‘Impossible Dream’ makes President Aquino pensive at De Lima’s party
For much of the nearly three hours he spent at the victory party of Liberal Party Sen. Leila de Lima on Thursday night, President Benigno Aquino III was in high spirits, even gamely singing two songs on condition that no one would take a video and post it on social media.
But when singing sensation Gerphil Flores took the stage and sang “The Impossible Dream,” President Aquino’s demeanor changed noticeably.
In almost an instant, his smile faded and was replaced by a faraway look.
“The Impossible Dream (The Quest),” which became the most popular song from the 1965 Broadway musical Man of La Mancha, was the favorite song of the President’s father, the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, who led the opposition in fighting the 14-year authoritarian rule of former President Ferdinand Marcos.
Along with “Tie A Yellow Ribbon,” “The Impossible Dream” became the opposition’s rallying song against the iron grip of martial law that Marcos declared in 1972.
But the song might as well describe the state of Mr. Aquino’s political vision gone awry with the recent defeat of the Liberal Party’s standard-bearer, Mar Roxas, in the May 9 elections.
The President had described the 2016 presidential election as a referendum on his six-year term that revolved around a “daang matuwid” anticorruption platform meant to end poverty.
Despite economic reforms that led to the Philippines’ 6.9-percent growth in gross domestic product during the first three months of this year and Mr. Aquino’s warning that a win by tough-talking Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte could mean a slide back to authoritarian rule, the mayor won by an overwhelming majority to become the country’s 16th President.
But though Roxas landed only second in the presidential count, the LP vice presidential contender, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, appeared headed for a win, with a margin of more than 200,000 votes over her closest rival, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Seven LP senators
Seven administration candidates, including De Lima, also made it to the Top 12 senatorial slots. They are Senators Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, Ralph Recto and Panfilo Lacson, former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority head Joel Villanueva, and PhilHealth executive Risa Hontiveros.
Robredo was among the handful of government officials who attended De Lima’s party at the Quezon Memorial Circle’s QCX Museum. Most of the guests were supporters, friends and family members of the former justice secretary.
At De Lima’s party, President Aquino snapped out of his pensive mood when Flores, one of his favorite singers, hit an octave to end the song. Mr. Aquino turned to De Lima with a smile that seemed to say, “Wow, how does she do that?”, as he applauded along with everyone else.
Called to give his message to his former justice secretary, the President assured her of his support and said: “We will survive many challenges with you providing the moral booster. A lot of the dreams of our people are with you, and our prayers are also with you as you embark on this new phase in your career.
“To all of us who believe in you, who (believe that) you have a calling, and that you can always be depended upon, we will make sure that we will always be behind you, if necessary, beside you, or again if we have to be, in front of you. We will always be there for you,” Mr. Aquino told De Lima.
In an interview with Inquirer editors and reporters on May 6, President Aquino had sounded philosophical when it came to his detractors.
“One thing I learned transitioning from martial law to my mom becoming President (after the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution that ousted the Marcoses), was that the easiest thing to do is to criticize.
“But when you want to determine who is serious and who really wants to do something, that person (not only criticizes but) also tells you the alternative. The person who cannot give you the alternative is really just mouthing off and in effect, is the false prophet,” the President said.
“I really hope that God does not have in mind for us a new set of lessons since we have forgotten the lessons that led us to martial law… I hope we’re not going to have a Round 2,” he said. TVJ
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