[August 6, 2009]
“Hindi ko nga alam kung ano ang na-contribute ni Cory sa bansa natin eh” this was the exact phrase a younger office mate told me when I asked him if he was going to the wake or the funeral of Cory Aquino last Tuesday. I was surprised then, and I immediately asked him if he is fond of watching Naruto or Dragonball Z, in turn, he promptly said that he does. I said that given the numerous accomplishments of Cory Aquino, one is that he wouldn’t be watching Naruto if it wasn’t for Cory or the EDSA revolution. During the time of the dictatorship, even Voltes V was banned from the television. If it wasn’t for Cory, all anime or cartoons that insinuates revolting for freedom or a noble cause wouldn’t reach our shores, take the example or Burma or South Korea where even the Internet is policed or monks are massacred.
Now that conversation has got me asking, how could a generation just eight years my junior would have not known who and what Cory represents? Has the daily grind finally taken its toll on the Filipinos love for country? Did the Department of Education remove Philippine History from its curriculum already? Have we already drowned in the GMA-era that there are no more good people amongst us?
It is like what they always do whenever there is a rally for the betterment of our government; they would rather go to work or school.
Now we have a prime example of Filipino who sacrificed for her country, for her love of God, country and family and in that exact same order. Cory Aquino braved everything to give a democracy that is our basic right in the first place. Be it in the streets or in churches or in rain. be it with Jun Lozada or against a former ally she helped install to power, realizing the mistake she has done years after and admitting that mistake and asking for forgiveness—a trait that is only reserved for the purest and noblest of hearts. Cory Aquino has gave life to the words that if a little economic instability and getting drenched wet is the sacrifice we should make for a better country then we should all make that sacrifice.
The procession will pass along Quirino so we positioned ourselves on top of the island dividing the two lanes. It took over an hour for it to pass us and as we anxiously stood there waiting, the sun did shone and the rains subsided a little as the cortege was leaving Manila Cathedral, and if you believe in signs, that is one sign. Another is, according to our grandparents especially in the provinces, the heavens do weep when it rains on the day of the burial.
So there we were, and there were children and they were chanting CORY! CORY! CORY! And these were children, probably in the elementary level or should be in elementary but I guess their parents could not afford their education. They knew Cory, my officemate did not. These are kids; my officemate is an adult, so much for that. I was rubbing elbows with people of different races, age and smell. I told them this is history and we all are now part of one.
You go to the wake lining up for five hours or you wait or walk alongside the funeral procession for hours to give honor and show gratitude to the last great president of the Philippines.
If my grandchildren, if I were to live up to that age, were to ask me, where I was when Cory Aquino died, I could proudly tell them, that I wasn’t sleeping because it was a special non-working holiday; I wasn’t nursing a heavy hangover because a drank too much the evening before; I wasn’t allied with a fake president; I did not just let it pass because that day I was with Cory Aquino in the streets, waited for hours just to have a glimpse or some black and white photos of her casket passing by while flashing the Laban sign and feeling proud that I am a Filipino.
Even in death Cory Aquino served her last sacrifice to those who would abuse or again take back the freedom that she helped restore, if it wasn’t already not taken from us again in the first place. With the elections months away and talk of cha-cha is murmured in every coffee shop or tambayan. Cory’s funeral will serve as a warning to those squatting in power that if they continue to defame us as one people and nation, these many people that showed their gratitude for Cory can always again gather in same or higher numbers to thwart whatever unholy concoction they are brewing for them to stay in power forever. There are signs and there are warning signs. If you do not heed to a roadblock, the road always and most of the time end violently.
Up to now I still could not get over what my officemate said. I could brand him as one stupid idiot for saying so but I know the guy, being stupid is not what he is, but then again maybe he is one I may have been blinded by the fact that I look up to software engineers because I am also one, but maybe that is where the similarities end. You can be one very good programmer, but then you are just that. And in all honesty, not knowing what Cory did for our country is the height of one’s stupidity. For finality, it just now as I write this, that I am resigned to the fact that he truly is one stupid idiot.
It is what we do in this lifetime that will echo who we are in eternity. Cory Aquino’s echo is an eternity.
My generation or generations after me will tell that I live to see Michael Jackson, Barack Obama, Michael Jordan, the Eraserheads, Jim Cameron, Al Pacino, Ninoy Aquino, Neil Armstrong, Bill Gates, Francis Magalona, Steve Jobs, Manny Pacquiao and the like.
However, let me tell them more proudly that I lived during the lifetime of a great president and a national hero, St. Corazon Aquino.