In the Ateneo High School where Benigno Aquino III, he was a virtual unknown, save for his surname. Noynoy was not an outstanding student, not in academics, not in extra-curricular activities. Yet, for some reasons beyond his control, when he graduated, he was the only graduate who received a rousing standing ovation, one that the audience didn’t even give to the class valedictorian.
It should be recalled that that week, Marcos denied Ninoy’s appeal to attend Noynoy’s graduation. The issue became headline controversy. Ironically, in the front row of Ateneo’s covered court was the man who enforced the dictator’s order, the then Defense Minister Enrile in the company of his wife Cristina. They were there for their own graduating son Jacky. It happened that when the couple noticed that all the people behind them were standing and applauding Noynoy up the stage, they too could only stand up for Benigno Aquino III. Talk of an irony, talk of standing in deference to the son of the father whose appeal you refused.
I happened to know of this unpublished slice of melodrama in young Noynoy’s life only because I was then a teacher at the Ateneo High School. Recalling that experience, I now believe that that episode must have begun Noynoy’s presidential destiny. One time, I saw Noynoy when he was already in college seated alone on a campus bench. I didn’t bother to stop because he would not have recognized me as I was not his teacher, any way. But when I passed him in jest I greeted him “Hi, Mr. President”. He only looked and smiled.
Aquino, now a Senator, showed neither interest nor craving for the Presidency, yet for the second time, for something he never wished for, he lost his iconic mother and this time the call of the people reverberated that he must run for the Presidency. The clamor was he must now continue his mother’s advocacies. He didn’t grab the opportunity. He wrestled and struggled with the idea for days, but when Mar Roxas self-sacrifice pre-empted his decision, destiny again prevailed. Noynoy finally accepted the challenge.
I am no fatalist, but the latest series of the surveys show that Noynoy’s predestination to the Presidency is shaping up. Was Noynoy born, not made, to become President? In a matter of days, this letter will have been proven ridiculous or prophetic. Who knows?
Pompeyo S. Pedroche
New Jersey, USA