By Raïssa Robles
My hubby Alan warned me when I started my own website that people can be very vicious on the Internet.
It’s true. There are those who would otherwise bite their tongue to stop themselves from saying anything hurtful face-to-face; but they park all decency at the door before entering the World Wide Web.
I’m a believer of free speech.
But I also do believe that speech ought not to bludgeon the truth. And speech ought not to express discrimination of race, color or physical or mental handicaps.
One of the slurs thrown against President Benigno Aquino III during the poll campaign last year was that he was autistic.
Ergo, someone autistic is incapable of being president.
Someone autistic is an object to be laughed at.
Just as in childhood, bullies coin hurtful words to taunt their victims, Senator Noynoy then was called “Abnoy”.
And he continues to be called ‘Abnoy’ to this day even if what Butch del Castillo wrote has been proven wrong when PNoy delivered major speeches in China and New York recently.
In October 2009, Butch del Castillo wrote why he did not think Sen. Aquino should be president:
My reasons for rejecting outright Noynoy Aquino’s bid for the presidency of the land are neither whimsical nor personal. In the first place, he doesn’t think, act and speak like a leader, or one who would do Filipinos proud when he takes center stage before an international gathering of eagles. Sometimes, he looks and acts even silly. Besides, he has got nothing going for him by way of an academic or legislative track record that would suggest he may be ready to take on the nation’s toughest, most thankless job. His acceptance speech after his acclamation by the Liberal Party was a big disappointment. He was reading from a prepared statement, and he couldn’t even read it without stumbling. It became obvious to many then that here was a man who would be president but couldn’t think on his feet. That speech left many people wondering if Sen. Mar Roxas hadn’t made a colossal blunder by yielding the standard- bearer’s slot to Aquino.
For the sake of history and our understanding, I’d like to repost here how the word “Abnoy” came about. It was all triggered by Butch del Castillo’s column Omerta in Business Mirror entitled, “What, pray tell, is Autism?”
That particular piece has since been erased from the Internet’s vast databanks. But just so we don’t forget, I’m reposting what Butch said and what I wrote in reaction below:
Part 1 – Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is “autistic”?
Here’s the proof
By Raïssa Robles
November 16, 2009
The evidence that Sen. Noynoy is abnormal – and therefore should not be voted president – seemed all there.
And Business Mirror columnist Butch del Castillo recounted it in excruciating detail using unnamed sources who had seen Noynoy acting “autistic.”
As a 3-year-old, Noynoy was a hyperactive tot. His boundless energy made him run around here, there and everywhere in their residential compound. For his own safety, he had to be put on a a makeshift leash controlled by his yaya or nanny.
“Before he was put on a leash, he was running around the yard as usual when the family’s guard dog, a Doberman, somehow escaped from its kennel. It took a courageous Kris Aquino to save her helpless brother from being mangled, but she herself got bitten in the lower leg.
This must be true, I thought in horror. Except for one tiny detail . Let’s see, Noynoy was 3 when this incident happened. And how old was Kris?
Noynoy was born February 8, 1960 and Kris was born February 14, 1971. So when Kris saved Noynoy from the Doberman she was what —- a mote in God’s eye?
You get the picture. But that Doberman scene that Butch retold sure was realistic.
Butch del Castillo also wrote:
Another old acquaintance of the family confirms that, notwithstanding former senator Butz Aquino’s vehement protestations about his nephew’s condition, “it’s a fact that Noynoy had to be sent to a special school.” That was when Noynoy was 5 or 6 years old, the family acquaintance says. Trouble is he can’t recall the name of the particular school where Noynoy was supposed to have received specialized guidance.
Hmm. Special school, eh. Let’s look at Noynoy’s school record. Got it. In 1965 or at the age of 5 he did enter a special school. It’s still standing and because it has a strange name let me spell it out for you, Butch.
It’s called A-T-E-N-E-O D-E M-A-N-I-L-A U-N-I-V-E-R-S-I-T-Y.
I understand First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo and his son, Congressman Juan Miguel Arroyo, as well as the former President Joseph Estrada all had to be sent to the same special school you alluded to.
And President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo once taught there.
It must really be very special.
One other thing, Butch. You wrote:
In the circles that I circulate in, I was taken aback by the little anecdotes about Noynoy, all of which only seem to add credence and depth to suspicions of his actual condition. For example, there is this councilor from Makati who claims to have known Noynoy since he was a boy. This councilor swears he used to see this “quiet” boy whenever politicians and supporters of the late Cory would pay her a call at her residence on Times Street, Philam Village, Quezon City.
“He would just sit in a corner, mouth open but never saying a thing, and drooling,” the Makati councilor loudly tells everyone he meets. For all we know he is just making this up, considering that he belongs to a rival political party. But still, it would be very hard to cook up such things.
Wow, Noynoy was just scrunched up in a corner, stupidly quiet, and drooling.
But two paragraphs later, you described a very different kid:
As a 3-year-old, Noynoy was a hyperactive tot. His boundless energy made him run around here, there and everywhere in their residential compound. For his own safety, he had to be put on a makeshift leash controlled by his yaya or nanny.
You sure you’re talking about the same kid? Not yourself maybe or your own kid? [Full disclosure: I knew your wife Julie when she and I were working in Business Day newspaper. I don’t know if I ever meet you. I heard then you were spinning in behalf of then dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ very best spinmeister – Gregorio Cendana.]
P.S. I’d love to read your next spin on Noynoy. It’s highly entertaining.