Manuel “Mar” Roxas II bowed to the inevitable and, as a gentleman and a statesman, passed on to Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III the quest for presidency in the 2010 elections. In this, he had precedence in late Senator Doy Laurel’s passing the torch to Cory Aquino in the fight against Marcos in the 1986 snap elections.
Thus, history is made. Whatever the results of the 2010 presidential elections, Mar Roxas’ decision has paved the way for a classic drawing of the line in the sand of Philippine politics. The battle is now between a new democratic reform politics represented by Noynoy Aquino against the old traditional politics of patronage.
Noynoy’s entry into the presidential contest will inevitably force the other presidentiables to reassess their own positions and react accordingly. However, they will be treading on unfamiliar grounds–the usual criteria will not and does not work here.
Noynoy’s candidacy is a product of people power manifested in the wake and funeral of his mother. It is a legacy born in the bosom of a grateful people and given by them to the political heir of Cory Aquino.
The heavy burden of living up to the people power legacy is especially acute as the crisis of the post-Marcos democracy reaches a critical point during the current Arroyo administration. The return of the Marcosian politics as well as the Marcos cronies themselves has woken the dragon in people’s hearts.
With Senator Mar Roxas’ decision, a political tour de force is in the making. The next few days will complete it.