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My Cory Impressions:Then and Now

Honestly, I don’t know personally former President Cory Aquino. All what I remember about her started way back in 1986 when she ran against the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. The chants “Cory! Cory!” were so familiar way back then. And when I reached High School, all what I hear about her was some of the negative remarks like, “Lalo tayong naghirap nung si Cory na ang presidente. Buti pa nung panahon ni Marcos, mura ang bilihin, madami syang pinagawa, disiplinado mga tao”. Then came the natural disasters like the 1990 Luzon Earthquake, 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption and the worst man-made catastrophes during her presidency- the several coup attempts against her government and the 10-12 hour long Luzon-wide blackouts.

Those were my impressions of her when I was a teenager. All was negative. She is always being compared to her predecessor, that she is weak compared to Marcos.

I can help but reflect the Exodus experience of Israel. The Israelites were, like Filipinos under the dictatorship, longing for freedom from slavery. And then came Moses to deliver them. But their short memory and impatience led them to grumble and complain against him.

” It was better for us when we were in Egypt, than to starve to death here in the desert.” (Exodus 16:2)

But as years gone by, my thoughts of her were transformed. it was only after she relinquished peacefully her powers to her successor (former President Fidel Ramos) that I came to understand and realize what she,her husband Ninoy were fighting for all throughout the years–our freedom and our democracy that once again is being tarnished by the present GMA administration.

I remember, I had a chance to shake her hands and congratulated her during the Philippine Centennial celebrations in 1998 at the Quirino Granstand. I simply told her, “Madam Cory, proud po ako sa inyo” and she replied to me with a smile and a firm grip on my hand, with a sincere and simple “Salamat.”

From then on, somehow, I started to believe in her cause. Not much about governance and managing the state affairs, but how she lived her life: a life of integrity and character amidst crisis. There I came to know the real Cory, not just as a President but as a woman of faith and hope.

Nobody’s perfect as the saying goes. And she too has her own shortcomings. But what Cory is admirable of is her inner strength as a person. From Ninoy, to her children particularly Kris, whom many know also underwent her ups and downs and to all Filipinos, Cory as wife, mother and President stood firm on her principles and convictions.

If there is one legacy Pres. Cory will leave us, it is her inner will to continue with life, not driven by political power but by faith and love for God who is truly the beginning and end of all things.

Thank you Tita Cory for your inspiration. My prayers are always for your best. Hindi po kayo nag-iisa.

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