Former President Cory Aquino’s (1933-2009) demise did rend my heart. It did because she hung right there in that node in my political development during the latter 80s. I was an “EDSA baby” as my fanboyism with Marcos then ended when my foray into activism began.
I had a neither-hate-nor-like appreciation of Tita Cory (that was our usual term of endearment for her). The right side of my mind says she did great for the nation for leading the way to freedom without bloodshed. But the left side kept haunting saying that she wasted the dearly-earned freedom by letting oppression prevail (my political officer even argued that the EDSA uprising was not the correct path to change). Ah, I do remember what the national-democratic movement impressed on us at that time: That the Aquino government became the precursor and agent of the CIA-sponsored Low Intensity Conflict (LIC) that caused a great number of human rights violations particularly in the countryside. (This was the mantra that continued to play on in my mind even during the days of my campus paper involvement in college.)
There were surely many criticisms at the Aquino regime that practically outshone raves it had enjoyed from all over the world. Because of my deep involvement in student activism then, I was conditioned to think of the Aquino regime as no better compared to its predecessor. My political officer, while leading a basic course in an ED (our term for education activity), told us that dialectical materialism, or the revolution, for that matter, did not allow for centrism to influence our view of the path to change. It was plainly black or white. Or red or yellow. If you’re for real change, go red. If not, you’re yellow. And if you’re yellow, you’re actually an enemy of change.
I really feel sorry that during those days, I lived apathetic to Tita Cory. At best, though, this was a great disposition despite the flurry of critiques hurled at her at her every utterance of ‘propaganda’ statements. Remember that “mura pa din ang galunggong” statement of hers? In no time did we lash back at her as soon as the price of galunggong went up.
I even had the political reason to join the movement against her, along with her family, because of the Hacienda Luisita case, which had lives lost and which remains untouched for land reform. But I remained apathetic. Perhaps, that noble contribution of Tita Cory (of being our leader for the so-called “EDSA revolution”) served to counterveil or offset my supposed hatred of her administration.
It’s really sad that I had to be frank about my view of her in the wake of her passing away. But I have to admit that while I wrote this post, my eyes turned teary, re-realizing (my own concocted word) the great deed she contributed to our nation, which vindicated the great Ninoy Aquino’s death and pleased our God of history and peace.
Indeed, no one can escape from the fact that despite the failings of her administration, Tita Cory wrote a page for world history and sits beside Gandhi and other greats pushing for peaceful revolutions. May she continue to reign in our hearts of hearts and bring forth newfound hopes for Filipinos for real change. Perhaps her demise says it all: Let’s start working together NOW.