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Arroyo took away the “gloria” of EDSA

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This one came straight from the horse’s mouth.

In the Inquirer.net newstory below, GMA herself admits that the spirit of the original EDSA revolution is gone. But no, she should not lay the blame on anyone else. Not on the ordinary Filipino on the street. Not on the elite. And not on her political rivals.

Her rogue administration is the reason. I thought she’s smart enough to know that. Well, yeah. She is. That’s why she made another clever remark about “glorious revolutions” and all that colorful jazz…

It’s all the same to me even if one is an anti-Erap or not… Arroyo took away the gloria of EDSA. Plain and simple arithmetic.

Arroyo: Glory of EDSA I gone
Says People Power now partisan

Claiming that the “Glorious Revolution” had deteriorated into partisanship over the years, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Thursday made her final appearance as the nation’s leader at ceremonies commemorating the 1986 People Power Revolution.

Ms Arroyo led officials in raising the flag at the People Power Monument on EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue) in Quezon City, which kicked off the day’s activities to mark the 24th anniversary of the uprising that ousted the dictator Ferdinand Marcos and installed Corazón “Cory” Aquino as the President.

“The Philippines has come a long way since 1986. We regained our freedom and our national pride, but somewhere along the way we became complacent. People Power gained a partisan meaning that started to divide the nation once more,” Ms Arroyo said in her speech.

Thursday was Ms Arroyo’s last appearance at the EDSA I anniversary because her term ends on June 30.

It better be her last appearance because she has a penchant for lying. Remember the time when she promised a few years back that she won’t run again for the presidency?

Farewell, Tita Cory…

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President Corazón “Cory” Aquino — the icon of democracy, Asia’s first woman president, champion of modern Filipino freedom — has finally been reunited with her spouse, fellow freedom fighter Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, together with the Lord God in heaven…

My kids watching Tita Cory's funeral on live TV (with a magazine about her, published right after the 1986 People Power Revolution)

My kids watching Tita Cory's funeral on live TV (with a magazine about her, published in 1986)

As of this writing, her remains are still being carried off in a mammoth parade from the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros towards her final resting place in Manila Memorial Park, Parañaque City. She is to be buried beside her husband’s simple grave.

It was raining profusely since last night (it seems the skies were crying, too), but countless Filipinos kept vigil outside the Manila Cathedral during the final morning mass for her (with a touching sermon by Tita Cory’s spiritual adviser Fr. Catalino Arévalo, S.J.). But as soon as her coffin was taken outside the historic church, the torrent miraculously stopped — having lived a life of prayer and faith, don’t even think it’s just coincidence.

It’s unfortunate that I work the night shift (and I still have a lot of eProcurement documents to track down right after this); I couldn’t cover this historic moment live. So I just content myself watching the whole event unfold on ABS-CBN Channel 2.

Kris Aquino, assisted by a religious, laying down a silver crucifix on top of her mom's coffin (ABS-CBN).

Kris Aquino, assisted by a religious, laying down a silver crucifix on top of her mom's coffin (ABS-CBN).

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Tita Cory and Senator Ninoy: together again.

Tita Cory and Senator Ninoy: together again.

After 23 years, Cory Magic is back on the streets! The massive throng, the yellow clothing and confetti, the Laban hand sign being displayed by those who honor her… almost everything reminiscent of the original EDSA People Power Movement have returned even if just for one day, for one final moment.

In Facebook, my dear friend and fellow blogger Arnold is teasing me that I’m a Cory fan. A Cory fan I am not (I even used to despise her for having approved the death of the Spanish language in the country). But ever since she apologized to Joseph Estrada for having made the terrible mistake of supporting today’s most unpopular Filipina (aside from having lived a life of prayer and faith), she earned my full respect and praise. Thus I am sure that if she only knew more about the importance of the Spanish language in our country, she wouldn’t have approved its deletion as one of our official languages in our current constitution.

And if memory serves right, Tita Cory is the only Filipina politician who has apologized publicly for her mistake; Mrs. Arroyo’s pathetic “I am sorry” speech doesn’t even prove anything because she is still desperately holding onto Malacañang.

Tita Cory has left us not just a legacy of freedom, democracy, and a prayerful life; she has also taught us the goodness of humility and repentance.

Let us be thankful that she has left a world of pain. She is now in a much better place, the greatest place in the universe.

From FILIPINO SCRIBBLES and ALAS FILIPINAS, let us hear this legendary cheer for one last time… CORY! CORY! CORY! CORY! CORY! CORY! CORY! CORY! CORY! CORY!!!

Corazón C. Aquino (January 25, 1933 – August 1, 2009)

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The world has lost another icon…

The icon of Philippine democracy shown here in her famous yellow dress with her "laban" hand sign.

Maria Corazón Cojuangco vda. de Aquino (popularly known as President Cory or, affectionately, Tita Cory), the icon of democracy in the Philippines and its first woman president, peacefully passed away a few hours ago (3:18 AM, Manila time) at the age of 76.

She has been battling colon cancer since last year and was confined to the Makati Medical Center early last month.

Aquino is survived by her five children. All of them were reportedly at her bedside. They were praying the Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary when Tita Cory gave up the ghost.

It was a shock to all Filipinos who witnessed the now legendary People Power of 1986.

Although she comes from a family of politicians, she never really pursued it. But in an incredible twist of fate, she found herself in a maelström of unavoidable circumstances. In 1983, the year her controversial husband Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino was traitorously assassinated, Tita Cory was compelled to fight the two-decade dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos and inevitably lead the opposition. And so in 1986, the whole world watched as the Filipinos (backed by a renegade military) marched through EDSA to peacefully destroy the Marcos dictatorship and catapult Aquino to the highest seat of the land, the presidency.

But to write about her life, achievements, even controversy, would already be superfluous. Much has already been written about her. For sure, hundreds of thousands of newspapers, journals, magazines, and online print media (not excluding the blogging community, of course) all the world over would be writing about her in the next couple of hours, days, weeks, months.

I’ll write about her in a much different light. Briefly but concise.

I am not a fan of Tita Cory. Nor do I dislike her. But I’m not really a big fan. As a student of Philippine history, I’m even aghast when I discovered the controversy behind her family’s unbelievable wealth and the blood-stained connection between her ancestors and General Antonio Luna. But that’s for another story.

Later in life, as my hispanismo grew and developed, I harbored another ill feeling against her. This is because it was under her regime when her government totally discarded the Spanish language, a patrimony and part of the Philippine soul and being. It was a great blow and even an act of disrespect against the global Spanish community. How unfortunate and ironic as well because her father (the late assemblyman José Cojuangco) and her maternal grandfather (Juan Sumulong, himself another politician) were Spanish speakers.

She had made political blunders left and right. However, it is forgivable. Nobody’s perfect, especially for a person who had no political training before: she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in French language (with a minor in Mathematics) in the US. She did study law at the Far Eastern University upon her return to the Philippines, but it was for a brief period; she got married to Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino who was also from a Spanish-speaking family. Undoubtedly, her husband had become her “political teacher” of sorts. But she remained as a plain husband during their stay together, even when Ninoy was put to jail by Marcos.

Through the years after her presidency, she remained in the limelight. But only to share commentaries regarding major national issues at hand. She became inactive in politics, but she did surface in political rallies later on particularly in EDSA 2 and in anti-Arroyo protest rallies.

EDSA 2 was but a mere copycat of People Power. The massive throng of people, especially the youth, was fuelled more by a much powerful, technologically advanced (and sometimes partial) media: ABS-CBN and GMA 7, SMS or text messaging, aggressive journalism, etc. The youth, who were mostly youngsters during the original EDSA/People Power, were only able to study the event in textbooks. Thus, their adrenaline, their excitement, skyrocketed to the highest heavens upon cognizance that they are actually reliving what they only used to read and discuss in classrooms. Emotions were running high, and almost every one was dragged into a publicity trial, believing allegations first before the facts. President Aquino was among those who were made to believe the hasty and careless allegations (sadly, I was one of the believers). But through the years, I’ve learned the errors of my immature belief and began to understood that throughout most of Philippine history, the “bad guys” were always given the image of the bayani while the “good guys” are either put behind bars, executed, or their characters maligned.

But during her later years, Tita Cory gained my respect. Little by little, she too began to realize that she was somehow “duped” by those she thought had good intentions for the country. She then began criticizing the errors and corrupt regime of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (the accidental “heroine” of EDSA 2). Reminicent of her calls for a civil disobedience during the last days of the Marcos dictatorship, a much older Aquino once more took the road of militancy. But this time, it was of her own accord (and not of those people who urged her to continue her murdered husband’s fight). At the height of the “Hello Garci” political scandal (proving that presidential candidate and Arroyo opponent Fernando Poe, Jr. was indeed cheated upon), Mrs. Arroyo’s infamous and pathetic “I am sorry” speech, and the resignation of the principled Hyatt 10 Aquino took the matter into her own hands and surprised the nation when she publicly called for the resignation –and even possible impeachment– of her ex-ally, Gloria Arroyo.

Even at her old age, she joined protest and prayer rallies against the Arroyo regime, something that she never did during her younger years. I could never forget the image of her walking side by side screen legend Susan Roces (the widow of Fernando Poe, Jr., who died of cerebral thrombosis a few days before Christmas 2004) in a protest march towards the Batasang Pambansâ. They had wanted to urge Congress to impeach a very impeachable Arroyo (unfortunately, the so-called people’s representatives chose to stick to their “pork”). The two young widows even confronted the military when the latter blocked their path. This is a scene which angered countless Filipinos — the military, in blocking the icon of Asian democracy path, was the most disrespectful thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life. They were respectful towards the iconic widows. But that was never enough; both Aquino and Roces were not marching towards Batasan to maul or physically assault Congress in the first place.

“I plead guilty to the fact that I thought [Arroyo] would be a better alternative to Estrada,” Tita Cory later said.

And so last year, she made perhaps the bravest AND laudable act since challenging Marcos — she publicly apologized to President Joseph “Erap” Estrada for having been on the other side of the fence. She admitted, finally, that EDSA 2 was a mistake. Many were saddened, aghast, surprised, disappointed. And quite desperately, some even treated the apology as a joke. But I trust a much calmer elderly President’s judgment who still stood with dignity after all the bad presses she received with that apology.

There was no lapse of judgment on her part. The apology was sincere and true. It’s just that Cory Aquino simply learned from history. From recent Philippine history. She didn’t make qualms at all. After realizing that she’s been supporting a wrong leader all these years, she didn’t hesitate to turn the tables for the sake of justice and righteousness.

That is the Cory Aquino that I’m truly proud of. Her humility shone brighter than it ever did during her last days on earth. She is an emblem of an upright Christian. That is all she had ever wanted — to live happily with the truth, to side with the truth, to live with what is right. She has always been on a journey for self-modification. I even strongly believe that if she ever had the time to do some research, she would also regret having had a hand in removing Spanish as one of the official languages of the Philippines during her presidency…

Today, the downpour in Metro Manila is heavy, as if there is a storm. The heavens must be crying, too.

President Aquino is in a much better place now. Sleep with the angels, Tita Cory. And thank you for being an INCREDIBLE example on how it is to live right and to decide what is right. Requiescat In Pace.

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