President giving speech  at Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

President giving speech at Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts, Sept 23 (Mabuhay) – President Benigno Aquino still would not say who he trusts to be his successor come 2016.

At a Harvard University forum, he sidestepped a student’s question as to who is a possible “successor in upholding honesty in national government.”

“I really believe we have a lot of material in the country. But if I were to mention them now, then I’m sure you can… You can imagine the repercussion back home as a frenzy,” Mr. Aquino said, drawing laughter from the crowd.

He reiterated that now was not the time to talk about the 2016 presidential elections.

Mr. Aquino said that he still has about a year and nine months to go in office and “we shouldn’t allow the distraction of the election to interfere with our obligations to our people.”

He said there was a typhoon that affected the Filipinos when he left Manila his working visits to Europe and the United States almost two weeks ago, and another typhoon lashed at Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces while he was still out.

Added to that, Mayon Volcano is starting to be restive, he said.

“So I think those have to be attended rather than jockeying of position in 2016,” Mr. Aquino said.

The President delivered a policy speech at the JFK School of Government Forum where he recalled the country’s struggles during Martial Law, his father’s fight against the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and how ultimately, the Philippines is reaping the gains of democracy through good governance adhered to by his administration.

The President’s father, the late Sen. Benigno Aquino, Jr., was a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government.

“As a young man, I was taught that not opposing an oppressive structure was tantamount to perpetuating it. If you recognize a problem, and choose not to do anything about it, then you become complicit, and in fact, even exacerbate it. This reminds me of something that President Kennedy once said: ‘Other people see things and say why? But I dream things that never were and I say, why not?’” the President said.

Again, Mr. Aquino took a swipe at his predecessor, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, saying that she had failed to learn from the lessons of Martial Law.

“Starting in 2001, however, my predecessor, instead of learning the lessons of Martial Law, seemingly adopted Mr. Marcos’ handbook of how to abuse the democratic process,” he said.

“At the end of her regime, our people were so apathetic to all the scandals and issues affecting her, and government’s inability to effect change, that the overwhelming ambition of so many was to leave the country.

Now, an estimated 10 million of our countrymen reside abroad,” Mr. Aquino said.

The President said the country is now enjoying the gains of good governance.

“We got here by refusing to give up; and by always asking, why settle for, or endure, the status quo when we can change it?” Mr. Aquino said. (MNS)