The congressional canvassing for the presidential and vice-presidential positions has just ended. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III won by 5.7 million votes over his nearest opponent. This landslide victory is around 41.7% of the valid votes cast for the 2010 presidential election.
With Noynoy Aquino’s formal proclamation just hours away, the transition from the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo presidency is already starting. The transition may be peaceful–with a few glaring political landmines left behind. However, the nature and substance of the transition may go beyond the formal hand-over of power.
What we have is a clear people’s mandate–bordering on the level of People Power I in 1986–for basic reforms and for strengthening of the post-Marcos democracy. The people have given themselves a second chance; the Aquino government should be seen as nothing but an instrument.
The Aquino government is seen as a stark contrast to the traditional elitist politics hitherto brought to perfection by the Arroyo administration. The focus on eradicating pervasive corruption necessarily will require people’s participation in democratic governance, development of a responsible genuine political party system, rule of law, and cleansing of the entire government bureaucracy. Above all, it will require enormous political will founded on a strong and active support from the reform constituency that brought Aquino to power.
Yet, aside from the traps and challenges that the Arroyo administration has laid for him, Aquino will have to contend with the need to compromise with sectors of the traditional politicians and political dynasties in order to ensure the implementation of his reform agenda–and in the worst-case scenario, his own political survival. After all–even with his landslide victory, he does not enjoy an absolute-majority mandate.
The path to his success lies in broadening support for the reforms. Not only from the traditional politicians in congress and in localities but, more importantly, from the big majority of the electorate who did not vote for him.
His work and those of his reform allies are cut out for them. The elections have been won, but not yet the platform. Good luck and here’s my best wishes for his success!