MANILA - Beware of "ampaw" (without substance) presidential candidates.
This is the advice of President Aquino to students, saying the public should pick a President who has demonstrated competence, who is true and trustworthy and who has shown he is a person for others.
Aquino listed these qualities when he was asked by a student of Hope Christian High School in Manila about the qualities of the next president that future voters should look for.
The President said voters should beware of "ampaw" candidates, or people who look and sound good when they deliver speeches, but have no substance. Ampaw is a Filipino bread that is not filling or satisfying.
"Syempre, number one, you have to--well, not in the precise order, ano--pero 'yung competence has to be demonstrated. 'Yun bang, alam niyo ba kung ano 'yung ampaw na pagkain? 'Yung pagkain ha, hindi 'yung kulay pulang envelope. So, 'di ba, 'yung ampaw malasa pero sa loob hangin. Baka, 'di ba, 'yung... Paano ko ba ide-describe na hindi nakakainsulto?"
"Pag napapakinggan mo...May punto ba 'yung sinasabi niya? Mukha bang totoo 'yung lumalabas sa kanyang bibig or maganda lang pakinggan? 'Pag 'yung nanood ka ng talumpati nito o ng isang kampanya niya, meron ba siyang pinag-usapan na may saysay, o sumayaw na lang, o kumanta na lang, or 'di ba nagpa-cute na lang? 'Yung sa sinasabi ba niya at saka mga nagawa na niya tugma?
He added: "Tapos 'yung third value, talagang ito bang taong ito na-demonstrate 'yung pagiging para sa iba as opposed to para sa sarili? Klaro ba na 'yung gawain niya tungo sa kapakanan ng iba o kapakanan ng sarili? Tapos balik tayo dito, ano, kung manonood lang tayo ng commercial niya noong panahon ng kampanya kulang ang ginawa natin. So all of that, sa akin, idadagdag ko pa 'yung faith dimension. Basta siguro kakabahan ako 'pag sumama kayo sa akin gagawin ko ito, gagawin ko 'yan, gagawin ko 'yon--para bang masyadong bilib sa sarili, binobola na ako 'non, ano. Kailangan may humility rin, ano. "
Aquino's pronouncement came amid the beginning of jockeying for the 2016 presidential elections.
Aquino has yet to name his preferred candidate though his 2010 running-mate and now Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas is expected to be the administration bet for the 2016 elections.
Roxas, who has yet to declare his plans, is expected to face in a virtual rematch with Vice-President Jejomar Binay who has already declared his intent to run for President. Binay defeated Roxas in 2010 though Roxas has a pending electoral protest.
Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano also declared his ambition to be President, possibly through the 2016 elections as well.
NO TO CHA-CHA
Malacañang, meantime, dismissed claims of Senator Bong Revilla that the Palace and the House of Representatives are secretly working on Charter change to allow the administration to extend its grip on power beyond the end of the president's term.
"Wala pong batayan ang paratang na 'yan," said Secretary Sonny Coloma of the Presidential Communication Operations Office.
Coloma also shrugged off Senator Serge Osmena's observations that Aquino may not have much endorsement power in 2016.
"We respect the views of Senator Osmeña. The President is fully accountable to the people. He is determined to fulfill the promises that he made when he ran for president. The administration is focused on implementing the reform programs and attaining the objectives of the Philippine Development Plan. We have no other priority. We have no other agenda," he said.
As this developed, Aquino is now looking to his legacy in office.
He said between now and the time he steps down, he hopes to complete more infrastructure projects, like two connector roads for the North and South Luzon Expressways, extensions of these highways to La Union and Quezon, possibly a new nautical highway that will cut travel time from three days to just 15 hours as well as airports.