United States-based Time Magazine released today their annual list of the 100 most influential persons in the world, and included this year is Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. Other world leaders recognized this year includes United States President Barack Obama, Argentinian-born Pope Francis, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. See the complete list here.
In his write-up, Time news director Howard Chua-Eoan said Aquino “quickly began making his own name” after winning the presidency in 2010 mainly by relying on his parents’ legacy. The author described the late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. as the “Philippines’ most famous political martyr” and former President Corazon Aquino as the country’s “most beloved President” (so much superlatives, eh?).
“The sputtering economy stabilized and became hot,” the writer added. Chua-Eoan credited Aquino’s courage in pushing through the contentious reproductive health law even if the Philippines is a “fervently Catholic nation.” The magazine also noted that Aquino “became the face of the regional confrontation with Beijing over its claim to virtually all of the South China Sea,” a stance with still unknown consequences. For his courage, the writer says that Aquino should have the nickname “Ballsy.”
Given the extremely positive tone of this brief piece, it won’t be surprising if some Aquino allies (or probably he himself) will trumpet this as a seal of approval for the three-year old administration. Nevertheless, things must be put in perspective. First, being included in the Time 100 isn’t really an honor. How can that be when even the way the magazine uses the term “influence” is subject to debate? Read this article from Wikipedia for more on this.
It is also worth noting that Time Magazine has consistently glorified the late President, starting in 1986 when they named her “Woman of the Year.” In 2006, they named her as one of Asia’s sixty heroes, together with Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Indian hero Mahatma Gandhi.
Shortly after she died in 2009, they published a lengthy tribute hailing her as “The Saint of Democracy.” And in 2011, they listed Aquino as one of the 25 most important women of the century, alongside famed French scientist Marie Curie, civil rights icon Rosa Parks, and then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Side note: Each year on the same issue where Time Magazine reveals its person of the year, they also publish a list of “people who mattered” (aka a list of runner-ups). Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was included in that list back in 2005, the year the “Hello Garci” scandal broke out. For whatever reason, Time Magazine now omits her name from their website. GulfNews.com and the Philippine Star both reported on it. (PS – I have a copy of that! LOL)