10/23/2013
I was almost in the same room as Noynoy

Noynoy Aquino attended an industry event last Monday, an event that I almost went to.

We didn't send anyone, though, because it came in short notice - the organizers waited two months for the president to confirm his attendance - and, considering where the event was held, the prices were high. Also, the big boss was around.

If I went though, I swear it would've made a good blog entry. For all the vitriol that seems to come out of this blog whenever the topic is the president, I was kinda looking forward to being in the same room as him. How would I react? What side comments would I make to my colleagues? Would I clap? What if I find myself a meter away from him? Would I ask him one question? Will I be able to spin his possible answer into another 2,000-word blog entry explaining why he's wrong?

"Actually," one of the organizers relayed - this was during a separate meeting the week before - "mas strict ang staff niya ngayon. Bawal na ang photo-op."

Obviously avoiding another Napoles.

"Also, humihingi na sila ng profile ng lahat ng attendees."

Obviously avoiding me.

Well, yeah, my first thought was "he really is trying to avoid another Napoles" in the sense that they'll not let anyone potentially controversial in, but frankly, that seems like standard operating procedure. If the president's going to talk to a particular audience, he should know what that audience is into, so his speech would be relevant. As if that matters, since whenever he takes the podium all he seems to talk about is how rosy things are for the country and how it's all because of him.

And, well, he sort of did. I'm reading his speech right now and I feel meh about it, because all those blog entries have rendered me exhausted, and in the long run you tend to not listen because, well, what else is new?

But what if I was there myself? What if I was in the same room as the guy I have rattled on for the past three years? Would I feel any different?

Over a year ago I was in Subic. Another industry event - the same organizers, actually - and the keynote speaker was Mar Roxas, then the DOTC secretary. (Jesse Robredo would die three weeks later.) Now, he spoke in the aftermath of his political benefactor's State of the Nation Address. He himself admitted that all he'll do is repeat (and, occasionally, elaborate on) what was said there. And yet, for some reason, listening to this guy talk about how much money we saved because he rethought the bidding process for airport projects, I was... convinced. Somewhat.

I mean, I should be cynical. I'm listening to who is, essentially, the president's right hand man. (Being a "troubleshooter", that is an odd job title.) I should be cynical about what he says, because this is how the world works. To get close, you have to toe the party line. And when that line is something you're not sure about, you reflect that in your thinking. Of course, now, Mar is obviously posturing himself for 2016 by being everywhere, and I don't like it, but yes, at one point, I was, I don't know, impressed.

I was supposed to write about this last year, actually. The main thought would go, "Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas said the same things in two different speeches. I have heard both, but Mar is way better at articulating himself, so could Noynoy's problem be that he's just a terrible public speaker?" I don't know why that never got written. I'm pretty sure that thought was swallowed up by an angrier blog entry.

Or maybe I was in a good mood. I mean, I was out of town, after all.

But no, maybe it all doesn't matter. I would see Noynoy Aquino speak and I'd think about how it's all bullshit because, well, it's the president talking. I've seen him talk many times before, on television and on radio and on the newspapers, and they never really add up, so why trust him now?

And your responses...

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