2Noynoy became unstoppable and Mar Roxas steppedaside to make way for his reluctant Senatorial colleague.Mar became the Vice Presidential candidate on the Lib-eral Party ticket.
President Aquino at his inauguration
The May 2010 elections focused on the issue of corrup-tion. Campaigns centred on projecting the candidates asthe anti-thesis of GMA. Aquino duly won the electionswith unprecedented support, with the government’scandidate ending fourth and barely reaching doublefigures. Aquino ended with 42%, followed by formerPresident Estrada (26%), Senator Manny Villar of thePartido Nacionalista (15%) and only then GilbertoTeodoro of Lakas Kampi CMD (11%). Mar Roxas, althoughleading for much of the time in opinion polls, lost the Vice-Presidential election on a knife’s edge: Makati Citymayor and Estrada running-mate Jejomar Binay 42%,Mar Roxas 40%, Manny Villar’s running mate SenatorLoren Legarda 12%.Noynoy Aquino’s inauguration was a massive affair withover 100,000 people present, a sign of the enormousexpectations that the people have of his Presidency. Hisinaugural speech did not disappoint. He stressed “Nomore influence-peddling, no more patronage politics, nomore stealing. No more sirens, no more shortcuts, nomore bribes. It is time for us to work together oncemore”. In fact, the leadership by example of Aquino isalready paying off as traffic enforcers are now noticingfewer cases of road abuse “wangwang" (sirens and blink-ers).And:
“Although I was born to famous parents, I know and feel the problems of ordinary citizens. We all know what it is like to have a government that plays deaf and dumb. We know what it is like to be denied justice, to be ignored by those in whom we placed our trust and tasked to become our advocates.”
Mr. Aquino acknowledged the need to make the Philip-pines "attractive to investors," pledged to cut red tape,combat corruption and create a level playing field forcompanies.The inauguration was attended by a number of foreignguests, among them Timor President Ramos Horta,Spain was represented on ministerial level, and alsoattending were Liberal International President Hans vanBaalen MEP, FNF Regional Director Rainer Adam and alarge group of Asian Liberals representing the Councilof Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD).A good speech, however, does not yet make a goodPresidency, and Aquino’s first appointments and policydecisions were awaited eagerly.Soon after the inauguration the administration an-nounced an executive order fleshing out the constitu-tional guarantee on the people’s right to information.This is a 180-degree change from the secretive, furtiveatmosphere that surrounded Mrs. Arroyo, who used"executive privilege" - a gag on officials of the execu-tive branch - to mask corrupt practices.The national deficit, expected to reach record levels thisyear, is a major problem. For the first five months alone,the country's budget shortfall has already reachedP162.1 billion ($3.49 billion), exceeding the govern-ment's target. It is looking at a full-year deficit of P325billion ($7 billion) or 3.9 percent of the Philippines'gross domestic product. Aquino promised not to raisenew taxes but instead run after tax evaders. FinanceSecretary Cesar Purisima and Budget Secretary Floren-cio ‘Butch’ Abad (a former LP chairman who has alsobeen active in CALD) announced that a crackdown ontax cheats and the cleansing of revenue-collectionagencies would help plug the deficit. Purisima sentnotice to wealthy professionals (lawyers, doctors, con-sultants) who make up only 10 percent of all personalincome taxes collected. That is going to make some of his middle class supporters uncomfortable. But as thePresident himself stressed, he expected his own peopleto provide the right example. Charges against suspectedtax evaders and smugglers have already been filed.The new president has assembled a generally seasonedcabinet comprised in large part of old faces from hismother’s administration, former Arroyo associates whoresigned when the electoral scandal came to light in2005 (such as Cesar Purisima and Dinky Soliman), aswell as Liberal Party allies. Alberto Romulo returns asForeign Affairs Secretary. Former Human Rights Com-missioner Leila de Lima is the new Justice Secretary.Mar Roxas is likely to be appointed to a prominentcabinet position, and Senatorial candidate (and CALDsecretary general) Neric Acosta to get the high profileposition of Environment Secretary. LP member ProcesoAlcala is the Secretary of Agriculture. The capable NagaCity Mayor Jesse Robredo has been appointed head of