Photo by Mike Alquinto & Voltaire Domingo, NPPA Images
Today began a new chapter in the Philippines were a new president from one of the old controlling families will have the opportunity to change history. Either good or bad the country now rests in his hands.
Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. once told his only son Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to serve and lead the country in the best of his capacity.
In his letter to Noynoy dated August 25, 1973, almost a year after Martial Law was imposed, Ninoy lamented his incarceration and asked his son to continue his advocacies.
“The only advice I can give you: Live with honour and follow your conscience. There is no greater nation on earth than our Motherland. No greater people than our own. Serve them with all your heart, with all your might and with all your strength,” the older Aquino said.
“Son, the ball is now in your hands,” added Ninoy.
Thirty-six years later, Ninoy’s only son now taking on the oath as the 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines.
Although Ninoy and his wife, the late president Corazon Aquino (who died of cancer August 2009), did not live to see this day, the younger Aquino took his oath before his four sisters, Ballsy, Pinky, Viel, and Kris, and before millions of Filipinos who believed his promise to eradicate corruption.
‘So help me God’
As we watched on today it was surprising that although a public holiday to see the event things seemed to be going on as normal. Most stores were open and nobody asked “what do you think of the new president?” its as if its just been accepted “what happens, happens”. As if its now no longer in the control of those who voted but left to those running the country. I actually heard more from people when Obama was elected in the U.S. than I have heard with the Philippines on elections. Actions will prove if the people were right on their choices and I hope they are this time.
Amid cheers, Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales administered Aquino’s oath of office at the highly yellow Quirino grandstand, minutes short of the 12:00 time as mandated by the Constitution.
A 21-cannon salute was fired on completion of Aquino’s oath while two helicopers showered the crowd with yellow rose petals.
Earlier, Vice President Jejomar Binay also took the oath administered by Morales.
In a brief but symbolic move, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo formally relinquished her post to President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.
The two arrived at the Quirino grandstand at exactly 10:35 am and exchanged handshakes in front of the crowd.
Earlier, Aquino and Arroyo shared the presidential car, a tradition in inaugurals.
At the Quirino grandstand, Arroyo then made her final pass in review. She was seen smiling at the yellow crowd.
Arroyo then left using her personal car.