I remember Cory Aquino well in the struggle to oust former President Ferdinand Marcos and restore democracy in the Philippines. I was a freshman in U.P. Diliman when an important page in the history of the Philippines unfolded.
As a 17-year old that time, I went to join the millions of people in EDSA and join the "unarmed forces" loyal to Cory Aquino without the knowledge of my parents who were in Mindanao. I thought nothing of the risk. There was a voice inside me that said we were in good hands.
I saw Madam President Corazon Aquino as the leader of the country that time. I saw Madam "Cory" Aquino as the leader of the "unarmed forces" at the forefront of the battle. The least I could do was follow her closely in the battle field, locking arms with the rest of my compatriots.
Around my third year in college, Cory Aquino was perhaps the only President in the Philippines with the most number of attempted coup d'etat. Yet she held her ground. (A popular media personality was charged with libel for saying Cory hid under the bed.)
Years after her term was over, Cory Aquino continued to be a source of inspiration and enlightenment for the country. Her influence never wavered.
Cory Aquino still IS a leader of the country. To be a leader is within the person, not on the title nor authority. To be a leader is even beyond life itself.
How do I honor you, Madam President? How do I tell your story to my son and daughter?
I remember you most for being there when the country was about to be torn badly apart in the year 1986. You were the glue that held the country together. For that I honor you.
I remember you for being the strong woman behind the man, Benigno Aquino, the country's foremost statesman in recent history, and the "President who never was" as one placard stated. For that I honor you.
I remember you for your faith in God. For that I honor you.
I remember you for being the mother of the country's democracy in its most critical moment of infancy. For that I honor you.
May you rest in peace, Madam President.
P.S. #1 Today, I'm watching on TV the funeral mass of the Madam President Cory Aquino. I don't usually watch TV. But this is the least I can do to share with the rest of my compatriots our collective sadness for the loss of a precious heroine.
P.S. #2. I am absolutely certain that Benigno Aquino is proudly meeting Cory Aquino at the gates of heaven at this very moment.
P.S. #3. It must have been tough being children of Benigno and Cory Aquino. For that I honor their children as well, for sharing their parents with us.