Here's what Pres. Aquino said about smiling at the SAF 44 wake

Exclusive - by Raïssa Robles

Posted at Apr 21 2015 01:08 PM | Updated as of Apr 21 2015 09:08 PM

When my request to interview President Aquino was unexpectedly granted last week, Malacañang Palace asked me, again, for a list of interview questions. I had submitted a list months ago, but apparently they wanted a new copy.

I debated with myself whether I should take the opportunity to include something that had puzzled me for a long time.

It had to do with his facial expression during dramatic, tense moments. It seemed in many of these moments he was smiling – some said smirking.

I decided to submit it anyway.

Mindful he might walk out or terminate the interview abruptly, I waited until the latter part of the interview that lasted over two hours before I asked the question.

You could hear a pin drop in that vast room as his face visibly changed when he replied. Here’s what he said and it’s now on the front page of South China Morning Post online:

During the editing of my piece, my editor asked me to verify a photo he found online of Aquino, taken after he was shot in 1987.
He was also smiling.

Here is an excerpt of the top story on SCMP’s website today –
Philippine president Aquino explains why his smile shouldn’t make people angry


Philippine president Aquino explains why his smile shouldn’t make people angry

Raïssa Robles in Manila
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 April, 2015, 8:42am

Philippine President Benigno Aquino has explained why people sometimes misunderstand his awkward smile – including in the wake of the 2010 Manila hostage tragedy in which eight Hongkongers died.

“I have various smiles for various purposes,” he told the South China Morning Post in an exclusive interview, as he recounted the outrage his enigmatic expressions have caused.

“Usually I have a particular smile when I am so fed up.”

Aquino is well known for smiling during moments when it would seem inappropriate. Earlier this year, he set off a storm of controversy in the Philippines when he appeared to smile at the wake for 44 commandos who were killed in a disastrous anti-terror operation in country’s Muslim majority south.

But it was an earlier smiling incident that is perhaps better known to Hongkongers.

In the aftermath of the 2010 Manila hostage crisis – in which disgruntled former Philippine policeman Rolando Mendoza hijacked a bus of tourists, leading to the deaths of eight Hongkongers – Aquino attracted furious criticism after appearing to smile at a press conference.

The backlash from Hong Kong was savage. The raw emotion surrounding the bungled rescue attempt was already intense and many interpreted Aquino’s reaction as betraying a lack of sensitivity. The Hong Kong government issued a black travel alert, warning people to avoid all travel to the Philippines.

Asked about his habit of smiling at seemingly inappropriate occasions, Aquino’s amiable expression changed to one of slight exasperation.

He explained that the people who know him well can interpret his various smiles. For instance, he said, one of his smiles is a signal for those around him to “stop it, you’ve crossed the line”.


To read the rest, please click on this link.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.