Corazon “Cory” Aquino, 1933 – 2009: looking back plus a rant from a Laodicean

01Aug09

At 3AM local time, former President Corazon Aquino passed away due to complications from cancer.

President Aquino served as the 11th president of the Republic of the Philippines and was married to the late Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr., who was assassinated on August 21, 1983 as he was coming home to the Philippines from exile in the US.

Corazon Aquino became the focal point and unifying force for most Filipinos as they slowly got fed up with President Ferdinand Marcos’ autocratic rule.

On February 22, 1986, the People Power Revolution helped triggered the changes to come and catapulted the ‘plain housewife’ to the country’s seat of power.

She was hailed as Time’s 1986 Woman of the Year and delivered a ‘home run’ of a speech in front of a joint session of the US Congress in September 1986. “The finest speech I’ve ever heard in my 34 years in Congress,” U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill later remarked.

Her administration saw the enactment of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, displacing the 1973 Constitution installed during martial law under President Marcos.

She was diagnosed with colon cancer in March 2008. After more than a year’s chemotherapy, on July 2, her family announced that President Aquino has decided to cease chemotherapy.

She died at 3:18AM today, due to cardiopulmonary arrest after complications from colon cancer. She was 76.

President Aquino left the country a legacy of hope and a realization that as a nation nothing is impossible.

Unfortunately, this legacy has been sullied by the same kind of politics borne in the 1970s. Sullied by indifference which I liken to a spoiled brat who’s every whim and wish are handed on a silver platter, and if these whims or wishes are not granted or if there is a phantasm that this much hallowed illusion of freedom will be lost, throw tantrums and protest rallies.

This country has yet to understand the true meaning of freedom earned during the 1986 revolution. We’ve had our ‘freedom’ handed to us decades prior to 1986. Perhaps we have never fully appreciated the fact that with freedom comes real and awesome responsibilities. That when we, as a nation, took up the banner of liberty and shouted our ache and hankering for deliverance from the shackles of autocracy and oppression, we have implicitly signed a contract for ourselves and our children and our children’s children, that we forever will be watchful of the tyranny that men can do, no matter how small it is.

Thomas Jefferson’s “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance,” does not simply imply taking to the streets every time some blowhard politician or media person tells you to. It’s not just blasting away at the present administration and coming up with imaginary specters of term extensions to work up a frenzy amongst the populace.

Vigilance means the willingness to read, to understand the real issues. To know and imbibe the true meaning behind all the words spoken by politicians aiming for re-election and by media networks aiming for ratings. Vigilance means taking the time to tell your fellow citizen that the real issues lie in the economy, in education, in healthcare and not in soap operas, sensationalistic headlines, and sex scandal probes.

It’s work. Too much work.

But one cannot give up one’s rights and one’s responsibility to defend our freedom, our constitution to a selected, in some cases forcibly selected, few.

We must combat ignorance. We must combat apathy. We must combat the same tired machinations that we thought we have gotten rid of back in 1986.

President Cory, I thank you for the legacy and the revolution. We are sorry we messed things up. We promise to do better next time.

You will be missed.

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3 Responses to “Corazon “Cory” Aquino, 1933 – 2009: looking back plus a rant from a Laodicean”

  1. 1 athena

    well said


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