August 2, 2009 [last update: August 10, 2009] Special edition:
Passed away, by cause of colon cancer, was Corazon C Aquino, former President of the Republic of the Philippines. She is considered by many Filipinos as an icon of Philippine democracy. She became President by people’s power revolution that replaced deposed Prime Minister and President, Ferdinand E. Marcos, who went on exile to Guam [and then to Hawaii], in the height of Edsa-I revolution in 1986.
No, Edsa-I Revolution did or did not happen because of Ms Corazon C Aquino, as attributed to her. Everyone who knew will agree, Cory never said anything like that or never thought of herself as that.
She is not the “Mother of Democracy”, either. Philippine democracy already existed long before her time. Restorer of Democracy is a little bigger than life. Fact is, the Philippines was already in an elective Parliamentary form of government at the time of Edsa-I and no longer under a martial law.
No, it is not true that Interim Batasan Pambansa did not have any oppositionists. I was old enough at the time to remember. I remember there was only one opposition party that stood the onslaught of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, President Marcos’ party, at the ballots. Its name was Pusyon Bisaya, led by among them a young lawyer who much later became Supreme Court Chief Justice, Hilario Davide. Yes, there was an opposition party in the Interim Batasan Pambansa at that time, greatly out numbered though, and that’s a fact. I guess politicians always wanted to identify with the strong and mighty.
Lets go facts, sifting myths aside, giving credits where credit is due, no more no less, and so as not to twist young minds. Myth repeated a million times is still myth and won’t stand against a single fact or truth. [Some of them hurled against the one-time dictator are actually products of personal hatred caused by very deep wounds inflicted during martial rule.]
Fact is, President Marcos, under world pressure, was forced to call a presidential snap election in 1986. The oppositions had Ms Corazon C Aquino as candidate for president. In the course of the count, there was a walk-out at COMELEC over allegation of massive fraud in favor of the administration. That election was never concluded. The controversy was overtaken by a revolution: President Marcos was forced to leave the country, Corazon C Aquino was declared the new president. The issue of election fraud became moot and was soon after forgotten, truth buried with it.
Edsa Revolution showed Ms Corazon C Aquino in the spotlight again. The revolt started with defense secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and constabulary chief Fidel V Ramos standing up to Malacañang Palace. This was followed by the call of Jaime Cardinal Sin and the Bishops to support the revolt. People rallied in the streets. The rest is history.
As we can see, nobody has sole monopoly to own the glory of Edsa Revolution above anyone else. It came natural and never orchestrated. We have one social tension that had reached its breaking point that unfolded into history.
Edsa-I revolution was a culmination of a-not-so-really “bloodless struggle“as some people would like to call it. Ninoy Aquino was one victim.
People, and people alone, make history Mao Zedong.
Now, why would Mao Zedong be dragged in here and placed alongside Cory Aquino? I think they both have same things in common. No, I’m not comparing degree of greatness. I’m not talking about ideologies. I’m comparing qualities.
Both were seen as true. They never displayed selfishness. They never sought worship and praise, they never deified themselves – they just reaped them from the people. They found respect they never sought. Myth about them, if any, is by people captivated by them and never by them. That’s about them.
No, Corazon C Aquino did not force herself to people, to lead a revolution and to be their president later. By her own account, it was one of the hardest decision she made in her life – to accept the proposal, a consensus by people for her to stand the great challenge, of fronting civil disobedience. It must have took great courage for her to do it. A courageous woman as U.S. President Barack Obama simply conveyed. A gift from God to the Filipino people … as the Church in Vatican has preferred to put it. Destiny fell on her lap.
It’s been known that during her presidency, Cory was prodded by others around her to try to extend herself in power beyond her term and as interim President. She declined them all. I think Cory learned some lessons from President Ferdinand E. Marcos himself. That after two decades of presidential, later martial, and finally parliamentary rule, President Marcos failed to deliver his promises – making this nation great again – to the Filipino people. And he failed to see himself, still thinking he was doing great in the eyes of his people, which is what he was when Marcos first ascended in Malacañang.
Cory Aquino, after 6 years in power, giving her all, knowing herself and knowing history, never saw herself great. She had abhorred any notion of her perpetuating herself in power. I think it was honesty aside from unselfishness that was the driver in her.
Surely, she had shortcomings if we need to search for some. I guess we can blame them all to her limitations and never to any bad intention. And whatever, they were all absolved by her display of unquestionable honesty to herself, which I think is her greatest legacy. [One cannot be honest to people if she cannot even be honest to self. Ok, one is either honest or he/she is not.] And that, with all other virtues, spell high integrity that she had struggled hard to preserve forever.
Welcome to your place in history Ma’am!
Red, Yellow, and Blue flowers left by common people…may not look beautiful to some. But they are real. Heroes deserve nothing but real. No place for myth.