toughest political race in 2010 by an electorate sick of corruption in government.

Over 15 million voters elected Benigno Aquino III as president because of his Daang Matuwid (Straight Path) platform. He promised an administration that would stamp out corruption, ensure transparency in governance, and pull more Filipinos out of poverty through an inclusive economic development.

It was a presidency marked by record-high public approval ratings until Aquino's biggest challenge – the botched Mamasapano encounter that killed 44 elite cops. Then came urban woes like traffic and the long queues at the glitch-ridden MRT3, gut issues magnified in the heat of the election campaign that pushed another candidate – also promising change – past the administration's anointed one.

Less than a month before he steps down, Aquino spoke to Rappler's Maria Ressa on his legacy, his greatest challenges, and his hopes for the next leadership. Watch it here on Rappler. – Rappler.com

33 Comments

20 days ago Marco Mendoza Nobody is perfect.. HINDI SIYA NAGNAKAW! He did what he thought was the best thing to do taking into account all that needs to be factored into in making his decision. One cannot simply please 80 million filipinos in 7,100+ islands, siyempre iba-iba ang kinalakihan, iba -iba ang kinagisnan na buhay. Salamat PNoy for doing what you think was right even if it was not popular. ReplyShare2 replies+22 19 days ago oohksy For so long, and for more articles, Rappler has criticized Aquino. I don't get it why Duterte fans now say Rappler is biased. They have been critical of the government always. Ok lang sa inyo dahil galit kay Aquino tapos ngayon, biglang evil na ang media? ReplyShare1 reply+13

19 days ago Angela Capalihan Thank you Mr.president Aquino, your administration has a big boost to improved our economy in better shape under your leadership.Your administration fulfilled the modernazations programs of our AFP/PNP spends 16 billions newly acuired weapon and/equipments for our armed forces and Police.Your detractors criticizing your short coming and unpopular policies the negatives propaganda they've looking to destroy leadership despite the facts your admin.got positive rating from various int'l agencies.You've leave in office has 164 billions in our national coffers.far fron when you assumed as a president last 2010 you've started empty coffers. May Gdbless you as a private citizen after your term end. ReplyShare+10

19 days ago Ed Villagracia Nobody is experienced on governing a national political scale. Pnoy did the best he can for 6 years and he has done well in the infrastructures and education sectors. These are important when it comes to nation building by starting the basic needs of the socio-economic platform. As to corruptions, 6 years of leadership to eliminate or minimize is not enough considering that such problem has been going on for more than 45 years especially magnified during 12 years of the 20-year rule of absolute and dictatorial power. Moreover, it is not fair to compare the Philippines to Singapore's successes because of its size and population. Singapore is just a little over Metro Manila's land and constituents or Davao city. A fair comparison would be Japan and/or South Korea which the Philippines is comparable to both land size and population. Lastly on corruptions...it seems that there's more of it, right? The Aquino administration's transparency policies exposed multiple corruptions from previous administrations so Filipinos can see where they stand and also a starting point for his government to solve the problem. As far a his own corruptions, there are no legitimate evidence(s) that he himself is corrupt that have been presented that are authentic and audited by independent agency and organization. As far as the jury on Duterte's administration is still out. So let's just wait and see how will his stewardship lead the country. Remember the Philippines is a country but not a city like Davao which is the size of Singapore. Hopefully he'll do better than his predecessors and good luck to him and the Filipinos for the betterment of the country. Change starts from the people and discipline by being law abiding as well as not relying too much from the government. It takes a whole nation to change not just from the politicians. ReplyShare2 replies+9

19 days ago iaskgem Thank you President Noy, you did your best for the betterment of your countrymen.Your attitude is very professional. Good Luck! ReplyShare+9

19 days ago Dodrigo Rurerte You guys will miss him. Mark my words. ReplyShare+8

19 days ago jflorinda Salamat Pnoy! ReplyShare+7

19 days ago Anna Bella O'Neill Your detractors might dismiss your achievements for PH, but history will be kinder to you. Thank you for trying your hardest to lead this nation of incorrigible, 'appreciative' people. #ThankYouPnoy ReplyShare+6

19 days ago Ma. Cristina Tabao Kung naging kagalang-galang ang mga Pilipino sa buong mundo, yun ay dahil kay Pres. Aquino. Kaya namnamin natin ito ng bongang-bonga dahil malapit na tayong maging pambansang katawa-tawa dahil sa naging desisyon ng 16 million na Pilipino. ReplyShare1 reply+6

18 days ago WJGBalderama I already see a big difference between the outgoing and the incoming president -- one is a decent , professional guy and the other an arrogant, foul-mouthed fool. ReplyShare+4

18 days ago Luz Cometa Thank you, PNoy! ReplyShare+3

19 days ago Ruel Lajara dzzxxxxzz ,,zxzz ReplyShare0

17 days ago Planck Epoch Why waste your time on an epic failure. ReplyShare-1

20 days ago Valar Morghoulis If it weren't for the end of this administration..the DOTC sec. would still be there.. ReplyShare-4

19 days ago Wilson Pergis KUNG TALAGANG NAGING MAGANDA ANG DAAN MATUWID EH DI SANA NANALO PAMBATO NG DAAN MATUWID NA YAN. ReplyShare2 replies-7

18 days ago Milette Carlos The local media was not kind to PNoy that is why many Filipinos did not appreciate his achievements. The local media is also doing the same with D30 now, the difference is PNoy continued to face the media, but D30 chose to ban them.

Unfortunately, the international press & orgs were the ones who saw PNoy's achievements, hindi lang talaga nailabas ang mag ito during the campaign season at nangibabaw ang mag negative & fake posts posts from satire pages (like adobo chronicles, personal blogs etc). Personally I had to do a lot of digging to find out about these achievements.

ReplyShare+3

3 days ago Rose Lim their pambato d nanalo because of the dirty tricks that duts team did!! he wins by paying trolls in social media to create memes that twisted the truth.. destroying mars reputation!! this were all lies.. they are accusing mar of Yolanda funds an accusal that was been said several times but no concrete evidence proving it....then a slap in their face because mar win landslide in this region of Yolanda victims!! so how about that!! a live proof that it was mar who is there physically attending their needs and rehabilitation...mar is rich and living a comportable life and yet he is there exhausted working day and night for the victims but still bassed by this duterte team to be useless..weak etc etc....that's how he was defeated!! he is a man of honor he did not fight against this bassing as a true gentlemen and never stooped into this low level people!!

ReplyShare0

19 days ago Wilson Pergis DAANG MATUWID BA?..ETO PAKIBASA KAWIKAAN 14:12.... ReplyShare-9

19 days ago Clark ian This Article says many are HAPPY. When 4 of 5 comments are not. hahaha when you go to Duterte topic many are SAD, when most of the comments are rebuttal to the Article. Nice journalism! The very reason that despite the billion machinery and cheating, Digong still won a VERY WIDE MARGIN, because Daang Matuwid was a mess. ReplyShare2 replies-10

19 days ago Anonymous ß Nice journalism!

I like how you come to this sarcastic conclusion based on.. nothing.

This Article says many are HAPPY. When 4 of 5 comments are not. hahaha when you go to Duterte topic many are SAD

It's easy to click a reaction after reading or watching something than commenting and getting attacked for what you're saying. If you haven't noticed this isn't the friendliest online community.

The very reason that despite the billion machinery and cheating, Digong still won a VERY WIDE MARGIN, because Daang Matuwid was a mess.

Cheating? You have any proof of this? I'd like to see it.

ReplyShare+8

18 days ago Milette Carlos The local media was not kind to PNoy that is why many Filipinos did not appreciate his achievements. The local media is also doing the same with D30 now, the difference is PNoy continued to face the media, but D30 chose to ban them.

Unfortunately, the international press & orgs were the ones who saw PNoy's achievements, hindi lang talaga nailabas ang mag ito during the campaign season at nangibabaw ang mag negative & fake posts posts from satire pages (like adobo chronicles, personal blogs etc). Personally I had to do a lot of digging to find out about these achievements. ReplyShare+4

19 days ago Sj Manalo ANother kiss-a s s article for the Yellow Army ReplyShare-11

19 days ago Wilson Pergis NASAAN NA ANG BILYONG PISO NA YOLANDA FUND AT IBA PANG MGA DONATIONS ReplyShare2 replies-12

18 days ago Milette Carlos Ito po. Please read as this provided facts & graphics para po maintindihan. http://news.abs-cbn.com/halalan2016/focus/03/20/16/fact-check-93-of-dilg-projects-for-yolanda-completed ReplyShare+3

3 days ago Rose Lim hahahaha hanap ka ng hanap punta ka sa tacloban tanungin mo ung mayor at mga victims mismo ng d ka tanong ng tanong bakit ninakaw ba ni mar may ibedensya ka ba bakit walang mag demanda sa mga duts kung totoo at kung d talaga naibigay sa Yolanda victims ang pera na hinhanap mo ay bakit nanalo landslide c mar dikto sa region kung saan nasalanta ng Yolanda?? o kaya pumuna ka mismo kay mar at itanong mo yan ng diretsahan as a ceitzen concerned na nanakaw ang pera may karapatan kang mag tanong sa kanya..hahahaha..ANO PUNTA NA KAY MAR... ReplyShare0

20 days ago enrique lagunay Wow Rappler! Napakabango naman ata ni Pnoy! At kung anong bango nya ay sya ring bahi ni Duterte sa inyo! ReplyShare1 reply-15

18 days ago Milette Carlos The local media was not kind to PNoy during his term that is why many Filipinos did not appreciate his achievements. The local media is also doing the same with D30 now, the difference is PNoy continued to face the media, but D30 chose to ban them.


RAPPLER.COM

The Aquino promise
'My hope is that when I leave office, everyone can say that we have traveled far on the right path, and we are able to bequeath a better future to the next generation'

By GLENDA M. GLORIA
Published 12:00 PM, June 12, 2016

Things will change, he promised.


Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III (R) takes his oath as the Philippines' 15th president before Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales (L) at the Quirino grandstand, Manila, Philippines, on June 30, 2010. Dennis Sabangan/EPA/File

That he turns over his administration to another president who vowed the same is not lost on Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. He can look at this as a harsh indictment of his presidency. Or he can say it’s the best proof that change is, indeed, an endless wish for a nation of over 100 million people.

“My hope,” Aquino said in his inaugural address on June 30, 2010, “is that when I leave office, everyone can say that we have traveled far on the right path, and we are able to bequeath a better future to the next generation.”

The path was off to a good start.

Thrust to the 2010 presidential campaign by the massive outpouring of grief over the death of his mother, democracy icon former president Cory Aquino, the Aquino heir became a reluctant, awkward candidate who had the presidency in the bag long before election day. In many ways, his campaign mirrored that of Rodrigo Duterte’s – riding on people’s frustration with corruption and inefficiency, promising change in how things are done. Aquino was the anti-thesis to what the then outgoing Arroyo administration had stood for: excess in how power was wielded and abuse in how state resources were used.

In May 2010, more than 15 million Filipinos voted for him, representing 42% of the total votes cast in that race. This remains – to this day – the biggest win by any plurality president in the post-Marcos era.

Regaining lost reputation

“Kung walang kurapt, walang mahirap.” If no one is corrupt, no one will be poor.

It’s a big promise that Aquino tried for 6 years to fullfill, limited by his own definition of who was corrupt and constrained by the sheer magnitude of the problem of the country's poor.

He sacked or jailed some big guns, appointed fiercely independent-minded people to constitutional bodies, and set up a system that doled out cash to the poorest of the poor on condition they send their children to school and do their part in the community.

Aquino was the anti-thesis to what the then outgoing
Arroyo administration had stood for: excess in how power was wielded
and abuse in how state resources were used.

READ MORE...

Aquino promised to put the Philippines back in the game, and he did so in the first half of his term, projecting to the rest of the world a political and business environment that encouraged fair play. And the world responded, either through improved credit and business climate ratings, or more partnerships and investments.

He tried to walk the talk, too. The bachelor president navigated Metro Manila’s choked streets without “wang-wang (sirens),” traveled abroad light, disclosing every single penny he spent on official trips, and went out on dates in regular restaurants that the middle-class taxpayer could afford.

After initiating the first-of-its-kind impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice Renato Corona over his close ties to former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Aquino took the bold step of naming not only the first female chief justice in the Philippines but also one who would enjoy a long term of 18 years: Maria Lourdes Sereno.


Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno (R) talks with President Benigno Aquino III (L) after taking her oath as Supreme Court Chief Justice in a ceremony at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Philippines, 25 August 2012. Dennis M. Sabangan/EPA

In the Office of the Ombudsman, which runs after erring public officials, Aquino appointed the feisty, no-nonsense retired Supreme Court Justice Conchita Carpio Morales.

It is to his credit that in the end, on the issues and decisions that mattered, the two women did not see the need to pay him back, and Aquino did not expect them to. They have since decided against him, his policies, and his friends.

Punishing past crimes

If Aquino had his way, though, it would not have been enough to merely clean up government after Arroyo. He had preferred that those who raped its coffers be punished as well.

“To those who talk about reconciliation, if they mean that they would like us to simply forget about the wrongs that they have committed in the past, we have this to say: there can be no reconciliation without justice,” Aquino said in his inaugural address.

But the Supreme Court, then headed by Corona, quashed his plan to form a truth commission that would have looked after the bad contracts and other violations committed under the Arroyo administration. Aquino knew Filipinos have short memories, said one of his former Cabinet secretaries in explaining why he wanted the Arroyo administration probed at full length. He wanted people to have a deeper understanding of how poorly run government projects and policies were.

Without a truth commission, Aquino ended up being his own truth commission, never missing a chance to recite his litany of Arroyo’s sins, and blaming her for trains that would not move, power plants that would not work, and roads that could not be connected.

Ironically, it is the mediocre work of some of his men
that fueled yet another thirst for change, as he ends his 6-year term.

He would be told that perhaps he was already overdoing it. But he would remind his advisers that Filipinos needed history and context.

Which is probably why, even as he owed Juan Ponce Enrile his vote in the impeachment trial of Corona, and even as he publicly patronized the martial law architect at the launch of his controversial book in 2012, Aquino didn’t lift a finger when the Ombudsman threw the book at Enrile and jailed him, along with two other senators, for the pork barrel scam.

Peace in Mindanao, arming military

Yet, while he chose not to make peace with his enemies, Aquino mustered all state resources and his own political capital to make good on his promise to pave the way for lasting peace in Mindanao.

“My government will be sincere in dealing with all the peoples of Mindanao,” he promised. “We are committed to a peaceful and just settlement of conflict, inclusive of the interests of all – may they be Lumad, Bangsamoro, or Christian.”

On his second year in office, in August 2011, Aquino went to Tokyo to hold initial talks on neutral ground with the leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Murad “Al Haj” Ebrahim. That unprecedented meeting led to marathon talks that culminated in the signing of a peace agreement with the MILF 3 years later, on March 27, 2014.


President Benigno Aquino III delivering a speech during the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, March 27, 2014. Seated are Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. Malacanang file photo

It was an emotional moment for Murad and the other MILF guerrillas, who stepped foot in Malacañang for the first time in their lives.

While he promised peace, Aquino also committed to give more arms to the Philippines’ security forces. To strengthen the police and the armed forces is a vow he made from Day One. “It is not right that those who make sacrifices are treated pitifully,” he said.

Aquino is the first commander in chief, post-Marcos, to bring to life the dormant armed forces modernization law. He facilitated the release of funds to buy for the military new helicopters, planes, ships and battlefield gear. Aquino stood up to China, and in the process allowed the full blossoming of the renewed ties between the Philippine and American armed forces, paving the way for more Philippine access to US military training and equipment.

Helping poorest of the poor

Government spending would not be made at the expense of any sector, Aquino vowed.

He promised expanded health services, a targetted assistance to the poorest of the poor, the building of more classrooms, and a curriculum that will make students more competitive with the rest of the world. At the end of it, at least 7.7 million Filipinos breached the poverty threshold, a reproductive health law aimed at managing the population survived a fierce Catholic lobby, and Congress was able to pass the K to 12 law.

The government will strengthen tax collection, he promised, and achieved this through two concrete moves: appointing to the Bureau of Internal Revenue the nemesis of taxpayers and tax evaders alike, Kim Henares, and defying the cigarette lobby to pass the sin tax law.

To commuters and traders, Aquino vowed to address the lack of roads, bridges, and airports.

When it comes to this, Aquino declared, he won’t tolerate mediocre work.

Ironically, it is the mediocre work of some of his men that fueled yet another thirst for change, as he ends his 6-year term. – Rappler.com


President Benigno Aquino III (C) leads the first meeting of his official Cabinet at the Malacañan Palace in Manila, Philippines, June 30, 2010. Rolex Dela Pena/EPA/File

Design: KD Suarez | Photos: EPA, Malacañang Photo Bureau


RAPPLER.COM

The Aquino Legacy
Rappler looks back on the presidency of Benigno Simeon Aquino III – its successes, its failures, and its legacy

By RAPPLER.COM
Published 5:52 PM, June 15, 2016


President Benigno Aquino III attending the 118th Independence Day rites – his last as commander-in-chief – at the Rizal Monument in Manila, June 12, 2016. Photo by Gil Nartea, Malacañang Photo Bureau

At the stroke of noon on June 30, 2016, Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III will once again become a private citizen.

For the past 6 years, he was the Philippines' most powerful man, leader of more than 100 million Filipinos – the person responsible for determining the fate of an entire nation.

He was elected into office in 2010, riding on a wave of goodwill after the death of his mother, democracy icon Cory Aquino, and on the promise of leading the nation to prosperity treading a straight path.

With a focus on fighting corruption, the economy grew. Soon, the country became one of the best-performing economies anywhere. The archipelago at the Pacific's western edge, once a mere footnote in the global conversation, became one of the main talking points – a success story in a landscape dotted with struggling and failing economies.

But it has not been an easy ride all throughout. The journey along the much-vaunted "Daang Matuwid" had its share of bumps and potholes. Luneta. Yolanda. Mamasapano. Corruption, though scaled down, persisted. The West Philippine Sea. Poverty. Climate change. A rocky peace process. Even traffic, urban blight, and dysfunctional trains.

But the country – and Aquino – carried on. As the country's 15th president ends his term, Rappler looks back on his presidency – its successes, its failures, and more importantly, its legacy.

READ MORE....

This page will be updated as the stories in the series are published. (Updated as of June 26, 2016)

Aquino as leader
The President as captain of the nation

The Aquino promise | "Aquino was the anti-thesis to what the then outgoing Arroyo administration had stood for: excess in how power was wielded and abuse in how state resources were used." | Read >>

Traffic, urban woes, and the Aquino administration's image problem | "...the public outrage over the administration’s failure to ease these urban woes is not only an attack on the lack of solutions that produce quick, tangible results, but an attack on the perception that the government is not taking these problems seriously." | Read >>

Aquino: 80 bills rejected in 6 years | "While most of the vetoed measures were local bills seeking to change names of roads and to convert local to national roads, others were also crucial and controversial that his decision to reject them sparked public uproar." | Read >>

The President's men, 6 years after | Whom did President Benigno Aquino III listen to when he had to grapple with policy issues? How was he like to members of the Cabinet? Did he play favorites? How has he evolved in the past 6 years? | Read >>

Aquino: Crucible of leadership | "It was clear he felt he did the best he could – and that should be enough, but of course, it never is." | Read >>

Aquino and his social contract
Campaign promises kept, broken

What happened to FOI under Aquino? | "The passage of the Freedom of Information bill is like a missing puzzle piece in the Aquino administration’s fight against corruption." | Read >>

K to 12 and beyond: A look back at Aquino's 10-point education agenda | In 2010, President Benigno Aquino III proposed 10 ways to fix basic education in the country. Did he fulfill his campaign promise? | Read >>

Aquino and the economy
Steering an emerging economy through rough global seas

Beyond the numbers: How Aquino fueled the economy | "To better appreciate the economic impact of the Aquino's reforms and programs, one should view the last 6 years in the context of the past few decades." | Read >>

Snapshot of industries: Good, poor performers under Aquino | Rappler talked to economists to assess the businesses that thrived and those that performed poorly under the Aquino administration, based on their gross domestic product (GDP) contribution from 2011 to 2015. | Read >>

Aquino and his bosses
His relationship with the public

Aquino and the continuing plight of OFWs | What were the Aquino government’s major efforts to help overseas Filipino workers in the past 6 years? Were these enough payback for the sacrifices of OFWs? | Read >>

TIMELINE: Aquino's love-hate relationship with OFWs | The outgoing president has had a love-hate relationship with Filipinos abroad throughout his term. | Read >>

10 of Aquino's biggest hits and misses, as seen through social media | Aquino's term coincided with the rise of social media in the Philippines – how did his government fare under the social media spotlight? | Read >>

Are you still alive? The rhetoric of Benigno Aquino III | "The question of empathy has long been asked of outgoing President Aquino. It is a question that inevitably puts him on the defensive." | Read >>

Aquino up close
Behind the scenes

Aquino's firsts | "While [President-elect] Duterte has already made a mark for himself insofar as presidential firsts are concerned, Aquino has set records of his own." | Read >>

The many faces of President Aquino | Gil Nartea, the official photographer of President Benigno Aquino III, shares with Rappler photos that capture the leader and commander-in-chief in key moments throughout his 6-year term. | Read >>

The Noynoy Aquino administration soundtrack | "If outgoing president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III were to come up with a soundtrack summing up his 6-year term, it would be a mix of old and new songs, from the upbeat to the melancholy." | Read and listen >>

The bachelor president: Aquino and the women he met | "..his status as a single man also turned his love life into a hot topic and the subject of much speculation." | Read >>

8 times Kris Aquino made headlines during PNoy's term | "Whether people agreed with her or not, Kris' words and actions with regard to PNoy's presidency were always points of much discussion." | Read >>

The emotional journey of Benigno Aquino III | Throughout his interview with Rappler, President Benigno Aquino III is relaxed, confident, and in good spirits – the picture of a retiring public servant satisfied with a job well done. | Read >>

Aquino, in his own words
Stories from the Rappler interview with President Aquino on June 7, 2016

Rappler Talk: President Aquino's legacy and reflections on leadership | Less than a month before he steps down, Aquino spoke to Rappler's Maria Ressa on his legacy, his greatest challenges, and his hopes for the next leadership. | Watch >>

Aquino: 'I hope I showed best face of PH to the world' | "I think I've grown as a person. I hope I've presented the best face of the Philippines" | Read >>

Aquino: Duterte a ‘patriot,’ likely to keep PH stand on China row | "I think he’s a no-nonsense guy. Once he gets all the facts, then I think he will come to the same conclusion." | Read >>

Aquino to Roxas: No shame in being 2nd in presidential race | "From number 4 in the surveys to number 2 is nothing to be ashamed of." | Read >>

Aquino on Duterte's win: 'Very masterful way of campaigning' | "They really mounted that better campaigning – that was the right tone, right messaging, right time." | Read >>

My 'friendship stops when PH's interest is at stake' – Aquino | In one of his last interviews before he steps down on June 30, Aquino again defended Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya. | Read >>

Political comeback after Palace? Only when I'm needed – Aquino | "So at the end of the day, I’m sure if there is a need that has to be fulfilled, and I think I can fulfill it, I will still adopt what my parents said: that if there’s something that can be done and I chose not to do it, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself." | Read >>


Crossing the Pasig River on board the presidential yacht, on July 29, 2010. Photo by Gil Nartea, Malacanang Photo Bureau

About this series
Maria A. Ressa, Executive Editor/Rappler Talk interview
Glenda Gloria, Managing Editor
Mia Gonzalez, Series Editor
Katerina Francisco, Jee Geronimo, Raisa Serafica, Marga Deona, Camille Elemia, Mara Cepeda, Chris Schnabel, Nile Villa, Chrisee dela Paz, Don Kevin Hapal, Jee Geronimo, Patricia Evangelista, Arra Francia, Writers
LeAnne Jazul, Photo Editor
Lilibeth Frondoso, Rupert Ambil, Marga Deona, Charles Salazar, Adrian Portugal, Francis Lopez, Emerald Hidalgo, Rappler Talk team
KD Suarez, Rappler Creatives, Design & graphics
Malacañang Photo Bureau, Agence France-Presse, European Pressphoto Agency, Gil Nartea, Photos

[PHNO THANKS RAPPLER.COM FOR THIS PAGE]


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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