MANILA, Philippines – August has long been considered an unfavorable month for the Chinese, but it seems that the month has not been kind to President Benigno Aquino III, his family, his partymates and his administration as well.
Early this month, Aquino and his government scrambled to help residents affected by the widespread floods caused by torrential rains in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, with the week-long incident serving as a great challenge to his administration.
Days later, the Judicial and Bar Council announced its shortlist of nominees for the position of Chief Justice, which did not include Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who is believed to be Aquino’s top pick for the post.
Over the weekend, Aquino’s Liberal Party suffered a huge loss with the sudden death of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.
It also happened that the deaths of Aquino’s parents, Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. and President Corazon Aquino, happened in August. His father was assassinated at the tarmac of the Manila International Airport on August 21, 1983, while his mother succumbed to colon cancer on August 1, 2009.
Aquino himself nearly faced death in the month of August. He was shot five times after rebel soldiers attacked Malacañang on August 28, 1987, when his mother was president. One bullet is still embedded in his neck to this day.
In August 23, 2010, months after winning the presidential elections, Aquino had to deal with a bloody hostage-taking incident in Rizal Park, which left eight Hong Kong tourists dead. The event has chilled reactions between the Hong Kong and Philippine governments.
In August 21, 1971, a bombing at Plaza Miranda in Quiapo left several Liberal Party members injured -- Aquino's party.
August is considered unlucky among the Chinese because it falls on the seventh month of the lunar calendar.
It is commonly referred to by the Chinese as the “ghost month,” as they believe this is the time when ghosts and spirits come out from the lower realm.
The “ghost month” is said to climax every August 14, when the Chinese celebrate the Festival of Hungry Ghosts. Here, they are not allowed to swim and wander alone at night, as they may figure in an accident.