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August 01, 2009


pino striccoli

I have come across ur blog just by chance and i find it really interesting .... i am italian and come to PI many times. I love Southeast asia and PI ...and i am myself involved in translations of works and news from this part of world. I am setting up a website/blog in italian about South East Asia, and i woukd like to translate some articles for it. of course with links and authors quoted. and direct link to ur blog. Pino Striccoli
My bog is at http://singa.altervista.org/pivotx/

Norman Sison

Hi, Pino. You summed up my thoughts about the country that started in 1983 when Ninoy Aquino was murdered. I was then a 14-year-old San Beda high school student. Grazie.



Jessica Zafra can go to hell !

The Philippine Island

May you rest in peace tita Cory. You've been a true leader in our country...






Blue, the comment was actually by an anonymous commenter, not by Norman, whose comment was the second in the thread.

It was a stupid comment though, I agree about that.

John dos Santos

"What is lost above all with the death of Cory Aquino is the sense of hope that she gave the country; the possibility that just once simple goodness and a spirit of human togetherness might be enough to win out over naked self-interest."

That is true--the passing of Tita Cory really closes the book on the EDSA revolution.


I was working in journalism in Hong Kong when Marcos was chased out of the Philippines, and Cory had history thrust upon her. But even from that distance I could see that for the Philippine people, she represented honesty (a rare commodity in politics in those days and these) and the power to change things through compassion and decency. But she never did, and once the sentimentality around her death passes, I think her legacy will probably be seen as a negative for the country.

An example. Our family helper told me this morning that as part of Cory's programme to redistribute agrarian land, her family was allotted a small plot near Iloilo. She showed me the certificates of transfer and said her family has been paying tax on the land ever since. But they have never set foot on it, thanks to collusion between the previous owner and local politicians and police. "The programme was just a promise," our helper said. "The government was not prepared to go through with it."

Across the Philippines, there must be hundreds of thousands of families like hers -- victims of a president who said she was guided by god to bring about equality and change, but who in the end changed little and protected the inequalities that favoured her and her kind.

You would think that this might be one of Cory's greatest regrets. But not so, apparently. When asked what was, she said she wished she had visited Jerusalem.

Pass the communion wine, can you, I think I need a drink.


To Torn & Frayed: Yes there are severe inequities in Philippine society, a society which I would best describe as feudal. To point out however that in Cory Aquino's wake, the VIPs breezed through while the rest of the masses waited in line, making it sound like this only happens in the Philippines is quite unfair. If a beloved head of state anywhere else in the world dies, and hundreds of thousands of people line up to view his/her remains, I guarantee you the same thing will happen. Are you claiming that when JFK was assassinated, congressmen, senators and other 'VIPs' were not accorded special priority in viewing his remains as he lay in state?

To John Dos Santos: I think your conclusion, based on your narrow prism of one Filipina's point of view, is quite wrong. Yes I wish Cory Aquino was Superman and Merlin combined and was able to magically solve the Philippines' social ills in one fell swoop. But she is just one person in a society beset with pathologies and inequities that trace their roots to 400 years of colonization. She restored democracy, political freedoms, and left a sterling example of personal integrity in government. These things will not by themselves solve society's ills, but these are the tools that are necessary if the people should choose, finally, to solve those ills. That Filipinos used them to elect corrupt and immoral leaders is not Cory's fault, it is the people's.

Democracy, liberty, and personal integrity. I don't know what planet you're from but in my planet that is certainly not a negative legacy.


Furthermore . . .

Do you really think that after EDSA I, Cory Aquino would have gotten away with not appointing Enrile to her cabinet? That would have been a big, big violation of the tenets of 'utang na loob' and she would have lost moral standing in the eyes of a lot of Filipinos who don't really understand the differences in ideology among the country's competing power centers.

I wished too back then that Enrile would have just opted to retire and bask in the nation's warm and affectionate regard for his actions at EDSA I. But he wanted a seat at the table and Cory, wisely, did not make the mistake of thinking that if Enrile was denied that seat then his capacity for mischief will be grossly curtailed. What was that old saying? Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.


Hi Torn. Thanks for the mention. Did you ask Satur why the extreme Left boycotted the snap elections and EDSA 1? :-)

I think political careers will always be chequered, no one gets out of political life with their reputation intact and there will be hardly any solid consensus on any political leader's legacy (except the tyrants and even they have followers).

For me, the question is: did she try? Did she, despite all the limitations, set an example? My answer is yes. Her tenure was marked by horrible mistakes. Yes, she could have done better in terms of social reform.
But we have to look at her life, as well as her presidency. I don't think we can separate the two. "Yo soy yo y mi circunstancia" I am myself and my circumstance. (Jose Ortega y Gasset)

I think this is what Satur and co. missed in 1985 and what many analysts misread today. To them Cory was bourgeois and that was all she could be. But Pinoys, I think, frame "democracy" and "politics" in a much less ideological way.

It's not just about policies, procedures and institutions--there are personal and moral elements that someone must embody within a democracy. Yes, movements are important, structures are important, but one person can also make a huge difference.

There is such an appreciation (some of it nostalgia) of Cory's decency and integrity and such a longing for these in contemporary politics. We'll see in the coming months whether these evolving political values consolidate and give rise to more potent reform movements.


Thanks to everyone for your comments.

John – In some ways I hope it does close the book on the EDSA revolution. The idea of Kris carrying the torch forward is too dreadful to contemplate.

Cogs – I think the case of your helper illustrates one of the great difficulties facing any president of this country. Although the expectations of the office are almost unlimited, in fact the writ of Malacañang does not extend far. The Philippines’ wide geographical spread and its heavily politicized local government and police allow the triumvirate that is keeping your helper from her land (landowners, local politicians and police) to do what they like almost everywhere. I am not saying that Cory couldn’t have done more to implement the CARP, especially with regard to her own family’s hacienda, but she is not the only president to find her role is more titular than actual.

Al – Perhaps you are right about the elite having favored access in most countries, I was just drawing a contrast between the rhetoric of a “people’s wake” that I heard on TV with the reality. Although I didn’t stand in line at FPJ’s wake, I did walk down the whole line and it seemed to me that it was moving steadily—the line at Greenhills was almost static!

There seems to quite a lot of wrong attribution in this thread—I think the comment on a negative legacy was from Cogs not John.

As for Enrile, I agree that Cory was in a very difficult position, especially, as you say, in view of the debt that she “owed” him and Ramos. Still, in retrospect, Enrile could hardly have created more difficulties for Aquino out of office than he did from within her cabinet. Not only did he actively support Honasan in his antics, the fact that Enrile was obviously conspiring against the “mere housewife,” promoted a perception of Aquino as a weak leader, an image she never quite shook off.

Carla – As for the left not contesting the 1986 election, the choice between legitimizing a blatantly fraudulent process and remaining out in the cold is always a tough one.
I agree that it will be interesting to see what impact all this has on next year’s election. My guess is: probably not much, unless GMA is misguided enough to pursue her Con-Ass agenda and to try to be elected prime minister. In that case, the contrast between Cory’s decency and Arroyo’s mendacity will be very clear (although it escaped several copy editors in the sometimes hilarious coverage of “President Arroyo’s funeral”).

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I could imagine the feeling of the Aquino family, theirs is a story everybody will be talking about for a long time. From the murder of their father Ninoy, to the death of their mother, ex-pres.Cory - its their destiny...

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She may not be the best president, but she did the best she could to lead the Filipino people to democracy. And she will always be remembered as the "Mother of Democracy." Cory was a true leader indeed!

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No one can ever replace the heroic act and patriotism of our dear beloved president Cory Aquino she is really a true inspiring heroine in this country, she did serve us with all that she could and I salute her for that.

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