2010 polls another people power – Noy

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star

BALI – His election in 2010 was another people power revolution, President Aquino said yesterday.

Addressing the 7th Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) here, Aquino said his election restored democracy and brought “genuine service” to the people, in contrast to the unpopular and corruption-tainted administration of his predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The first people power revolution or EDSA 1 in 1986 ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos and catapulted Aquino’s mother Corazon to the presidency.

The ouster of Joseph Estrada in 2001 amid public outrage over his acceptance of jueteng payola is generally acknowledged as people power II. He was replaced by Arroyo, his vice president and constitutional successor.

President Aquino said his leadership is inspired by the same principles that guided his mother when she led the 1986 EDSA people power revolution. He called EDSA 1 “the defining democratic movement of its time.”

“It was also that principle that enabled our people to carry on through the lost decade in our country: a time when, under my predecessor, democratic institutions were compromised and weakened by a culture of transactionalism and impunity, where the very select few rode roughshod over the will and aspirations of the vast majority,” Aquino told international delegates to the forum.

“It was that very belief in People Power that manifested once more in 2010, when Filipinos, after many years of neglect and misgovernance, campaigned with us and voted for an idea whose fruits we are already reaping today: ‘Where there is no corruption, there will be no poverty’,” he said.

He said his election brought back government “to its core,” as “provider of genuine service” and as “champion (of) what is right, fair and democratic towards the benefit of the majority.”

After taking over the position of Estrada in 2001, Arroyo ran and won in the elections in 2004. Allegations of massive election cheating by the Arroyo administration prompted Aquino’s mother to withdraw her support for Arroyo and call for her resignation.

Arroyo, who is accused of plunder, is currently detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City where she is being treated for degenerative bone disease affecting her spine. Her lawyers are seeking bail for her provisional release, citing weak evidence against her.

Aquino admitted that establishing a dictatorship is tempting for a leader facing hurdles in implementing his goals.

“It can be said: In a totalitarian regime, things get done faster, whether they are right or wrong, precisely because there are no checks and balances in place. Very often, the consent and support of the governed are neither sought nor attained,” he said.

“As leaders, all of us here have had our share of frustrations borne of the many factors that sometimes hinder the realization of our vision. This breeds the temptation to consider an authoritarian method, as this might promise immediate gains,” he said.

But he said history has shown that struggle for political survival would consume authoritarian regimes.

Aquino has openly declared his intention to clip the powers of the Supreme Court, claiming “judicial overreach,” following the latter’s having declared some of his controversial programs unconstitutional, including the Disbursement Acceleration Program and the Priority Development Assistance Fund.

Honors for P-Noy

Meanwhile, President Aquino was conferred here the “Bintang Republik Indonesia Adipurna,” the highest state medal of honor of Indonesia.

Aquino was given the award by outgoing Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on the sidelines of the 7th Bali Democracy Forum where the former presided over the discussions as co-chairman.

The Bintang Republik Indonesia Adipurna (Star of the Republic of Indonesia) award is conferred on persons who have rendered “extraordinary service of integrity, viability, and greatness of Indonesia.” Aquino is the first Filipino to be conferred the award.

“This award I receive today represents the rich, historical relations between our countries; on top of that, however, it is also a recognition of the boundless potential of our partnership, and of our continuing task of exploring areas of cooperation and increasing our synergies in every possible manner, all for the mutual benefit of our peoples,” Aquino said after receiving the award at the Bali International Convention Center.

“It is for these reasons that the Philippines remains committed to working towards strengthening and expanding our partnership with Indonesia,” he said.

He said the Philippines’ relations with Indonesia have become warmer through the years.

He recalled that in 1963, following the eruption of Mt. Gunung Agung in Bali, the Philippines sent seven C-47 aircraft carrying paramedics, medical supplies and relief goods to help in the relief operations.

“In our time of calamity, Indonesia in turn demonstrated true solidarity. Your generous assistance in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) earned the gratitude of the entire Filipino people,” Aquino said.

Aquino was expected to arrive in Manila at 9 p.m. last night on a chartered Philippine Airlines flight. – Paolo Romero

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