EDITORIAL - Corazon Aquino

(The Philippine Star) Updated August 02, 2009 12:00 AM A long-entrenched dictator dismissed her as “just a woman” and a housewife. “What on earth do I know about being president?” Corazon Aquino conceded as she launched her challenge to the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos in December 1985. “The only thing I can really offer the Filipino people is my sincerity.” Yet in a few months, the woman who knew nothing about being president helped bring down a dictator, took over Malacañang and repulsed at least two coup attempts. Within less than two years after assuming power, Corazon Aquino crafted a “Freedom Constitution” that was ratified by 80 percent of the people in a national plebiscite, reestablished a freely elected Congress and restored independence to the legislature and judiciary. After nurturing democracy through seven coup attempts, she peacefully handed over power to a freely elected successor — the first such peaceful transition in 27 years. “This is the glory of democracy, that its most solemn moment should be the peaceful transfer of power,” she said in her final State of the Nation Address. In the light of recent events, the nation now realizes how precious that gracious exit was. After seeing the depths by which power could be abused, Cory Aquino wielded it with reluctance. But she never needed the presidency to lead; all she needed was the example of her life. Her power and influence emanated not from any position in government, but from her convictions, her abiding faith in the goodness of the Filipino and, yes, her sincerity. That is a virtue that has been in short supply in public service for many years. Once, explaining to an interviewer why she decided to run for president, the woman the nation called Tita Cory said she had asked herself, “What if I could make a difference?” She did, and the nation, grateful for her legacy of freedom, now mourns its loss. Best opinion: NY Times, Manila Bulletin, Wall St. Journal "People power" is on display again in Manila, said Seth Mydans in The New York Times, as the Philippines pays its respects to former president Corazon Aquino, who died of cancer at 76 on Saturday. More than 100,000 people flooded the streets as Aquino's body was driven to burial in an emotional outpouring that "went beyond mourning to political statement, as if the masses were demanding respect for "the democratic processes she restored when she came to power in 1986." "Cory Magic is still alive," said Leslie Ann G. Aquino in the Manila Bulletin. Even after her death, Corazon Aquino can unite the Filipino people like no other politician. Corazon Aquino's legacy reaches beyond the Philippines, said former deputy defense

secretary Paul Wolfowitz in The Wall Street Journal. Mrs. Aquino will be remembered as "the peaceful 'housewife' who forced a dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, to leave office after his attempt to steal an election." But she was also "the leader of the first 'People Power' revolution"—one that inspired many more freedom movements around the world.

Corazon Aquino
Maria Corazon "Cory" Sumulong Cojuangco Aquino (January 25, 1933 – August 1, 2009) was the 11th President of the Philippines and the "Mother of Democracy", serving from 1986 to 1992. She was the first female president of the Philippines and the first female president of any country in Asia. A self-proclaimed "plain housewife",[2] Aquino was married to Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. (born 1932 – died 1983), a leading figure in the political opposition against the autocratic rule of President Ferdinand Marcos. After her husband was assassinated upon his return from exile in the United States on August 21, 1983, Aquino, who had no prior political experience, became a focal point and unifying force of the opposition against Marcos. She was drafted to run against Marcos in the 1986 snap presidential elections. After Marcos was proclaimed the winner despite widespread reports of electoral fraud, Aquino was installed as President by the peaceful 1986 People Power Revolution. Aquino's presidency saw the restoration of democratic institutions in the Philippines, through the enactment of a new Constitution which limited the powers of the presidency, restored the bicameral Congress, and renewed emphasis on civil liberties. Her administration was likewise hampered by several military coup attempts by disaffected members of the Philippine military which derailed a return to full political stability and economic development. After suffering from colon cancer she died on August 1, 2009 due to cardiorespiratory arrest.

Married life
Aquino returned to the Philippines to study law at the Far Eastern University, owned by the family of the late Nicanor Reyes, Sr., who had been the father-in-law of her older sister Josephine. She gave up her law studies[6] when in 1954, she married Benigno Servillano "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr., the son of a former Speaker of the National Assembly. They had five children together: a son, Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III, who was elected to the Philippine Senate in 2007, and four daughters, Maria Elena "Ballsy" A. Cruz, Aurora Corazon "Pinky" A. Abellada, Victoria Eliza "Viel" A. Dee, and actresstelevision host Kristina Bernadette A. Yap. Aquino had initial difficulty adjusting to provincial life when she and her husband moved to Concepcion, Tarlac, in 1955, after he was elected the town's mayor at the age of 22. The American-educated Aquino found herself bored in Concepcion, and welcomed the opportunity to have dinner with her husband inside the American military facility at nearby Clark Field.[7]

A member of the Liberal Party, Aquino's husband rose to be governor of Tarlac, and was elected to the Philippine Senate in 1967. During her husband's political career, Aquino remained a housewife who helped raise the children and played hostess to her spouse's political allies who would frequent their Quezon City home.[4] She would decline to join her husband on stage during campaign rallies, preferring instead to stand at the back of the audience and listen to him.[7] Nonetheless, she was consulted upon on political matters by her husband, who valued her judgments enormously.[4] Benigno Aquino soon emerged as a leading critic of the government of President Ferdinand Marcos of the Nacionalista Party, and there was wide speculation that he would run in the 1973 presidential elections, Marcos then being term limited. However, Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1972, and later abolished the 1935 Constitution, allowing him to remain in office. Aquino's husband was among those arrested at the onset of martial law, later being sentenced to death. During his incarceration, Aquino drew strength from prayer, attending daily mass and saying three rosaries a day.[7] As a measure of sacrifice, she enjoined her children from attending parties, and she herself stopped going to the beauty salon or buying new clothes, until a priest advised her and her children to instead live as normal lives as possible.[7] In 1978, despite her initial opposition, Aquino's imprisoned husband decided to run the 1978 Batasang Pambansa elections. Aquino campaigned in behalf of her imprisoned husband and for the first time in her life, delivered a political speech,[2][7] though she willingly relinquished having to speak in public when it emerged that her six-year old daughter Kris was more than willing to speak on stage.[7] In 1980, upon the intervention of United States President Jimmy Carter,[2] Marcos allowed Senator Aquino and his family to leave for exile in the United States, where he sought medical treatment.[3] The family settled in Boston, and Aquino would later call the next three years as the happiest days of her marriage.[2] He returned without his family to the Philippines on August 21, 1983, only to be assassinated on a staircase leading to the tarmac of the Manila International Airport, which was later renamed in his honor. Corazon Aquino returned to the Philippines a few days later and led her husband's funeral rites, where more than two million people were estimated to have participated, the biggest funeral ever in Philippine history.[2]

[edit] 1986 Presidential campaign
Main article: Philippine presidential election, 1986

Aquino participated in many of the mass actions that were staged in the two years following the assassination of her husband. In the last week of November 1985, Marcos unexpectedly announced a snap presidential election to be held in February 1986.[8] Initially, Senator Salvador Laurel of Batangas, the son of a former president, was seen as the favorite presidential candidate of the opposition, under the United Nationalists Democratic Organizations. However, business tycoon Don Joaquin "Chino" Roces was not convinced that Laurel could defeat Marcos in the polls. Roces initiated the Cory Aquino for President Movement to gather one million signatures in one week for Aquino to run as president. Aquino was reluctant at first to run for presidency, despite pleas that she was the one candidate who could unite the opposition against Marcos.[4] She eventually was convinced following a ten-hour meditation session at a Catholic convent.[5] Laurel did not immediately accede to calls for him to give way to Aquino, and offered her the vicepresidential slot under his UNIDO party. Aquino instead offered to give up her affiliation with her husband's political party, the Lakas ng Bayan (LABAN), which had just merged with Partido Demokratiko Pilipino, and run under the UNIDO banner with Laurel sliding down to the vice-presidential slot.[4] Laurel gave way to Aquino to run as President and ran as her running-mate under UNIDO as the main political umbrella of the opposition. In the succeeding political campaign, Marcos charged that Aquino was being supported by communists and agreed to share power with them, to which she responded that she would not appoint one to her cabinet.[9] Marcos also accused Aquino of playing "political football" with the United States with respect to the continued United States military presence in the Philippines at Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base.[10] Marcos also derided Aquino as "just a woman" whose place was in the bedroom.[2] The elections held on February 7, 1986 were marred by the intimidation and mass disenfranchisement of voters.[4] Election day itself and the days immediately after were marred by violence, including the murder of one of Aquino's top allies, Antique governor Evelio Javier. While the official tally of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) consistently showed Marcos in the lead, the unofficial tally of the National Movement for Free Elections indicated that Aquino was leading. Despite the job walkout of 30 COMELEC computer technicians alleging election-rigging in favor of Marcos,[4] the Batasang Pambansa, controlled by Marcos allies, ratified the official count and proclaimed Marcos the winner on February 15, 1986.[11] The country's Catholic bishops and the United States Senate condemned the election,[4] and Aquino called for a general strike and a boycott of business enterprises controlled by Marcos allies.[12] She also rejected a power-sharing agreement proposed by the American diplomat Philip Habib, who had been sent as an emissary by U.S. President Ronald Reagan to help defuse the tension.[12]

[edit] Installation as President

Main article: People Power Revolution

Presidency
President Aquino was named by Time magazine as the 1986 Woman of the Year. The relatively peaceful manner by which Aquino assumed the presidency through the EDSA Revolution won her widespread international acclaim as an icon of democracy. She was selected as Time magazine's Woman of the Year in 1986. She was also nominated to receive the Nobel Peace Prize but lost to Elie Wiesel also in 1986. In September 1986, Aquino delivered a speech before a joint session of the United States Congress which was interrupted by applause several times, and which then U.S. House Speaker Tip O'Neill hailed as "the finest speech I've ever heard in my 34 years in Congress." Above the din of cheering officials, Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole said to Mrs. Aquino, "Cory, you hit a home run." Without missing a beat, Aquino smiled and shot back: "I hope the bases were loaded."[13] The six-year administration of President Aquino saw the enactment of a new Philippine Constitution and several significant legal reforms, including a new agrarian reform law. While her allies maintained a majority in both houses of Congress, she faced considerable opposition from communist insurgency and right-wing soldiers who instituted several coup attempts against her government. Her government also dealt with several major natural disasters that struck the Philippines, as well as a severe power crisis that hampered the Philippine economy. It was also during her administration that the presence of United States military bases in the Philippines came to an end.

Constitutional and law reform
One month after assuming the presidency, Aquino issued Proclamation No. 3, which proclaimed her government as a revolutionary government. She suspended the 1973 Constitution installed during martial law, and promulgated a provisional “Freedom Constitution” pending the enactment of a new Constitution.[14] She likewise closed the Batasang Pambansa and reorganized the membership of the Supreme Court. In May 1986, the reorganized Supreme Court declared the Aquino government as “not merely a de facto government but in fact and law a de jure government”, whose legitimacy had been affirmed by the community of nations.[15] Aquino appointed 48 members of a Constitutional Commission tasked with drafting a new Constitution. The commission, which was chaired by retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma completed its final draft in October 1986[16] The 1987 Constitution was approved in a national plebiscite in February 1987. Both the “Freedom Constitution” and the 1987 Constitution authorized President Aquino to exercise legislative power until such time a new Congress was organized.[17] She continued to exercise such powers until the new Congress organized under the 1987 Constitution convened in July 1987. Within that period, Aquino promulgated two legal codes that set forth significant legal reforms—the Family Code of 1987, which reformed

the civil law on family relations, and the Administrative Code of 1987, which reorganized the structure of the executive branch of government. However, as President instead of repudiating debts incurred by the former regime or repudiating the debts through selective debt repudiation Mrs. Aquino chose to honor the debts to the detriment of the country.[18] In 1991, Aquino signed into law the Local Government Code partly written by Aquilino Pimentel, which further devolved national government powers to local government units. The new Code enhanced the power of local government units to enact local taxation measures, and assured them of a share of the national internal revenue.

Agrarian reform
President Corazon Aquino addresses base workers at a rally at Remy Field concerning jobs for Filipino workers after the Americans withdraw from the U.S. facilities. On July 22, 1987, Aquino issued Presidential Proclamation 131 and Executive Order 229, which outlined the President’s land reform program, and expanded land reform to sugar lands. Her agrarian reform policy was enacted into law by the 8th Congress of the Philippines, which in 1988 passed Republic Act No. 6657, also known as “The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law”. The law authorized the redistribution of agricultural lands to tenant-farmers from landowners, who were paid in exchange by the government just compensation and allowed to retain not more than five hectares of land.[19] Corporate landowners were also allowed under the law to “voluntarily divest a proportion of their capital stock, equity or participation in favor of their workers or other qualified beneficiaries”, in lieu of turning over their land to the government for redistribution.[20] The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law in 1989, characterizing the agrarian reform policy as “a revolutionary kind of expropriation.”[21] Prior to signing CARP a large farmer's group under Jimmy Tadeo tried desperately to air their grievances to the government. Among their grievances was the desire of peasants and farmers to acquire the land being tilled by them. However, instead of holding a dialogue with Heherson Alvarez, the group marched to Mendiola; as the group of farmers tried to breach the line of the police, several Marines fired, killing around 12 of the marchers and injuring 39. This caused Ka Pepe Diokno and several members of the Aquino government to resign. [22] Controversies eventually centered on the landholdings of Aquino, who inherited from her parents the 6,453-hectare large Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, which was owned through the Tarlac Development Company.[23] Opting for the stock distribution option under the agrarian reform law, Tarlac Development Company established Hacienda Luisita, Incorporated (HLI) in order to effect the distribution of stocks to the farmer-tenants of the hacienda. Ownership of the agricultural portions of the hacienda were transferred to the new corporation, which in turn distributed its shares of stocks to the farmers.[23] The arrangement withstood until 2006, when the Department of Agrarian Reform revoked the stock distribution scheme implemented in Hacienda Luisita, and ordered instead the

redistribution of a large portion of the property to the tenant-farmers.[24] The Department had stepped into the controversy when in 2004, violence erupted over the retrenchment of workers in the Hacienda, eventually leaving seven people dead.[23]

Military insurrections
President Aquino greets officials as she walks across the flight line to the passenger terminal at Andrews Air Force Base. Main articles: 1986–1987 Philippine coup attempts and 1989 Philippine coup attempt From 1986 to 1989, Aquino was confronted with a series of attempts[25] at military interventions by some members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, aimed at the overthrow of the Aquino government. Most of these attempts were instigated by the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM), a group of middle-ranking officers closely linked with Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile.[26] Soldiers loyal to former President Marcos were likewise involved in some of these attempts. The first five of the attempts were either crushed before they were put in operation, or repelled with minimal or no violence. The sixth attempt, staged on August 28, 1987, left 53 people dead and over 200 wounded, including Aquino's son, Noynoy.[27] The seventh and final attempt, which occurred throughout the first week of December, 1989, ended with 99 dead (including 50 civilians) and 570 wounded.[28] The coup attempts would collectively impair the Aquino government, even though it survived, as it indicated political instability, an unruly military, and diminished the confidence of foreign investors in the Philippine economy.[29] The 1989 coup alone resulted in combined financial losses of between 800 million to 1 billion pesos.[30] The November 1986 and August 1987 coup plots would also lead to significant reorganizations within the Aquino government. Given the apparent involvement of Defense Secretary Enrile in the November 1986 plot, a fact which was reaffirmed by the Davide Commission Report,[31] Aquino fired him on November 22, 1986, and likewise announced an overall Cabinet revamp, "to give the government a chance to start all over again."[32] The revamp would lead to the dismissal of Labor Secretary Augusto Sanchez, a perceived leftist, which was believed to be a compromise measure in light of a key rebel demand to cleanse the Cabinet of left-leaning members.[33] Following the August 1987 coup attempt, the Aquino government was seen to have veered to the right, dismissing perceived left-leaning officials such as Executive Secretary Joker Arroyo and tacitly authorizing the establishment of armed quasi-military groups to combat the communist insurgency.[34] It was also believed that General Fidel Ramos, who remained loyal to Aquino, emerged as the second most powerful person in government following his successful quelling of the coup.[35] Across-the-board wage increases for soldiers were also granted.[36] Aquino herself would sue Philippine Star columnist Louie Beltran and publisher Maximo Soliven for libel after Beltran wrote that the President had hid under her bed during the August 1987 coup as the siege of Malacañang began.

Natural disasters and man-made disasters
The Aquino administration faced a series of natural disasters during its last two years in office. The 1990 Luzon earthquake left around 1,600 dead, with around a thousand of the fatalities in Baguio City. The 1991 eruption of the long-dormant Mount Pinatubo was the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century,[37] killing around 300 people and causing widespread long-term devastation of agricultural lands in Central Luzon. The worst loss of life occurred when Tropical Storm Thelma (also known as Typhoon Uring) caused massive flooding in Ormoc City in November 1991, leaving around 6,000 dead in what was the deadliest typhoon in Philippine history. It was during the term of Corazon Aquino that brownouts became sporadic and many of households during that time bought generators. Complaints were made against Napocor which was headed by Aboitiz who also owns shares in a firm making generators. It was also during Aquino's term that the MV Doña Paz sank, which is the World's worst peacetime maritime disaster of the 20th century. The disaster occurred in December 1987 which killed more than 1,700 people.

Influence in 1992 presidential campaign
The Philippine Constitution bars a President from serving more than one six-year term, however, President Aquino was not covered of this provision. She rejected re-election and instead, she backed her Defense Secretary Fidel V. Ramos (after initially naming Ramon Mitra, Jr., her former Agriculture Secretary and then Speaker of the House of Representatives, as her candidate), Marcos' armed forces vice-chief of staff whose defection to the Aquino party proved crucial to the popular revolution. This decision was unpopular among many of her core supporters, including the Roman Catholic Church (Ramos is a Protestant). Ramos narrowly won with just 23.58 percent of the vote, and succeeded Aquino as president on June 30, 1992.

Post-presidency
Mrs. Aquino speaking before the 2003 Ninoy Aquino Award ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Manila. Following the end of her term, Aquino retired to private life. When she rode away from the inauguration of her successor, she chose to go in a simple white Toyota Crown she had purchased (rather than the government-issue Mercedes), to make the point that she was once again an ordinary citizen.[38] Aquino led the PinoyME Foundation, a non-profit organization that assists microfinance institutions through the provision of loans.[39] She also oversaw social welfare and scholarship assistance projects through the Benigno S. Aquino Foundation, and good governance advocacy through the EDSA People Power Commission, and the People Power Movement.

President Aquino was likewise a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an International network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers whose mission is to mobilize the highest-level women leaders globally for collective action on issues of critical importance to women and equitable development. Aquino was a skilled painter, and was fond of giving her own paintings as gifts to her close friends and acquaintances, including world leaders, diplomats, and corporate executives.[40]

Political activities
Aquino continued to speak out on political issues. In the 1998 presidential elections, she supported the candidacy of Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, who placed fifth.[41] In January 2001, Aquino played an active role in the second EDSA Revolution which ousted President Joseph Estrada and installed Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the presidency.[42] In 2005, Aquino condemned President Macapagal-Arroyo for allegedly rigging the 2004 presidential elections.[43] She was a visible participant in mass demonstrations against the Arroyo government and called for the President's resignation.[44] In December 2008, Aquino publicly expressed some regrets for her participation in the 2001 EDSA Revolution and apologized to former President Joseph Estrada, who had been ousted following that revolt, in his presence.[45] In the 2007 senatorial elections, Aquino actively campaigned for her only son, Benigno III, in his successful bid for a Senate seat.

Honors
After leaving the presidency, Aquino received several awards and citations. In 1994, Aquino was cited as one of 100 Women Who Shaped World History in a reference book written by Gail Meyer Rolka and published by Bluewood Books in San Francisco, California.[46] In 1996, she received the J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding from the Fulbright Association, joining past recipients such as Jimmy Carter and Nelson Mandela.[47] In August 1999, Aquino was chosen by Time Magazine as one of the 20 Most Influential Asians of the 20th century.[48] The same magazine cited her in November 2006 as one of 65 great Asian Heroes, along with Mahatma Gandhi, Deng Xiaoping, Aung San Suu Kyi, Lee Kuan Yew, and King Bhumibol Adulyadej.[49] In January 2008, the Europe-based A Different View selected Aquino as one of the 15 Champions of World Democracy, alongside Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Lech Wałęsa, and Vaclav Havel.[citation needed] In 2002, Aquino became the first woman named to the Board of Governors of the Board of the Asian Institute of Management, a leading graduate business school and think tank in the Asia Pacific region.[50] She served on the Board until 2006.[51]

On March 24, 2008, the Aquino family announced that the former President had been diagnosed with colon cancer.[52] While she had initially been informed by her doctors that she had only three months to live,[53] Aquino pursued chemotherapy. The treatment caused both heavy hair loss, loss of appetite and immunological problems. In public remarks made on May 13, 2008, she announced that blood tests indicated that she was responding positively to the medical treatment.[54] By July 2009, Aquino was reported to be in a very serious condition and confined to Makati Medical Center due to loss of appetite and chronic baldness.[55] It was announced that Aquino and her family had decided to cease chemotherapy and other medical interventions.[56][57] Aquino died of cardiorespiratory arrest after complications of colon cancer[58] at the age of 76 on August 1, 2009, 3:18 a.m., at the Makati Medical Center.[59] The Aquino family declined an invitation by the government for a state funeral.[60]

Wake
Aquino's body lay in state at a public wake at the St. Benilde Gymnasium of La Salle Green Hills in Mandaluyong up to August 3, when it was later transferred to the Manila Cathedral. She was the first member of the laity to have been permitted to lie in state in the cathedral. This honor has always been reserved for deceased archbishops of Manila.[61]. A crowd estimated at 120,000 witnessed the transfer of her remains from La Salle Green Hills to the Manila Cathedral. Most of the crowd was concentrated at the Ninoy Aquino memorial statue in Ayala Avenue, Makati, where the hearse paused briefly as the crowds sang "Bayan Ko," one of the anthems of the 1986 EDSA Revolution.[62] Queue of mourners at the Aquino wake going to the Manila Cathedral in front of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila campus, which opened its facilities such as the university clinic and restrooms for the mourners.[63] For comparison, the Cathedral is the green dome in the background. On August 4, the children of Ferdinand Marcos, Bongbong and Imee paid their last respects to Aquino at the Manila Cathedral.[64] The funeral mass and interment was scheduled on August 5, which was declared as a special nonworking holiday by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Aquino is buried in Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque.[65] President of Timor-Leste Jose Ramos Horta showed up at the funeral and paid his last respects to Aquino.[66] A Philippine flag at half-mast beside the Martial Law Memorial Wall at the Bonifacio Shrine. All Philippine flags were at half-mast during the 10-day mourning period. All Roman Catholic dioceses had started requiem masses for Aquino, after they held "healing masses".[67] Meanwhile, the government declared a week of mourning for her death.[68]

As much as 7,000 mourners on August 4 waited in queue at the Manila Cathedral.[69]

Requiem mass and burial
Corazon Aquino's burial convoy going to Manila Memorial Park President Arroyo, who cut short her trip from the United States, paid her last respects to Aquino in the early hours of Wednesday, August 5. Arroyo spoke to Noynoy Aquino, and stayed for about seven minutes.[70] Singer Jose Mari Chan sang the poem Ninoy made for Cory, "I Have Fallen In Love," as Aquino's casket was carried outside the Cathedral. Other songs performed in tribute were "Sa Iyo Lamang" (For You, Especially) by Piolo Pascual; "The Lord's Prayer" by Erik Santos; "The Impossible Dream" by Jed Madela; and "Pangako (Promise)" by Ogie Alcasid. Martin Nievera and Regine Velasquez performed a duet of "The Prayer", while Sarah Geronimo sang the People Power Revolution anthem "Magkaisa" ("Unite"); "Your Heart Today" by Dulce; and Lea Salonga sang "Bayan Ko" (My Country). The artists later joined the Apo Hiking Society in singing another People Power song "Handog ng Pilipino Sa Mundo" ("The Filipinos' Offering to the World").[71] The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra played the background music. The funeral procession lasted for almost eight hours, with hundreds of thousands of mourners flashing the "Laban" ("fight"; holding the thumb and forefinger at right angles, like an "L") sign lining the route from the cathedral to the Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, Parañaque. When the cortege reached the cemetery, Aquino was given full military honors, where a two-star general acting as military host and eight one-star generals as pallbearers carried the former president's flag-draped coffin. The crowd that lined the funeral route (passing through the cities of Manila, Makati, and Parañaque) was estimated to be between 300,000 to 400,000 people.[citation needed] Before Aquino was placed in the mausoleum, the presidential guards have placed Aquino's coffub near the mausoleum. Her husband Ninoy is beside her resting place together. The attendees at the burial were originally restricted to Aquino's family and close friends, but the crowd broke through the security barricades after the last of the funeral convoy's 13 buses entered the cemetery. Although the crowd was inside the premises, they kept a respectful distance from the burial site. [72] Bishop Villegas gave the final blessing, and per the Aquino family's request, the coffin was opened one last time. The glass was removed, and after Bishop Villegas and Aquino's children sprinkled it with holy water, most members of Aquino's family gave a final kiss to the deceased leader. The casket having been sealed one last time, the Philippine flag was removed from the coffin and folded before being presented to Sen. Noynoy Aquino. The pallbearers ushered in the coffin into the niche prepared beforehand, and her family, supporters, and allies deposited yellow flowers inside after which it was sealed to as Bayan Ko and several religious anthems were sung by the congregation. The lapida or name plate of Aquino was a simple design identical to that of her husband.

Reaction
Local reaction President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was on a state visit in Washington, D.C. when she was informed about the President Aquino's death, called Aquino a "national treasure". She ended her trip ahead of schedule and returned to Manila to visit Aquino's wake. Arroyo announced a 10-day mourning period for the former President, and issued Administrative Order No. 269 to "official acts and observances” to help in the funeral of the former President.[59] Former President Estrada said that they lost a "mother" and a "guiding voice of the people." Estrada also described Aquino as "Philippines' most loved woman". [73] Aquino supported Estrada's removal from office in 2001, but the two supported each other to oppose amendments in the constitution since last year.[74] The Senate has also expressed its grieving with Aquino's death; Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who along with Fidel Ramos launched the People Power Revolution, asked the public to pray for her. Minority leader Aquilino Pimentel, who previously served as interior and local government secretary during her administration, had "mixed feelings" with Aquino's passing, saying "We shall be forever indebted to Cory for rallying the nation behind the campaign to topple dictatorial rule and restore democracy."[75] A growing opinion among some Roman Catholic circles in the country is to push for Aquino's declaration as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. International reaction President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev in a telegram to President of the Philippines Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo stated, “The name of Corazon Aquino is associated with a period of profound reforms and the democratic transformation of Filipino society.” Medvedev also noted that Corazon Aquino showed great interest and sympathy to Russia and prioritised the development of Russian-Filipino relations.[76] International figures expressed their grief, with United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noting that Aquino was "admired by the world for her extraordinary courage". White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that "Her courage, determination, and moral leadership are an inspiration to us all and exemplify the best in the Filipino nation." Other ambassadors also sent their messages of condolence following her passing.[77] Pope Benedict XVI recalled Aquino as a "courageous commitment to the freedom of the Filipino people, her firm rejection of violence and intolerance," according to Manila Archbishop Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales. President of South Africa Jacob Zuma called Aquino "a great leader who set a shining example of peaceful transition to democracy in her country."[78]

In popular culture
Aquino was portrayed by Laurice Guillen in the 1988 HBO miniseries A Dangerous Life.

Aquino was a main character in Boy Noriega's 1987 stage comedy Bongbong at Kris, about an imagined romantic coupling between the youngest son of Ferdinand Marcos and the youngest daughter of the Aquinos. In the movie Alfredo Lim: Batas ng Maynila Aquino was portrayed by Luz Valdez. She was portrayed by Tess Villarama in the movie Ilaban Mo, Bayan Ko: The Obet Pagdanganan Story in 1997. She was also portrayed by Geraldine Malacaman in the 1998 musical play Lean. In the defunct comedy gag show Ispup, Madz Nicolas played a parodized version of Aquino who often reminisces about life with Ninoy. In 2004, Aquino was portrayed by Irma Adlawan in the miniseries Sa'yo Lamang. In 2008, a musical play about Aquino starring Isay Alvarez as Aquino, was staged at the Meralco Theater. Entitled Cory, the Musical, it was written and directed by Nestor Torre and featured a libretto of 19 original songs composed by Lourdes Pimentel, wife of Senator Aquilino Pimentel.[79][80][81]

As former Philippine President Corazon C. Aquino was laid to rest on Wednesday, I was reminded of a close encounter with the death of another Aquino. On Aug. 21, 1983, I was in the lobby of the Manila international airport to pick up a group of high-level Malaysian officials for a business conference. I was surprised to see a number of friends from the Foreign Correspondents' Association, who told me they were there to cover the arrival of Sen. Benigno (Ninoy) Aquino Jr. -- Mrs. Aquino's husband -back in Manila after years in exile in America. Mr. Aquino, like many dissidents during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, had been driven from his country after being incarcerated and sentenced to death. His publicized return, which was not approved by the Marcos government, was intended to instigate public opposition to the regime. As we pulled away from the airport, I turned on the radio and heard that Mr. Aquino had been shot fatally moments earlier. Like millions of Filipinos, I was shocked by the loss of such a major figure and stunned that I had been so close physically to the tragedy. I also was incensed, and in the weeks that followed, I joined the protests against authoritarian rule and proudly wore a black badge with the words "Hindi ka nag-iisa," Tagalog for

"You are not alone." This became the rallying cry for the mass movement against a strongman. The badges, which attracted threats from the authorities, served a vital purpose. After 20 years of rule by censorship and thuggery, an oppressed, fearful people would not rise up without assurance that the movement was substantial and growing. In the days that followed, a colleague came to me with footage from two Japanese documentaries, and because I had lived in Japan and spoke Japanese, I was asked to translate them. For two days, I isolated myself in a small office and recorded my translation of the documentaries, which included two accounts based on firsthand observations from the airport that purported that Mr. Aquino's military escorts had murdered him. The Marcos government was trying to pin the murder on a lone gunman, but these transcripts of foreign journalists on the scene credibly demonstrated that the returning Filipino politician had been assassinated by government guards ostensibly sent to protect him. As the country turned into a tinderbox and my own safety was threatened, I left the Philippines for several years. However, the tapes examining the assassination were used to support protests against the Marcos government. The tapes were played to crowds across the country and made available at video rental shops (hidden on the shelf next to X-rated features) to help the opposition inspire a wary population to hit the streets and demand change. A New York Times reporter once told me, "You're the voice." I had no way of knowing any of this because I was lying low in America, but I was proud to hear that I might have had a small part in helping democracy along. During the martial-law years of 1972-81, Mr. Aquino predicted that anyone who succeeded Mr. Marcos would "smell like horse manure six months after taking office." The reasons were obvious: The dictator had bankrupted the country, the Philippines was torn by dissent and competing interests, and its private sector was in disarray. The economy was uncompetitive and incapable of generating enough jobs for a fast-growing population. That his wife would have to endure the reality of his forecast probably would have come as a surprise to Mr. Aquino. Before the assassination, Cory -- as Mrs. Aquino is known to millions of Filipinos -- was "a plain housewife," in her words. But it was fitting that this unassuming person galvanized a nation fed up with the greed and incompetence of cronyism to become president in 1986 after Mr. Marcos was ousted. Her example of peaceful resistance inspired downtrodden around the world to demand better from their own corrupt governments. Mrs. Aquino's legacy as president is mixed. In reality, she never had an opportunity to succeed. Seven attempted coups d'etat scared away investors. Customers of Philippine exporters, worried about interruptions to their supply chains, looked for alternative,

reliable partners. Mrs. Aquino's distracted administration watched helplessly as power and transportation infrastructure strained, social and economic reforms stopped, and delivery of basic services ground to a halt. Until her last days, Mrs. Aquino continued to speak out against abuse of power and the deteriorating rule of law in the Philippines. In a foreword for "Global Filipino," by Brett M. Decker, managing editor of the Opinion pages of The Washington Times, Mrs. Aquino said, "The Philippines cannot create a progressive secular society that has no room for faith." She decried the politics of the day for becoming "rough and ruthless." At the December 2008 party launching Mr. Decker's book in Manila, Mrs. Aquino shocked the nation by publicly apologizing to former President Joseph Estrada, who also was present, for supporting his overthrow in 2001 to install Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the current Philippine president, in office. Though she was a revolutionary leader, Mrs. Aquino learned that governing institutions can mature only if the democratic process is respected. Mrs. Aquino will be remembered as an important symbol of hope and faith in democracy in the face of persecution. It's an example still needed in the Philippines and many other mean spots around the world. Michael Alan Hamlin is managing director of TeamAsia, a Manila-based business consultancy, a columnist for the Manila Bulletin newspaper and author of numerous books.

President Corazon C. Aquino
By Hidelito Pascual Cebu Daily News First Posted 11:17:00 08/06/2009 Filed Under: Cory Aquino
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Advertisement Begin with the end in mind.”(Stephen Covey). According to this inspirational writer, the secret to a successful life is to imagine what people would say at your funeral. President Cory probably never imagined the outpouring of love and affection that were expressed by the Filipino people from the time she made public her physical condition, until she was buried last Wednesday. Everyone was there to give their goodbyes. If Manila was not that far away, many of us would have gone too. Nobody asked them to come. Nobody asked them to wear yellow ribbons. Nobody had to remind them what Cory Aquino did for the Filipino people as a wife to Ninoy Aquino and as President of the Philippines. Most of those who are below thirty would be too young to remember the dark days of martial law, which Ferdinand Marcos purposely declared in order to extend his term beyond the constitutional limits. This is what the song “Pagkakaisa” meant when it says that hindi na babalik ang kadiliman, referring to the dark days of martial law, when the dictator and his oligarchs reigned to deny the Filipino people their freedom. This should serve fair warning to the people under the present dispensation who are trying very hard to keep Gloria Arroyo in power, including twisting the words of the Philippine Constitution in order to convene a constitutional assembly, in order to do away with the term limits of elective officials, or change the system of government from presidential to parliamentary.

This multitude would again come out in masse if any of these would happen. The Filipino people has not forgotten. The Filipino people will never forget. The Filipino will never allow their freedom to be taken away from them again. If I were President Arroyo, it would not be too late to imagine her end in mind. How would the Filipino people act when her time comes to bite the dust? Would it be in any manner like the adoration that was given to President Cory? Or would it be the same ignominy that Ferdinand Marcos continues to suffer, even in death. If I were in her place, I would at least approximate the admiration that her father the late President Diosdado Macapagal continues to enjoy for being one of the best Presidents of this Republic. No amount of wealth, power or influence can equal the kind verdict that history will give to the upright. But the love of a grateful people will last, even beyond the lifetimes of all your nearest relatives. Not even the billions of pesos plundered from the Philippine treasury would last forever. Joseph Estrada was also there at the funeral. Does he still intend to pursue his intention to run again as President? I just hope he knows that the adoration—if ever it is that—that he gets is not in any way similar to what the Filipino people gave to Cory Aquino. It was an expression of deep love and gratitude to a person who made a lot of difference in their lives. Ejercito’s crowd is primarily because of the Filipino people’s continuing fascination with movie stars. I hope that the renewal of the EDSA spirit brought about by its grandest Icon would last until the May 2010 election so that the Filipino electorate would once again elect more Cory Aquinos to run the government, and allow our nation to become great, finally. In 1986, the cry of the Filipino people was “Tama na. Sobra na. Palitan na.” Obviously, we did not mean it then, because even the cohorts of Ferdinand Marcos have been able to find their way back to almost every position in government. This time—for our own sakes—let us really mean it when we say, “Tama na lagi. Sobra na gyod. Ayaw na nang mga kurakot pabalika.”

The Philippines Loses Its Sincere Revolutionary
Scott Simon and August 1, 2009

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text sizeAAA August 1, 2009 Corazon Aquino had five children to raise. But as she told Newsweek in 1985, "Sometimes life does not proceed as you expected it to. You must deal with the circumstances you're in." Cory Aquino died yesterday, at the age of 76. She was living in suburban Boston with her family in the early 1980s after Ferdinand Marcos, the president of the Philippines, who had declared martial law and locked up his opponents, let her husband, Senator Benigno Aquino, out of prison after eight years so that he could have heart surgery. Benigno Aquino stayed on as a fellow at Harvard. Cory Aquino often told interviewers that those years in exile were her happiest. When your husband is thrown into jail for what he believes, in a country ruled by a dictator's words and whims, it is hard to trust that your children can be safe. But Cory Aquino had smuggled her husband's writings out of prison to rouse supporters to stay strong. She had brought messages back in to remind Benigno Aquino, in his isolation, that his words could inspire people he couldn't see. In Boston, the Aquinos could rest, heal, and be together. But by 1983, people struggling for democracy in the Philippines told Benigno Aquino they needed him. Cory Aquino

didn't want him to return; she understood that he had to. She stayed in Boston with their children. And on a blindingly hot day in August, 1983, Benigno Aquino stepped off the airplane that brought him back home to Manila — and was shot through the head and died. Corazon Aquino came back home for his funeral. And against all expectation — perhaps even her own — she stayed. "I am just one of the thousands and millions of victims of the Marcos dictatorship," she told crowds. "And I know very well that I am not the victim who has suffered the most. But . . . perhaps I am the best known . . . of Marcos' long list of victims." When she ran against Ferdinand Marcos for president in 1986, she conceded that she had little experience, and was short on proposals. "The only thing I can really offer the Filipino people," she said, "is my sincerity." That seemed revolutionary. As president of the Philippines, she fought back seven coup attempts. She displeased both leftists who wanted more radical land reform, and rightists who didn't want to talk to leftist radicals. Those of us lucky enough to have seen the peaceful revolutions in eastern Europe in 1989 will always think the example of this sincere, determined woman emboldened crowds in Berlin and Prague. Corazon Aquino didn't have the life she expected—and because of it, gave hopes to others that they could make better lives, too.

Corazon Aquino -- her sincerity was never in doubt
By: The Boston Globe 7/08/2009 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
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Corazon Aquino, the former Philippine president who was buried this week, never pretended to be a commanding leader. "The only thing I can really offer the Filipino people," she once said, "is my sincerity." That was enough to bring down dictator Ferdinand Marcos. She was a homemaker when her husband, Philippine opposition leader Benigno Aquino, was assassinated in 1983, upon his return to Manila from exile in Massachusetts. When Marcos called a snap election in 1986, "Cory" emerged as his rival. Her challenge to a fraudulent vote count raised an urgent moral question: Shouldn't the trappings of democracy actually mean something? She also challenged the United States, which long backed Marcos in the name of anti-communism. When millions of Aquino supporters, all in yellow, gathered in the streets, the Reagan administration had to acknowledge that defending democracy meant honouring the wishes of the Philippine populace. Once she took office, Aquino's "People Power" proved no match for economic stagnation and entrenched powers, and exhilarating rallies gave way to coup attempts against her. But the shortcomings of her presidency are almost beside the point. In the waning years of the Cold War, Aquino symbolized the universal human desire not to be lied to or schemed against. Her legacy was evident in Berlin in 1989 and Tehran in 2009.

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