Good-bye, Tita Cory.
Beloved President. Icon of determination and honesty. Symbol of pro-God living and prayerful attitude to everything. Woman of moral and humble leadership. Mother of our democracy, freedom and liberty. Our Jean d’Arc in yellow.
I remember when you took your oath of office at the Club Filipino at Greenhills in February 25, 1986. All of us there outside —mostly men, few women— were quiet and expectant. When your voice rang through the public address system, saying, “I, Corazon Cojuangco Aquino…”, many of us bowed down, gazed upward, or stoically looked ahead, not looking at anyone, because most, if not all, were trying to hide a tear or two. Some were even sniffling, others were silently weeping, because finally you were to become president. All of us realize we are at a historic moment, and although President Marcos also claimed the presidency, we know you were the one we voted for, the one really true leader of the nation.
I remember you during the rallies at the Ayala, Makati area, the only ones I was able to attend because of my work. I remember following your request to boycott the products of several large companies who supported Marcos, and drank the beer of the other company even though the beer has a bitter aftertaste I don’t like. I remember believing whatever you said because I can feel your sincerity in and the rationality of what you were saying. I remember getting out of office earlier, or dawdling in Makati, just to join a rally you called, and wanting to hear you speak.
I remember my readiness to join protest rallies if Doy Laurel were chosen instead of you to be the presidential candidate against Marcos in the snap elections. The rallies were being contemplated by some people who were affronted by Laurel’s attempts to grab political ‘leadership’. I would have joined if they called for the rallies, because the rallies would have been for you. We wanted you to lead the nation politically, as you were leading it then morally and democratically. We were one nation – a unified people– when you were there to lead us.
I remember going to EDSA during the Peaceful Revolution only because Enrile and Ramos were against Marcos and therefore should be for you. I would have participated actively instead of being just a passive witness if more action from the people was needed at the time. I considered myself then to be just part of the ‘reserve’ of the ‘unarmed forces’ waiting to fight for you and your leadership if needed. But I was glad when it did not become necessary.
And I was happy when I witnessed your taking oath, realizing that at last the fortunes of the country and the Filipino people was taking a turn for the better. At last with your presidency we can look to a better future. And we were very proud to have you as president, even though we realized that after Marcos it will be a very difficult time for anyone at Malacanang. But we had faith in you as we continued to have faith in you afterwards, long afterwards, and even today.
I tied some yellow ribbons in my motorcycle to demonstrate my wish that you stay with us, perhaps the only vehicle with yellow ribbons in Puerto Princesa City for a few days. But my –our– wish was not granted. In the end, it was His desire that you be with Him.
So good-bye, Tita Cory. We would have wanted you to stay with us longer, but God maybe has other plans. With the nation and country in great uncertainty these days, many of us may want you to lead us again, but that was not to be, for God may have intended otherwise.
Good-bye, Tita Cory. It is a privilege and an honor to have lived a life in the historic days where and when you were the central figure. The nation loves you and perhaps will never forget you. Good-bye, Tita Cory. May God bless you as He blessed us with you. Even for just a while. Dominus tecum.
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