"Some people will curse, will shout to high heavens… [the smile] is an effort to control [my emotions and actions]." Former President Benigno Aquino says in reply to people's rage after he was seen smiling during press conferences that followed certain crisis events that occurred during his term.
In 2010, A hostage crisis occurred in Manila where a former policeman hijacked a tourist bus. This led to a fatal shoot-out.
He was seen smiling during the press conference. However, he justified the smile saying "it was the absurdity" of what happened that made him smile briefly.
Two of the survivors of the incident perceive his excuse as "ridiculous." Lee Ying-Chuen, one of the two, said that his smile displayed his "lack of empathy" not just for the incident but for over the past 5 years of his term.
"As a public figure, he should have expected how others would perceive the smile ...It only shows that he has no empathy." she said. "Even after that and after all the criticism, he still smiled when he mentioned or was asked about the incident." she recalled.
"The survivors and their families have considered this matter resolved and are on their way to a new start. So I would not comment on this out of respect for their wishes." James To Kun-sun- Democratic Party Legislator said after assisting survivors who wishes to stay silent and move forward.
"Maybe [smiling is] my own coping mechanism, rather than strangling the neck of the person who could have avoided that tragedy if they had just followed the instructions." Aquino once said.