By Raissa Robles
A highly unflattering picture of PNoy, released by the presidential palace, has reaped over 200 mostly negative comments on the social networking site Facebook.
I was drawn to look closely at it, not only because of the awkward tilt of President Benigno Aquino’s head, but also because of the posted comments, criticizing the large crystal ashtray and box of cigarettes on his nearly empty desk, and the shabby chic wallpaper on which the presidential seal was displayed.
The general observation made by the commentators were that the office lacked presidential dignity. The ash tray and cigarettes on PNoy’s desk showed he was violating the new No Smoking Law. And his nearly empty desk was proof of a do-nothing presidency.
See for yourself below:
My Facebook friend Buddy Cunanan said:
I just came from Malacanang today. I went incognito on a tour of the Palace and saw the officer where Quezon, Quirino, Marcos etc worked and made historic decisions…the offices looked and felt presidential. There was a sense of destiny and power and fate in those rooms. At the risk of sounding overly-negative, what the hell is with this guy’s office?? It’s pathetic. It conveys none of the grandeur and greatness of the offices of yesteryear. How sad.
My Facebook friend Luwi Cheng, who had posted the photograph, replied:
Buddy, i already commented on this tacky interiors almost a year ago. I thought it is just a temporary office but it looks like the president is comfortable about the looks of his office. pordyosporsanto, the wallpaper is a remnant of the era when his mother occupied that building! and don’t tell me this is part of his austerity program. i am sure there is a budget for his office maintenance and improvement but why oh why he he taken into liking that tacky wallpaper that is not even fit for a powder room in today’s contemporary interiors!
To which Buddy answered back:
OMG. This is such a lousy photo. Is it just my imagination or does this President really have no decent photographs?? How/Why did they allow this photo to be released?
But before I go any further, let me explain why I’m writing about what others might call trivial pursuits when there are more serious things to write about like – what is the President doing about reducing poverty and extra-judicial killings.
To me, what is happening is a chipping away of the President’s image. In the long run this could reduce his credibility and the people’s trust in him to perform his duties and functions and deliver on his promises. Statistically, this is often measured through popularity and trust surveys – where his numbers have been dipping.
Luwi Cheng correctly pointed out that PNoy’s photo contradicted the government drive against smoking:
I cannot understand why MMDA the chairman of which was appointed by him, will wage a vigorous campaign to stop smoking when the poster boy for smokers is aquino himself! Here we can see the blatant dichotomy of this administration that professes to stop smoking in public and yet, the president himself is one big smoker himself as attested by the picture. Now, is that not stupidity in the higest order?
Two other commentators questioned PNoy’s work ethic, based on the emptiness of his desk.
Patricia Ilagan said that in the Australian hospital where she worked as an administration officer,
even my desk and the desks of executives i’ve been into were/are never sooo uncluttered! i thought they said he has piles of paper on his desk to go through daily? liars!
Based on the photo, Sylvia Cenon Sana concluded that PNoy was lazy:
siya ang sinuntok ni Inday Sara Duterte at ng magtrabaho. By the looks of it he is not a working President. What i can see he is just pretending sitting down and doing some work but actually after photo taken just got up straight to his playroom complete with toys.
And so I checked the authenticity of the photo.
Photo is authentic
Yes, it’s genuine. Manolo Quezon, the Undersecretary for the President’s Strategic Planning Office, confirmed to me today that the room in which PNoy was photographed was indeed his official study – last year.
Aside from asking Quezon if that was indeed PNoy’s official study, I also asked him – “Why is the wallpaper flowered? Was this his mother’s old study? Where is it in Malacañang? Why are there no mounds of paper on the desk to show he’s hard at work?
The historian in Quezon replied:
That’s the one with ricky (Carandang)? And es (Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa)?
That was taken many months ago.
The room is the aquino room in bonifacio hall (guest house) where fm (Marcos) was staying when ninoy (Aquino) was killed; where cory held office; which was renovated as eraps (Estrada’s) bedroom; where (Renato) de villa, (Alberto) romulo, etc held office during gma (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo); and where the president holds office.
The wallpaper dates to the estrada administration.
I can’t recall the actual event when that photo was taken but might be around october or even earlier last year.
More checking revealed that the photo above was in the same batch that an official photographer must have taken that day of Carandang, Ochoa and PNoy. Newsbreak had the same photo above, and this one below:
I asked Quezon to explain where Bonifacio Hall was, and whether that was the building opposite the main palace. He explained:
bonifacio hall was formerly known as the premier guesthouse, originally the servants quarters. In 1975 the marcoses gave lots in cogeo to the palace staff and turned it into the guest house where they stayed during the periodic renovations of the palace: most especially 78-79 when they demolished and rebuilt the palace, in 81 when air purification equipment was installed and in 83 when fm was ill. Cory held office there, estrada renovated it adding the twin canopies patterned after the canopy in kalayaan hall; and ermita and all of gmas executive secretaries held office there. Gma by proclamation renamed the building bonifacio hall in 2003.
But Quezon told me that PNoy was no longer holding office in that room because the entire building was now being checked for structural soundness.
Does an empty desk denote laziness?
I noticed that Quezon did not reply to my last question – Why are there no mounds of paper on the desk to show he’s hard at work?
And so I looked for the answer.
Interestingly, here’s what I found: United States President Barack Obama has the same nearly empty desk that PNoy had, minus the ash tray and pack of cigarettes. See below:
While pictures can speak louder than words, pictures have to be compared to other pictures for a more accurate interpretation.
The comparison of Obama and PNoy’s desk tend to show that the bareness of a desk is not a gauge of lack of hard work or industry.
Also, PNoy’s photo was taken last year when no smoking ban was in place.
But I agree with you, Luwi. THAT office looked tacky, especially for a male head of state.
As for PNoy looking awkward, yes he did, but that doesn’t still make him an “abnoy” (abnormal) as some of his critics continue to call him to this day. PNoy is not the most photogenic president, unlike Ex-President Arroyo.
Still, there are some photos where even Mrs Arroyo looks strange like this one:
But ugliness or handsomeness ought not to be the basis for judging a person’s character. Remember, the devil Lucifer was the handsomest guardian angel in the heavens, according to St. Thomas’ Summa Theologica.
I’m sure you and I have photos we have torn and thrown because we look ugly in them. Look, PNoy’s cousin Gilbeto Teodoro has a similar awkward tilt of the head in this photo. Doesn’t it make Gibo look somewhat gay?
But he’s not, right?
di ba ang original na opisina ng presidente ay ang executive room,? bakit hindi to ginagamit ni noynoy? ang executive room ng malacanang ang parang oval office ng white house.
That photo is an official release?
Whatever the picture shows or reveal is one matter. The unacceptable photo quality is another. Just compare it with Obama’s professionally taken photo.
isaac milla says
hhahahahahaah ono gashhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Nice strategy in defending the yellow family.. I am very much impressed on how much effort you are putting on your articles to defend Pnoy.
Should have left the Holy Communion picture of PGMA alone.
Carolle C. Agbulos says
No one is above the law? Oh, come on………
Hi there! I just love u raissa! so far this is the most sensible blog ive read! way to go!
Josie Layosa says
Hala!..naniwala ka nman! (raissa)
Joan-Mary Arboly says
Being orderly is a sign of efficiency. Well maybe the wallpaper looks tacky but I guess people are forgetting the fact that this president is not into glamor or vanity. His priority are the Filipino people. You people chill out.
Weeeee hindi nga?!
Hindi kaya prirotiy nya HACIENDA LUISITA?
Josie Layosa says
Exactly, hindi nila kayang bitawan ang Hacienda Luisita!!!
Huwag kayong magpapaniwala sa pinapakitang sipag nyan…Wla nga yang nagawa bilang senador noon eh…he is just a puppet pres….
Kudos to your very interesting blog where everyone enjoys reading ‘though how pre’occupied he or she maybe.
Keep on writing for the good of every Filipino.
I will Cel.
Do keep dropping by :)
If the president wants to smoke leave him be, we are a free country and as long as he doesn’t smoke in front of others (who are non-smokers) he has the right to do so.
The real gauge of a good and hardworking president is not measured by the stacks of folders and clutters in his desk but by his accomplishments, incorruptibility and honesty unlike the jailed ex-president who was well known to be a “workaholic” because she works very hard to cheat us in elections and works harder more to plunder us!
what was his accomplishment(s)? if there are any? i mean SIGNIFICANT accomplishments.. or even minor accomplishments.. winning the presidential election was significant i guess. well his anti wang-wang wasn’t so successful wasn’t it? or if did – did it improve anything?
heil hitler says
How do you define Good?Hardworking? You must be a die hard yellow horde member to comment like this, bakit may nagawa ba si Abnoy ?Mahiya ka sa sarili mo, batugan ka tulad ng idol mo, mag yosi ka na lang at mag psp bagay
at sinong president ang kinakampihan mo? si Arroyo? ang pinakamasipag na president? sa pagnanakaw?
Josie Layosa says
Wala kaming kinakampihan, each pres must work hard.
Who knows na yang inaakala nyong hindi magnanakaw na pres….ay stealing under the table pla..hindi nga sya mismo pero somebady doing it for him….Sige, kurakot na si GMA pero shes doing something for the people before eh yan stealing na no output pa…
“…People who are not guilty of any sin, let him cast the first stone.” I strongly agree , the ash tray and the pack of cigarette really painted a bad picture of the president but certainly NOT the table. Ramos didn’t have this kind of criticism with his perpetual cigar which gives someone more loads of nicotine – if smoked. I came across a site where all netizens are calling the president names plus the curses because of this photo. I regret calling GMA a “midget thief” here and on other social network because it even made me bitter particularly about her misuse of our (OFWs) legitimate money, the OWWA money. And the more I get bitter, the more she wins – because in anger, the devil wins. This is the reason why Jesus Christ himself told his disciples something like: “In your anger, do not sin”. I tried to google some reasons why people resort to name-calling and here’s the best opinion I have so far gathered:
“In my experience, most people who resort to name calling have a very limited ability to express themselves. When they feel threatened by an answer they don’t agree with, they fall back on the only thing they understand, which is to lash out.” Remarkably, even educated and accomplished people are not spared from this uncivilized manner. Well, the Golden Rule is the best antidote for most of mankind’s behavioral sickness – I have been rebuked. ;-).Life is a circle after all – and GMA can surely attest to its truthfulness. But I would rather have a smoking president with a clean table and lousy photograph with unquestionable mandate than a president so neat in hair and dress but with unimaginable questions on integrity. I saw on ABS-CBN TFC the other day that Susan Roces & her daughter will try to pursue a case which eventually would lead to Fernando Poe Jr. be declared as the legitimate president. Ouch! Actually, I am not waiting for the result of the government’s “trivial pursuit” to put GMA behind bars. It is enough for me that FPJ be declared as the legitimate president ;-). Then that finally seals another landmark in our history. BTW, here’s the link to more photos of the US president tables – different generations. PNoy name-callers, indulge!
robert Antonio says
I agree we have to stop calling others “names”!!!
prince david says
I’m just wondering if its true that pNoy is addicted to videogames and has psp with him wherever he go?
I heard he plays psp with Joshua sometimes.
I don’t think, it’s bad when you play video games. I do play sometimes in my leisure time.
whoaaahh….ganyan pala ang office ni Pnoy!!!kulob na kulob….he needs fresh air. kasi if mag yosi siya jan…d makalabas ang usok!!!
Only one thing i could say. the picture is okay, i mean, normal, unaware, candid but the interior needs some work.