Philippines mark day of political firsts


MANILA (PNA) – Here’s one for Ripley. For the first time in Philippine politics, the Filipino people elected a bachelor president in the person of Benigno “noynoy” C. Aquino III who was sworn in today as the country’s 15th president.

Noynoy, as he is fondly called, is the only son of assassinated opposition senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr., and the late former President Corazon C. Aquino, overwhelmingly won over his nine other rivals in the hotly contested May 10 elections.

Shortly after he was sworn in, the newly installed President went straight to Malacanang Palace where he presided over his first Cabinet meeting.

Before becoming president, P-Noy was a senator and three-termer congressman from Tarlac.

Also for the first time in country’s history, a former president while still in office, ran and won in the May 10 election earning her a seat in Congress representing one of the districts in the province of Pampanga.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ended her nine-year presidency just before noon today, handing the mantle of power to her successor and stepping into her new role in Congress. During the simple ceremony at the Quirino Grandstand, tens of thousands of Filipinos from all walks of life chanted, “Noynoy, Noynoy!”

In another historic first, Filipino boxing icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, the world’s reigning boxing king, has become the first Filipino pugilist anywhere in the world ever to be elected as congressman. Pacquiao will represent the province of Sarrangani in southern Philippines.

Pacquiao took his oath before Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio last Monday. This was the second attempt for Pacquiao to run for office. In his first try in 2007, he lost.

To prepare himself for the tough job as a congressman, Pacquiao took a crash course on governance, together with other neophyte members of Congress.

After taking his oath, Pacquiao vowed to work harder as a politician than he did in the squared circle where he knocked out most of his opponents.

"I will be more effective in politics than in boxing," the champ said.

Among his promises during the campaign were building more infrastructure, providing more medical services, especially to marginalized groups, and improving security for his province during the next three years.

Pacquiao said he sees no problem being a congressman and as a boxer at the same time.

The Filipino ring idol is expected to meet the loudmouth American Floyd Mayweather in November for what could be the biggest fight in boxing history.

Forbes Magazine said that Pacquiao earned US $40 million last year, making him the world's sixth-highest paid athlete.

Will the “Pacman” fulfill his election promises in the next three years? That is the 64-dollar question that the millionaire Pacquiao can only answer with time.

In another twist of fate, the once powerful Marcos family, who ruled the country for 20 long years, is slowly making a comeback in the game of politics. Bongbong Marcos, the only son of the late strongman former president Ferdinand E. Marcos, was elected senator of the republic in the May 10 election.

Not only that, former first lady Imelda R. Marcos was also elected as member of the House of Representatives from a district in Ilocos Norte, the home province of her late husband. And Imee Marcos is the new governor of Ilocos Norte.

The Marcos regime was booted out from power following a four-day military-backed civilian revolution dubbed as the “EDSA People Power” in February 1986.

But this is Philippine politics in action – in and out, and in again!

Asia, PoliticsBen Cal