Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Last woman standing

"Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do,
Yeah, they were all yellow."

As I continue to watch TV news coverage of former President Corazon Aquino's wake, and the staggering response to her death from the people of the Philippines, it hits me that our country has lost perhaps our last true Filipino icon (no, Manny Pacquiao does NOT count).

Tita Cory may not have been the most competent president our nation has had, but she was an outstanding leader in every other sense, from her unstinting fortitude to her unwavering faith to her unquestioned integrity. She inspired people to believe in the values of truth, freedom and democracy, and she tried as best she could to lead by example. In the political arena where playing dirty is not only tolerated but expected, Cory was the woman warrior who remained clean and fought the good fight. In an interview with TV Patrol, a contrite Rex Robles (who led one of the several military coups that marred the Aquino administration) said that even though Cory made mistakes during her term, they were "honest mistakes". Honest. Now there's a word we don't use to describe anyone in government anymore.

Even after her presidency, Cory Aquino stood as a symbol of hope and patriotism, and the spirit of People Power lived in her. It is indeed cause for sorrow that she is now gone, but it would be even more tragic if we allow that same spirit that she ignited in us to be extinguished with her passing. The best way to honor Tita Cory's legacy is to keep the faith alive, continue the fight against corruption and greed and all the insidious forces that threaten our nation from within, and uphold everything that is good and decent and proud about the Filipino.

She loved us that much. We owe her, and ourselves, that much.
Tuloy ang laban.

Corazon Aquino, 1933-2009


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