June 28, 2010

Noynoy Aquino won the presidency by a landslide with over 15 million votes. But millions more did not vote for him, including nearly 10 million who voted for the disgraced former president Joseph Estrada, who presumably captured a big part of his usual constituency among the poor.

Can Noynoy be president of the entire country, and not just to those who voted for him? And will he also be president of the poor despite his privileged and wealthy background, and the Aquinos’ traditional base among the middle class?

To get a sense of the mood of the poor towards Aquino, Howie Severino and his I-Witness team focus on two communities where Aquino was not expected to win, Navotas City and Hacienda Luisita.

Many of the Erap supporters who provided warm bodies for EDSA Tres and stormed Malacanang came from Navotas, while farmers on Hacienda Luisita have long been fighting for the distribution of land owned by the Cojuangco side of Aquino’s clan.

What they found and the people they met in these communities surprised Howie and his team, a harbinger of a truly fresh start for the nation.

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