Jan 21, 2015
The first time the Aquino family announced that their matriarch, President Cory Aquino, was diagnosed with colon cancer the people were saddened. We offered our prayers and attended the mass for her speedy recovery. We thought we could not lose her now since our country was in political turmoil and she was the only leader who could unite us all. After her 1st chemo therapy, we would still see her in the streets actively participating in calling for justice, truth and accountability. She was not afraid to speak her mind and fight for the rights of her people. She was one with us in the trials that came our way, trials that challenged our nation. She was true to her word when she said in her final State of the Nation Address in 1991:
“... But while my power as president ends in 1992, my responsibility as a Filipino for the well-being of my country goes beyond it to my grave. A great part of that responsibility is to do the best I can today, according to my best lights, while I have the power to do it.”
While in pain she did not complain. She continued to pray not for her recovery but for our nation’s recovery. She was unstoppable until death stopped her.
I was lucky to be born under her reign as President as I witnessed what democracy was all about or what nationalism meant even at a young age. I was really fortunate to have met her and spent a few moments to listen to her wisdom at her own house. How could a president like her be so open to the public, without fear of assassination? Who would have plotted against her anyway, when all she did was pray and love?
There are so many good things that can be said about her by so many people, whether they had a personal encounter with her or not. She transformed our nation from dictatorship to democracy and she touched our hearts in so many ways, and one of which is by leading a good example. She was shining not because of diamonds and gold earrings but because of her burning love for the country and the Filipinos. She stood out from the rest of the leaders not because she was proud and arrogant but because of her simplicity and humility. People listened to her not because of fear but because of respect. She was a strong woman who drew her strength from her faith in God. She was incorruptible and she did her best in her capacity to serve our nation with sincerity and honesty.
If England has Queen Elizabeth and Thailand has King Bhumibol, the Philippines has Cory Aquino as the Queen of Democracy and Non-violent Revolution. Her name, Corazon, is big and so is her heart. She’s lived her life serving her country and loving the Filipino people, and for that we will always be grateful. She symbolizes what a woman can be. She is not ‘just a woman’ as former dictator Marcos called her but the woman.
I am lucky that she was born Filipino like me. She will truly be missed but she will always be loved. Yes, we are grieving because we have lost a loving mother and great leader. But she will always live in our hearts as we have lived in hers.
Good bye Tita Cory.
*Tita means auntie, our term of endearment to her.