‘4 witches’ of Aquino counting the days to 2016

08/15/2010 - AMID CRITICISMS branding them as “witches,” the four sisters of President Aquino have started a countdown to the day when their only brother finishes his six-year term, Viel A. Dee said Saturday.

“We have started our countdown ... now it’s 70 months to go,” Viel, one of the Aquino sisters, told the Inquirer at the unveiling of the Precious Moments porcelain bisque figurine of her late mother, former President Corazon Aquino, at Greenbelt 3 in Makati City.

Viel said they had already started “our countdown to 2016” as a way of reminding themselves that the criticisms would end when their only brother, who is a bachelor, steps down on June 30, 2016.

“We thought this is just six years, so how many days? How many weeks? But counting days and weeks seems too long. So we decided to count the months ... 70 months to go. Sounds better,” Viel said.

President Aquino is known to consult his sisters before making a decision or before signing a political appointment. The President’s “dependence” on his sisters—“the four witches of Noynoy,” as one critic has described them—was allegedly the main reason there were still many vacancies in government agencies.

Too fussy?

According to critics, the sisters were “too fussy” in going over the names and qualifications of the applicants, such that only those “whom they knew personally” would get appointed.

Viel said it’s her elder sister, Ballsy Cruz, who seems to have taken a big role in the Aquino administration. “Sabi nga nila, si (They say) Ballsy has become Tita Cory,” she said.

In a day, Ballsy can shuttle from representing the President in a meeting in Makati to hosting VIP guests in a function in Malacañang. But Ballsy is no stranger to such activites, as she was also the private secretary of the first Aquino presidency from 1986 to 1992.

At that time, Viel said they also had their “countdown to 1992.”

Behind the scenes

But there’s a difference between the two presidencies, she noted.

“Then, we could afford to just stay behind the scenes. We were not seen. Now, we really have to help any way we can,” she said.

According to Viel, she only comes into the picture when neither her sisters Ballsy, Pinky Abellada or Kris Aquino-Yap could make it, such as the unveiling of the porcelain bisque figurine of their mother designed by American artist Samuel John Butcher.

Who will fill Cory’s shoes?

The special edition figurine was planned for release on Aug. 1, in commemoration of the first death anniversary of the former President. But since none of the Aquino siblings could make it that day, the occasion was moved to Aug. 13.

Butcher, an American artist from Missouri who popularized the Precious Moments inspirational greeting cards, posters and figurines, met Aquino in the ’80s. Impressed with her simplicity, Butcher became an ardent contributor to the Aquino administration’s “Bigay Puso” charity program.

The Cory figurine shows a young girl looking at a shoe with the name Cory. Inscribed at the base are the words: “Who’s gonna fill your shoes?” (Inquirer)

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