POSTSCRIPT / August 6, 2009 / Thursday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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We’re missing the lesson of Cory’s life and death?

FEEDBACK: Our beloved Cory Aquino has been laid to rest.

But not a few political issues magnified by Malacanang’s hesitant (read as calculating) handling of the funeral of a former President and the indelicate reactions of some members of the bereaved Aquino family.

My last Postscript (Aug. 4, 2009) on Noynoy and Kris Aquino indicating their not wanting to see President Arroyo coming to their mom’s wake to pay her respects kicked up so much emotional discussion running to some 30 pages when printed from the PhilSTAR website.

Here are some readers’ reactions, edited for brevity, although these items are not a fair representation of the total:

Miracle: You articulated my thoughts on Cory’s wake and her family’s handling of everything. Cory is the symbol of democracy and I admire her facing the leadership challenges thrust upon her. But it was us Filipinos and not only Cory who fought for democracy. This is a victory of Filipinos and not of one person only. Cory also had many shortcomings as a leader and that was why her administration was beleaguered by criticisms and coup attempts. The same with other administrations after her, they failed us in a lot of ways.

Pi Berg: You have judged Noynoy and Kris unfairly without giving them even the tiniest bit of leeway, considering what they as a family have gone through. You should have at least given them a few more days before you came up with your sharp comments/judgment. If you had only waited a day or two, you would have been happy to know a statement from the family was released saying Gloria can come to the wake.

Nenevic: I agree 100 percent that “Pride and politics stain solemnity of Cory rites.” What a childish and showbiz attitude. They speak of love, respect and unity, but look at what they are doing. Let’s pray and do our share to help our beloved country.

Kidlat dela cruz: Granted Cory is a public figure, but ultimately it is the sentiments of the Aquino family especially the ones closest to her that must be respected. This transcends all other considerations. Gloria Arroyo has no right to intrude and impose herself in this private occasion no matter if she is the president.

Mllacuna: People understand how Noynoy and Kris feel. The whole world sympathizes with them. But they will get more sympathy if they choose their words, because the whole world is listening and watching. No matter how upset they are, they should keep their composure and put things in proper perspective. Nagiging parang showbiz na ang pagkamatay ni Mrs. Aquino.

Mikhael: Right now the people are united not out of common anger, but out of love and respect for Tita Cory. I’m disappointed with Noynoy for being the typical politician by preaching hatred and disunity. The Palace has apologized for the mistake in security re-assignments. Whether the mistake was intentional or not is beside the point. Let us not dishonor Tita Cory by politicking during these times.

Jasonnaez: Thank you for articulating the sentiments of many silent citizens. A state funeral, as a tradition freely accorded by a grateful nation, should be treated absolutely devoid of any political consideration. It is a pity that, even in mourning a humble and great leader, we could not even make it through with utmost decency and respect. President Aquino, during her fruitful days, displayed tremendous courage in being magnanimous and gallant towards her political adversaries. Let us emulate her examples in life. By doing so we will be giving her the honor she rightfully deserves.

Gabriel Pichon: I agree fully with your column. It was foolish for Kris to go on TV in a still emotional state. Though her account was riveting, her having to interject bitter sentiments like stating a pullout of the security detail made her appear childish. Her reading it to Boy Abunda and consequently to all viewers made it seem a bit too overly dramatic. I know the terrible pain of loss. But small details such as why a family is bitter about something or how an expensive watch was a gift from a daughter is better left discussed within the confines of family and close friends. I don’t think the administration offer of a state funeral was less sincere than Marcoses or Estradas visiting and praying for her. Maybe they should not have been the ones allowed to speak to media.

Another disturbing scene in the TV coverage was some personalities interjecting politics. Just like Risa Hontiveros having to mention “kasama ko siya nung ninakaw ang eleksyon nung 2004” in her eulogy. A wake is no place to bring up such issues. The wake is all about the mourning of a person’s passing and the celebration of the life that person lived. What I didn’t want to see was Cory’s wake and funeral to be trivialized.

The Lord knows I am not an ardent supporter of the administration. In fact the levels of corruption it is accused of leaves me utterly disgusted. But I can understand a moment when politics should be set aside, arms laid down, out of deference to a great person. In all our years with Cory Aquino as a moral compass, we can honestly say that what Cory stood for was peace and unity. Cory fought for what was good. She had unyielding faith in God and in us. She made us proud to be Filipinos. I would like to think that her thoughts in her final hours, just like any true faithful Catholic, were “pinapatawad ko na sila.”

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of August 6, 2009)

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