Corazon Cojuango-Aquino: The Housewife Who Became A President

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Former Philippine president, Maria Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino, died early Saturday morning, August 1st 2009. After battling with cancer for a year,Tita Cory as she is lovingly called finally succumbed to her illness. A month before, people in the Philippines have already been doing prayer rallies and holding masses for her after they have learned that her condition turned for the worse.

Nothing was known much about her except for the fact that she was married to one of the most brilliant and charismatic personalities in Philippine politics, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino. During the turbulent years of the Marcos presidency, the Aquino family has suffered so much and have to endure a lot of pain and heartache for Ninoys ideology. I don't think his wife might have shared the same fervent love that Ninoy exhibited for his country but being a dutiful and loving wife, Cory stayed by his side and supported his political ambitions. Although, it didn't really hurt that much that they belong to one of the country's most affluent families, they were not spared the harsh realities of what a dictatorship can do to you regardless of your status and influence.

During the time that Ninoy was fighting for his political career, I felt that there was not much of a support for him coming from the Filipino masses. I guess that this could be attributed to the fact that since the Cojuangcos and the Aquinos came from the 1 % of the well-to-dos in a poverty stricken country, most Filipinos could not relate to them and think they are just into politics for whatever it could offer them aside from money ...  perhaps Fame, more Fortune and the most heady of it all, POWER.

However, all these things changed when Ninoy was shot and killed at the Manila International Airport (now "Ninoy Aquino" International Airport) on August 21, 1983 coming home to the Philippines after a 3 year exile in Boston, Massachusetts in the US. His blatant assassination woke the Filipinos from their slumber from political apathy. His death finally made the Filipinos realized that Ninoy truly loved his country and was willing to die for it as was his mantra for the several years that he was in jail. Or, maybe, he was a just an obstinate fool ... But whatever it was, Ninoy became the modern day hero of the Filipinos long suffering from the Marcos' oligarchy which then later on led to a full dictatorship.

His death brought to the forefront, his humble and quiet wife, who was more comfortable hidden in the background most of the time. Whoever, had the propitious idea to convince Cory Aquino to run for the presidency against Marcos in 1984 were either idealists or simpletons. I guess at that time nobody would really like to run against Marcos for to do so would be financial and political suicide. From what I remember, Cory took most of her advise from her spiritual advisers from the Catholic Church, being a devout and spiritual person herself. Besides, the thought that she could continue Ninoy's legacy and clear the Aquino name from all the charges brought up by the Marcos regime finally push her to accept the nomination. Unknowingly, it was a most auspicious move. From her nomination to her winning the presidency, everything about it was unconventional. Though at first, it seemed that she lost to Marcos during the snap election in 1986, the Filipino people catapulted her as the rightful winner by taking their sentiments to the streets with the rich, the poor, the young & the old, the church and later on the military all taking part in this momentous event in Philippine political history. This was the birth of the so-called "People Power". And for the first time in 26 years, the Filipinos took a stand and defied the Marcos regime amidst guns, tanks and uniformed officers still loyal to the Marcoses.

Though her presidency was wrought with a lot of uncertainties and ineptness, she tried her best to lead the country the best way she can. These however, drew criticisms to her even from those who initially supported her.  Sad to say but to take over the leadership of a nation, where 26 years of plundering by the Marcoses and his cronies, and restore the country towards a better future will be a gargantuan & herculean task to accomplished. Realistically, not even experienced statesmen, economists and businessmen could undo the damage that was left in the wake of the Marcos' greed and the thirst for power in a few years.

Cory might not have accomplished much during her years as president of the Philippines and as a result a lot of people where disillusioned but this has not diminished in any way her resolved to make a difference and set examples to her constituents. She stubbornly and continually lived a very simplistic life before, during and after her presidency shunning an ostentatious life even though she was to the manor born and could rightly afford it.

Though at first, she gave you the impression that she is weak and meek but with all the things that has happened to her, to her husband and to her family, one can discern that this woman's spirit is powered by her strong spiritual belief and faith.

Now, Cory is gone and needless to say, I am sure that she will be remembered with high esteem. She has indelibly sealed her place in Philippine history not only for being the first Philippine woman president but also for how she hurdled all the obstacles that she had to go through in life with quiet resolve. She has exuded a quiet elegance about her by perseveringly going on with her daily activities as the leader of her country. And though she was  reluctantly thrown into the limelight, she never really buckled down in public nor did she show any signs of weakness even if her detractors were eating her alive in the media everyday during her presidency.

For this alone, she has my admiration and respect.

I am sure that she is now happily reunited with Ninoy and finally enjoying the togetherness and happiness that have alluded their married life while on this earth.



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Big hugs and lots of kisses to my daughter, Karrol, for re-designing my blogsite. She is responsible for making my blog look cool... If you want to check out her own blog, visit K-Dream Palace and her contributing articles at AATheory.