At exactly 4 o'clock in the afternoon, Congress approving the joint canvassing committee report fifteen minutes before, proclaimed Benigno Simeon Aquino III as the duly elected President of the Republic of the Philippines and Jejomar Binay as Vice President.
I cannot help but cry as I see Noynoy's hands being raised by Senate president Juan Ponce-Enrile and Speaker Prospero Nograles. At last, nine years under the tyrannical and graft-ridden administration under Noynoy's professor, Mrs. Arroyo, has officially ended. Change did not happen through the force of arms but through democratic means.
The proclamation, however, had its ironies.
If you ask victims of the Marcos' regime, it would have been totally unimaginable seeing Juan Ponce-Enrile, the jailer of Ninoy Aquino and staunch opponent of Cory Aquino, raising the hands of Noynoy. Likewise, totally ironic seeing Prospero Nograles, main man of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo and staunch Arroyo apologist, also grasping the hand of this administration's main critic. Two men who played pivotal roles in two of the country's most tyrannical and dictatorial regimes now beside the man whom many hope will truly lead the country towards meaningful changes.
It was also very symbolic also seeing Enrile congratulating Jejomar Binay, one of the victims of the Marcos regime and one of the few Ilocano lawyers who stood bravely against their fellow Ilokano, Ferdinand Marcos.
Both were also "surprise candidates" and considered "dark horses" in the last elections. A year ago, no one thought that Noynoy Aquino would actually run and win as president. Many people thought it was probably either Roxas or Villar who would win. Aquino ran with a shoe-string budget compared with the billions which Villar was ready to spend.
Binay's case is a phenomenal sideshow in the politics of this country. When the campaign started, Binay was trailing behind Mar Roxas and even Loren Legarda. At the final stretch, Binay managed to squeak a win over Roxas by about 720,000 votes.
This signifies the peaceful transition of power--from those who suffered during the time of the dictatorship--to the new leaders of a new order. I see many faces in Congress, those who inherited their positions from their parents. And I know that in the next Congress, many are new in this game of politics and these people have the chance to really institute changes in this country.