Cory is God's gift to the Filipino people
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2009-08-02

“Cory is God’s gift to the Filipino people” was how the late Jaime Cardinal Sin described former president Cory C. Aquino when we met with him in his Palace while forming the COPA (Council on Philippine Affairs) in 1998. Cardinal Sin was COPA’s sponsor and spiritual leader.

Cory and Cardinal Sin are the two icons of the February 21 to 25, 1986 People Power Revolution that has since inspired non-violent activism all over the world as the means for deposing despots. Together, they once again provided the guidance to the 2001 edition of People Power which ousted a plundering president.

Cardinal Sin would not have had the confidence to call former president Cory C. Aquino as “God’s gift to the Filipino people” if he did not know the spirituality of Cory C. Aquino. No Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church would have honored a person with that accolade sans the confidence that the person faithfully walks in the light of God.

And who would deny that Cory C. Aquino indeed walked in the light of God? Who would argue that the circumstances of her rise to power were made in Heaven? How she led us to oust the Marcos dictatorship and how she survived those coup attempts against her presidency are indicative of the umbrella of protection extended to her by the Almighty.

Even in the circumstances of Cory’s passing, one could hear the footsteps of God, to borrow the term used by German Chancellor Otto Von Bismark. The circumstances of her cancer death gave the Filipinos the time frame to reflect on what Cory meant to them and how they deeply loved her.

We were fervently praying for a miracle — for Cory to be with us longer. But we must not overlook that God may have opted to perform another miracle instead. A miracle is an act that creates faith. Who would deny that the cancer ordeal of Cory brought our nation to its knees and reminded us that during the most crucial moments in our lives we can only run to God?

What could be more historic than God’s choosing the first day of August as the date to recall Cory back to His bosom? Many momentous historic events have happened on the month of August, among them World War I which continues to shape world events to this day. Who knows what God has prepared for our nation with the passing of Cory as the signal event?

We like to call Cory the mother of our democracy and it is a fitting tribute indeed. Now that we’ve lost our mother, it is high time we Filipinos matured as a democracy. In life, we start to mature after we sever the umbilical cord that tied us to our mother.

Who could deny the hand of God in the timing of Cory’s passing and how we have been brought to recall our democratic values and 1986 heroism? This happens at a time when our democracy is again being threatened. Before Cory’s hospital ordeal became our daily concern, we were engulfed by the cynicism that we are hopeless against the greedy and predatory oligarchy that monopolizes political and economic power in our country.

Who could deny the hand of God in the way we rediscovered our real Cory in the wake of the defamation campaign she underwent from political forces that felt threatened by her championing the values of democracy? How many had been misled to entertaining the falsehoods that paid hacks had been peddling against Cory?

The systematic demolition happened right after Cory called for the resignation of Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the wake of the 2004 elections Garci Tapes scandal.

In a subsequent dinner at the Cojuangco Forbes Park home, Cory shared with me how badly she felt over the way she was then being vilified. Cory said: “Billy, I had undergone a lot of these black propaganda attacks and vilification under the Marcos regime and our political opponents when I was still president. But I am shocked at the viciousness of this one.”

I suppose Cory could not believe how these vicious attacks could be coming from a regime that owed its existence to her and Cardinal Sin’s insistence that constitutional succession be followed when then President Joseph Estrada was ousted by People Power II. Seeing no salvation under Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, most of the real movers of People Power II wanted a transition government in order to attain real reform.

Even during the 1986 Snap Election Campaign, many of us were worried how the inexperienced Cory could slip and make a devastating mistake. We in the Cory Aquino Media Bureau were amazed at how the neophyte and reluctant politician displayed immense political savvy and never stumbled even while fighting one of the wiliest politicians we ever produced — Ferdinand E. Marcos.

There were those who said that the long association with Ninoy Aquino must have prepared her for the role she took in history. But Ninoy was no longer there to counsel her for the challenges that confronted her after the fateful August 21, 1983 assassination. We can only conclude that God never abandoned the child who never ceased to seek His counsel.

The 1986 People Power event was also called the EDSA Miracle. Indeed, it was a trail of unstinting faith. It started with the faith of an exiled leader of the Opposition in the ability of his people to win back their democracy. Upon his death, that faith was continued by the most unlikely successor — the widow Cory C. Aquino.

The power of that faith reverberated all over a shackled nation. Once called a nation of cowards by a US Vice President, Filipinos soon found faith in their ability to take their fate into their own hands and we thus regained our freedom and our democracy.

Cory was the inspiration and the living symbol of that faith. But it became a miracle when we allowed that faith to flourish in our hearts. It culminated in the five days of February in 1986 when millions of heroes, armed with prayer and physical presence, ended a dictatorship.

Faith in ourselves, faith in our democratic values, faith in God and unity form the legacy that Cory left us. Cory is now with her Maker and her glorious chapter in history has already been completed.

It is now up to our nation to nurture that faith and write the best chapters of our nation’s history — when we finally attain enlightenment, unity and political and economic emancipation.

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