This October 8, 2010, President Noynoy Aquino will have been officially 100 days in office. There are those who consider this date an appropriate time to assess his record in office and project the conduct for the rest of his term. I consider this as a premature and artificial boundary, at least for the Aquino administration.
For one, he came into his presidency admittedly unprepared, given the fact of his decision to run for presidency just 13 months ago. Other presidential candidates and past presidents (except maybe his mother, President Cory Aquino) came into their presidencies basically prepared with programs, policies and key people already in mind.
President Noynoy became president because of the clamor by the people for an honest, pro-people government they can trust. Competence is seen as necessary but not of immediate importance.
After all, competence comes with experience, both past and current. Competence coupled with integrity is harder to come by. The Noynoy presidency has a stiffer learning curve as a result.
The Aquino administration also faces the political landmines and continuous attacks from the past Arroyo administration people who fear they may be prosecuted. In addition, the Aquino-led alliance during the campaign becomes unwieldy by the day and needs to have a new modus vivendi.
One hundred days are too short for judgment on the Noynoy Aquino presidency or his administration. It can only be an indicator of the actual direction his governance is going and how it will shape up eventually.
To this end, one can see the focus given to the twin thrusts of his administration–anti-poverty and anti-corruption campaigns. the anti-poverty thrust can be seen in the submitted 2011 national budget, with emphasis for those agencies dealing with poverty, the activation of NAPC and the ongoing formulation of a comprehensive anti-poverty program. The anti-corruption thrust can be seen in the appointments to the Supreme Court, the Department of Justice, and finance-related agencies, the establishment of the Truth Commission, and the clean-up drives by the BIR and Bureau of Customs.
So far, these are in the right direction. However, these are not yet producing results and are only in the nature of foundational or initiatory moves. These cannot yet be used to measure the success or failure of the anti-corruption or anti-poverty thrusts, much more the success or failure of the Aquino government.
It should also be noted that it is taking an uncomfortably long time to fill up the more or less 4,00o senior jobs in government. This means that a lot of the agencies are still under hold-over officials of the past administration and may be a factor in delivery of services or in maintenance of daily operations.
The hundred-days of the Aquino government is not enough to make a judgment. I myself would want to give it a year for its programs to make an impact before a more solid judgment can be made. In the meantime, it is incumbent for Noynoy’s political base and constituency to give him breathing space. Of course, detractors are exempted.