Tuesday, August 4, 2009
The President who was not a politician
You heard me right. She was our first woman President but she was never a politician. The late former President Corazon Aquino was the only Philippine President I know whose name wasn't tainted with playing politics. She was always known to play fair. Like a mother to the country, she was firm but loving.
People from all walks of life who knew her and/or worked with her - former political aides, household helpers, church goers, government workers, religious and business leaders, friends, family - all shared their memories of the late President in a very emotional necrological service yesterday at the Manila Cathedral.
I never thought that I could be moved into tears while listening to each eulogy. Her security aide/driver said Cory treated him like he's part of the family. She even cooked for him when the household helpers weren't home. Philippine Inquirer Columnist Conrado de Quiros, who was once a staunch critic of Cory, gave his testimony of Cory's kindness despite his past negative writeups about her. Mrs. Gina de Venecia said Cory was there when the de Venecias lost their youngest daughter to a fire that gutted down their house. Cory was also there when her husband, Joe de Venecia lost his bid to presidency. When all their friends abandoned them, there was Cory.
Dra. Sansan Hortaleza said Cory was there to pray with her when she was hospitalized for a heart ailment. Until now, she said, she prays the rosary everyday due to Cory's influence. Cory's physician said when he diagnosed the late President of colon cancer, he asked "Why Lord?" but Cory took it more peacefully and said she has lived a full life. She even managed to write a poem thanking God for being beside her when she was in pain. Congressman Teddy Locsin Jr., who was once Cory's scriptwriter, said he didn't notice that Cory has reformed him, erased his anger and extinguished his need to get even for the injustices given him in the past.
All those who gave their eulogy yesterday had one unspoken common message: that Cory was an angel sent to them. She was always there when the rest of their friends have turned their backs on them. She was their light during their darkest moments. Having known injustice and sorrow many times over, Cory perhaps didn't want her friends and family to experience the same as she did when Ninoy was taken from her and her family during Martial Law.
Kris, Cory's youngest daughter, earlier in an interview with Jessica Sojo talked about her final moments with her mom. She said even in her death bed, her mom was concerned about her household helpers and that she wanted her son Noynoy to absorb them when she dies. She also told Kris to give the car to the driver.
What gave me goosebumps was when Kris said she saw her highly spiritual mom so radiant in her hospital bed even if the room was dark, with only one reading lamp lit. Kris said it could have been what they call "embraced by the light." It got me thinking, would I be embraced by the light too when it's my time? Would I die a happy death too, just like Cory did? Would I be worthy for heaven?
Spirituality, faith in God, love for others and for country, purity of soul, morality in governance. These are just few of the moral examples imparted by the late Tita Cory to us Filipinos.
Not even the drastic weather changes and the long queue discouraged the ordinary people in the streets to pay last respects to the late President in the Manila Cathedral yesterday. Most of them hadn't eaten for hours but they patiently waited in line. Some of them even came from far provinces. And despite the huge traffic yesterday, commuters and drivers didn't complain. Random interviews showed that ordinary Filipinos were one in mourning Cory's passing. Political foes met with each other in the Manila Cathedral to pay their last respects. Even the Marcoses and the Estradas, whose families Cory ousted from power through People Power 1 and 2, went to pay their last respects for Cory.
It's true what they say: Pres. Cory has a way of uniting people for the good of the country...even in her death.