Photo courtesy of http://fjsanchez.wordpress.com/2009/07/13/yellow/
Cory, renowned around the world as the woman in yellow, ascended the Philippine presidency as a simple housewife. Widow of slain oppositionist senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. and mother to Ballsy, Pinky, Noynoy, Viel and Kris, she was the political neophyte who led the country to topple then President Ferdinand Marcos and his martial law. The chief executive who made charter change hip, the iron lady who survived all of 7 coup attempts during her term and the woman who quietly stripped the title “President” off her name after six years, and resumed her life as Citizen Cory.
Who was this woman? Many people around the world ask. What has endeared her so to an ailing nation as ours? I was perplexed with this question more than ever, yesterday, as I watched her funeral march. Was it because she became president? Was it because she was Ninoy’s wife? Or was it because she was Kris’ mother?
Before I closed my eyes to sleep last night, I answered all these questions with “No”. It became clear to me that love poured unto her, because she was Cory. Simply Cory.
She was an exemplary woman. She was born with a silver spoon, and yet, her heart went out for the poor. She underwent the worst of times as a wife, when her husband was shot dead. She had everything this life could offer, but she could not get back her husband’s life or even the justice her loss deserved. This painful reality did not stop her from joining the causes of people who, just like her, were oppressed by untruths, even after her stint as President.
Apart from all these achievements, the greatest strength that Cory exhibited all through her life is her success as Cory, the family woman. As a politician’s wife, she painstakingly stood beside her man, as he campaigned for office, as he stood on the podium to defy the dictatorship, and made up for the absence of the father of the family to their children. When she addressed the joint US Congress, as she assumed the role as President of the Republic, she capped her ovation-filled address, defying all protocol, by thanking the United States for the refuge it provided her family, saying that their years spent there were the best of her life.
She unabashedly expressed her undying love and support to her children in countless instances, in each of her youngest daughter’s showbiz pursuits and her only son’s political career. (Watch here her endorsement of son Noynoy’s senatorial bid).
On her deathbed, after her tumultuous and glorious career as a public servant and Philippine icon, she yearned for her heart’s most earnest desire, to be back together with her life’s love, Ninoy. To the core, she never changed. She remained as that simple housewife, devoid of power and fame, eager to join her husband and her Creator.
Through it all, Cory remained her own person. The unassuming leader, the quiet widow, the doting mother, who widened her family circle to embrace an entire nation. She led this country as she would lead her family. With this in mind, I am convinced that there will never be another Cory. Because her departure felt to every Filipino like losing a mother. I think that no other leader will have this kind of impact. Not ever.
Her life showed us that only simple things will make life full of substance. A life of truth, simplicity, love for God and others. Not power, not money, not a life for ourselves and ourselves alone.
Her death rekindled in us Filipinos that we still have the ability to love our Philippines. Now is the time to show it, not later. The Philippines is no longer her responsibility, but ours.
Hindi mamaya na, ngayon na…
Hindi na kanya, akin na…
There once lived a woman named Cory. To her, all my love and dearest thanks.