MANILA, Philippines – A week after assuming office as the country's most powerful official, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is earning praise for being transparent -- and criticism for his lack of time management.
At the onset, it seemed like the new president was the darling of the media.
President Aquino was charming and gallant as he gamely answered questions in his first press conference at Malacañang. (Read: Talkative President delights, infuriates press)
Former Assistant Press Secretary Carmen “Ching” Suva said the President scored points in facing the Malacañang Press Corps. Suva has been with the Office of the Press Secretary since the time of President Diosdado Macapagal.
The former head of the Palace’s Media Relations Office said Aquino's openness will endear him to the media members.
“‘Yung iba kasing Presidente, sa umpisa lang nakikisalamuha sa media, tapos pag busy na, puro spokesman at press secretary na lang ang pinapapunta. Sana ituloy lang niya,” Suva said.
Critics, however, have slammed Aquino’s tardiness in several important events.
Aquino was 30 minutes late for the turnover rites of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) leadership last July 2. (Read: Aquino late for turnover rites after refusing to use sirens)
Five days later, he again showed up late for a Mass attended by top government officials. (Read: Aquino arrives late for Mass; blames brownout)
In both occasions, Aquino stuck to his position not to use blaring sirens to avoid traffic. He later said it was not fair to accuse him of always being tardy, pointing out that he had been early in other appointments.
Dean Andy Bautista of the Far Eastern University College of Law said it is still too early to judge the President.
“Alam naman natin na napaka-hectic talaga ng schedule ng Presidente, saka nasa adjustment period pa lahat, kaya masyado pang maaga para sukatin siya,” stated Bautista.
He added that what is more important is that Aquino is setting a good example for government officials and employees by not using sirens or “wang-wangs” when he travels.
Jorge Carino, ABS-CBN News