GMA News reporters spoke up about the myths and misconceptions that have surrounded the late former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III over the years.
n an interview on The Howie Severino Podcast, Sanda Aguinaldo, Lei Alviz, and Tina Panganiban-Perez, who have all covered Aquino at some point in their careers as journalists, shared what they wish to straighten out for history’s sake.
Sandra addressed the old joke that all Aquino did was play computer games in Malacañang.
“The suggestion seemed to be that he wasn’t hardworking. But in fairness to him, from what we witnessed in Malacañang, he was hardworking and diligent,” she said in Filipino.
“And based on what his staff told us, he was a bit of a nerd. He loved data. Someone told me that he demands data from NEDA and PSA…he really needed the numbers before he decided on a policy. He was thorough,” she added.
Sandra said that Aquino wasn’t a micromanager, which might have been where that joke stemmed from.
“He let his Cabinet secretaries have their own style and freedom and elbow room. Maybe that’s why — because he wasn’t hands-on — people didn’t feel his presence or see that he’s hardworking,” she said.
Sandra said that while some might say that he was a reluctant president, he put on the effort the moment he decided on that path.
“He also wanted to leave a good name, good reputation. Maybe it was also because his parents were Ninoy and Cory. I think that was a big pressure for him, to leave a good name,” she said.
Tina meanwhile said that Aquino wasn’t “detached” or “lacking in empathy” like some people thought.
“He really showed concern to people who were close to him. When there was a problem, he was always there to help them,” she said.
“That’s what my friends told me — they needed help, they didn’t ask him, he volunteered,” she added.
Lei also wanted to debunk the belief that Aquino was a “cold person.”
“Maybe there were times that he didn’t show emotions. I think he was just that kind of person,” she said.
“He wasn’t a cold person. The way he acted around his friends and even ordinary people is testament to that,” she added.
Like Sandra, Lei denied the accusation that Aquino wasn’t that hard-working.
“We can see what his administration was able to achieve. Perhaps he wasn’t like the others, who are always present, always seen outside with the media. I guess that simply wasn’t his leadership style,” she said.
Aquino, the 15th President of the Philippines, passed away on June 24 at the age of 61 due to renal disease secondary to diabetes.
He was laid to rest on June 26 at Manila Memorial Park beside his parents, former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino and Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. —JCB, GMA News