Max Weber defined charismatic authority as “Resting on devotion to the exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary character of an individual person, and of the normative patterns or order revealed or ordained by him.” Charisma is a quality of an individual’s personality that is considered extraordinary, and followers may consider this quality to be endowed with superhuman or exceptional qualities. The sole basis of charismatic authority is the recognition or acceptance of the claims of the leader by the followers.
In the Philippines, our history has painted a picture of leaders who have been both charming and charismatic. One of these people that I know is President Benigno Aquino III. Everyone knows that he is a man with a storied pedigree. His father, Benigno Ninoy Aquino Jr., was a person of influence and was widely considered by most Filipinos as the champion of democracy. Her mother, Corazon Aquino, became the figurehead of the popular EDSA People Power Revolution that overthrew Marcos’ regime. Clearly, this was an advantage because of the multitude of supporters that his well-loved parents have accumulated.
In the midst of the people’s hatred and disgust with Arroyo’s reign which was characterized by abuse of power, deception and corruption scandals, there stood Aquino – an eloquent speaker, a brilliant man full of charisma. His famous slogan, the “Tuwid na Daan” attracted swarm of Filipinos, who are desperate for change and transformation and who want to see the Philippines free from the chains of corruption.
“Tuwid na landas. Sugpuin ang katiwalian sa gobyerno.”
“Walang wang-wang. Walang counter-flow. Walang tong”
“Kayo ang boss ko.”
Evidently, Aquino articulated his vision of transforming the country using metaphors and strong words so that everyone can understand his vision. He provided a clear picture of a desirable future in which Filipinos were able to see how they fit into a transformed country, believing it will be better than before. Many Filipinos believed in Aquino’s capacity to bring the country out of poverty and stagnation. Aquino also inspired excitement and stimulated commitment of the people. Since followers can see themselves in his vision, they readily supported him which led to his election into the office in 2010.
He is arguably, a charismatic man who came from a powerful family; he was blessed with extraordinary personality. He appears to be loveable, willful, diligent and spiritually atoned. His charismatic leadership continues to build trust among the Filipinos today.
It’s been 4 years already since he was elected in office.
Is President Aquino governing in the real sense? Or is he just spinning?
“Tuwid na daan” nga ba talaga? O “Tuwid na daan… na walang tiyak na patutunguhan?”