Emotional Aquino not sick, just sentimental
MANILA, Philippines – It’s not about his health or a coup d’état threat. President Benigno Aquino III was emotional during his fifth State of the Nation Address (Sona) because of his desire to live up to his “parents’ noble legacy,” Malacañang said Tuesday.
“Evidently, the President was speaking from the depths of his personal commitment to live up to his parents’ noble legacy,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said.
“The President is all right. He was not ‘saying his farewell,’ Coloma added when asked if Aquino was sick.
He said Aquino was in Bahay Pangarap, his official residence, on Tuesday reviewing his budget message to Congress for the filing of the general appropriation bill on Wednesday.
Coloma confirmed that the part where the President choked or began to tear up was spontaneous.
“The closing part of his speech was delivered extemporaneously (without referring to prepared text previously uploaded on the teleprompter),” he said.
Coloma explained that the President’s objective for the Sona was to let the people understand the issues faced by the country and to encourage them to “close ranks and act in unison to achieve their shared goals for a better future.”
Aquino’s demeanor during the Sona changed when he started talking about his parents, former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. and former President Corazon Aquino who were both key personalities during the martial law era.
“If I had turned my back on the opportunity (of leading the country), then I might as well have turned my back on my father and mother, and all the sacrifices they made for all of us; that will not happen,” the President said.
His sisters also became emotional when he said, “As long as we continue serving as each other’s strength—we will continue proving that ‘the Filipino is worth dying for,’ ‘the Filipino is worth living for,’ and if I might add: ‘The Filipino is worth fighting for.’”
Aquino’s voice broke when he recalled how he almost died during an ambush in 1987.
“Everything after that I consider my second life,” he said.
“Acknowledging that his emergence from that 1987 event with a new lease on life was providential; this is the context for understanding his rare public display of emotions,” Coloma said.
“It is clear, therefore, that all other speculations (health issues, coup rumors, reaction to impeachment complaints, and prospect of resignation) are tangential and miss the essential point,” he added.
The Secretary dismissed criticisms that an emotional leader was weak. Quoting from a study, he said emotional intelligence “includes the abilities to accurately perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.”
Coloma said their initial monitoring of online sentiment showed that more netizens saw the Sona in a good light compared to those who posted negative comments.
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