POSTSCRIPT / August 4, 2009 / Tuesday


Philippine STAR Columnist

Share This

Pride and politics stain solemnity of Cory rites

STATE HONORS: It is really none of my business, but the question over state honors for the late Cory Aquino and Gloria Arroyo’s plan pay her respect at the wake have become public issues open to fair comment.

State honors for a deceased president are not personally accorded by the incumbent Chief of State, but by a grateful, loving people represented by the government. Partisan politics should not be allowed to stain the ritual dictated by tradition and proper norms.

In my view, the people’s massive outpouring, the role of the police and the armed forces in securing and honoring their fallen Commander-in-Chief, plus the solemn rites of the Church — taken together — was substantial state honors.

The only element missing is the former President’s lying in state in Malacañang. But that detail recedes to nothingness against the spontaneous display of love from the people whom she had served with honesty and integrity.

* * *

CHILDISH: If President Arroyo, like thousands of others paying their last respects, goes to the wake at the Manila cathedral, Noynoy and Kris Aquino will lose nothing acknowledging the gesture in good faith and showing some appreciation.

After all, the Aquino siblings were properly appreciative of similar gestures of the Marcoses and the Estradas, although these personalities have had political differences with their mother.

As for the reassignment of two security personnel of Cory (which Malacañang said happened without its direction and is now being corrected) that Kris cited as another reason for turning down state honors, I think the excuse given was childish.

Maybe the more mature members of the Aquino-Cojuangco clan could offer advice on how to handle such awkward situations.

* * *

CONTEXT: The historical context of Ninoy Aquino’s death in 1983 is different from that of his widow. Ninoy was murdered with supreme arrogance while in the bloody hands of the Marcos regime.

In contrast, Cory succumbed to colorectal cancer over which Gloria Arroyo had no control. Ninoy’s widow was not jailed, harassed, humiliated, tortured and killed by agents of the administration.

It is understandable, even justifiable, that Ninoy’s assassination sharpened political combat against the dictatorship. On the other hand, the natural death of Cory may not be a good excuse for partisans to trigger vengeful belligerence against the administration.

* * *

SHOWBIZ BIT: The mention by Noynoy of various scandals still being investigated (no judgment of guilt has been handed down by the courts) looked like a lame attempt to justify his rejection of proffered state honors.

His remark betrayed the politics still lurking in his mind. That was unfortunate, because the universal message at this time should be one of unity and goodwill.

These delicate questions surrounding the demise and coming interment of Cory should not be handled like the usual showbiz and political tidbits. They should be treated with a little more delicacy, and maturity.

We understand the tremendous stress being experienced by Noynoy and Kris. Maybe later they would be able to relax a bit and open up their minds and hearts.

* * *

WILL IT LAST?: The huge crowds at the La Salle Greenhills wake and along the route to the Manila Cathedral where Cory will lie in state before her burial tomorrow have been overwhelming.

There is a message in the crowd turnout for those who know how to read the public pulse.

Meantime, we should be able to find our way out of the trivial details of state honors that have threatened to spoil the solemnity of the occasion and blur its message.

When all is said and done, however, I am confident that we will find the Filipino people — galvanized once again by Cory’s passing — united and primed for something big.

… But one wonders: How long will the Cory-inspired search for truth and resolve for change last?

* * *

FORESHOCKS: Whether you were with the surging crowd with a ground-level view of the convoy to the cathedral or watching the proceedings on TV, you cannot help sensing the rumblings that seem to presage a major tremor.

If you were old enough to have experienced the first EDSA Revolt and witnessed or participated in the funeral procession of Ninoy in 1983, you would understand what I am saying.

Not a few people were asking yesterday if the outpouring for Cory could lead to an upheaval that may prematurely unseat President Arroyo with some groups taking advantage of the unrest.

It is actually not that simple. But one thing is sure: These are indeed interesting times.

* * *

LAST WORD: LAST WORD: Another thing is sure, which is — as we said last Sunday — that Cory’s children will now have to share their mom with the rest of us. Having transcended the self by dedicating her life to serving others, Cory is now part of all of us.

Before concluding her earthly life and taking the hand of Ninoy to join him, Cory imparted this guiding message to her children gathered by her sickbed: Help one another.

She could have been addressing all of us Filipinos in search of liberation.

This calls to mind one of the last words of Christ. As He hanged dying on the cross, He told His mother Mary, “Woman, this is your son,” then told His disciple John, “This is your mother.”

The admonition for the faithful to look after one another is best appreciated in this catholic or universal sense.

* * *

(First published in the Philippine STAR of August 4, 2009)

Share your thoughts.

Your email address will not be published.