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REDISCOVER Corazon “Cory” Aquino

President Corazon "Cory" Aquino (1933-2009)

President Corazon "Cory" Aquino (1933-2009) (Photo from

The pounding rains during the early morning of August 1, superstitiously, brought the sad news.

The first woman president of the Philippines and Southeast Asia, Corazon “Cory” Aquino, had passed away, after a year and six months of battle against colon cancer. She was 76.

From an affluent family, to a devoted housewife and mother to five children, to a widow, a devout Roman Catholic, and an unexpected heroine, Tita Cory had lived such a life.

Her administration maybe marred by several coups, and however womanly and afraid at times (as she was described in a TV interview yesterday by one of her former military aids), she never succumbed to pressure.

Her six years as president was also characterized by a struggling economy, but many acknowledges that her concentration to restore democracy after more than two decades of dictatorial rule, led to a more stable environment for the Philippines to grow economically, as what the following administration of Fidel V. Ramos managed to do.

Many also criticized Tita Cory for her seemingly lack of support to the arts, culture, and the media and entertainment industries. An anecdote I remember related to this was shared to my History in Broadcasting class last semester by no less the Asia’s Queen of Songs, Pilita Corrales: She recalls that during a banquet she and fellow artists hosted for then newly installed president Tita Cory, Pilita remembers that the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. wrote her a “fan mail,” saying how good her show, An Evening with Pilita. Tita Cory affirmed that to her, saying that Ninoy would come home early whenever it was Pilita’s show on TV, and she had to wait until Ninoy finishes watching.

While such anecdote maybe atypical of a wife’s concern over her husband’s TV habits, and if it seemingly sounded of Tita Cory’s being not interested in anything that’s media, ABS-CBN CEO Gabby Lopez, Jr. acknowledged last night in a vigil they were holding for Tita Cory, that if not for the late president’s decision to return to the Lopezes their businesses, including ABS-CBN (among returning other sequested assets to their rightful owners), we would not have the TV as we enjoy it today.

Tita Cory never withdrawn from the scene. Whenever her presence was sought, she was seemingly ready to be the calm voice of reason amidst warring political interests in this country.

For my generation – and those younger – she would probably best remembered as a mother to TV personality Kris Aquino (who said in a TV interview earlier with fellow TV host Boy Abunda, that she said sorry to her mother for the times she was not the daughter Tita Cory wanted her to be. (Remember the scene when Tita Cory approached Kris and the latter tearfully hugged her after her “I-have-STD” confession on public TV?).

She was not only the mother to Kris and her siblings, anyone could identify her as more than a former president, a global symbol of democracy, but also as a mother to her beloved country, Philippines – a respect she earned, and as remarked recently, a respect that our current president would never have (good thing she decided to cut her US trip short – it could probably the most decent thing she could do, after a week of bragging through her State of the Nation Address and a hearty exchange of laughter with US President Barack Obama).

Tita Cory maybe gone, but her legacy will remain. The outpouring of support the nation have showed (through prayers, vigils, and yellow ribbons everywhere), and even her family’s political opponents (Kris thanked the Marcoses earlier for praying for her late mother, and former President Joseph Estrada, who was ousted in 2001, with Tita Cory on the forefront of the oust movement, became an unlikely friend of the Aquinos in their trying times) only prove that the Philippines had such one admirable, decent, simple leader – traits that we hope our next president will have.


Written by Lynda C. Corpuz

August 2, 2009 at 9:04 pm

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