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Feb 07th
Home Columns A Cup O' Kapeng Barako “Tita Cory,” the Filipino People’s “Uncanonized” Saint: A Dissenting Opinion
“Tita Cory,” the Filipino People’s “Uncanonized” Saint: A Dissenting Opinion PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - A Cup O' Kapeng Barako
Friday, 07 August 2009 09:32

She (Tita Cory) retained a whiff of sanctity even as her government rotted … -- Howard Chua-Eoan, TIME/CNN columnist


M ay she rest in peace.



Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, this political saint and former President of the Philippines, who the Filipino people fondly called, “Tita (Auntie) Cory,” and who was accidentally catapulted to power after her husband, Ninoy Aquino, was assassinated … you are all familiar with her story, right?


It’s been written and re-written that Tita Cory has now become like a legend and a myth … and a saint to most Filipinos.  When she was still living, she was photographed many times on her knees, in prayerful repose.  She was always praying.  Perhaps, praying for her family, praying for Ninoy and praying for the Filipino people … or perhaps praying for her rebellious and promiscuous daughter and bunso, Kris.  Tita Cory was a woman of prayers.


Yes, I, too, shed some tears when I watched her funeral services Tuesday on TFC (The Filipino Channel) of ABS-CBN.  It was truly like a Filipino soap opera made for Filipino viewers.


A nd me being a Filipino at heart, I couldn’t help myself shed those tears for Tita Cory.  She was a good mom, a good housewife, a good person, a person of prayers and all that good stuff.  But she was no leader!


As President, she was simply incompetent. Under her regime, lalung naghirap ang Pilipinas and if y’all remember, from BANGUS, GALUNGONG became the national fish and the staple ulam of many Filipinos.


And believe you me, I saw the worsening poverty in the Philippines when Tita Cory became the President.  I was in the Philippines when all that happened.  I’ve just retired from the U.S. Navy then and came home, and worked as editor of the Camp John Hay Newsletter in Baguio City.


TO HAWAII INSTEAD OF PAOAY: I also saw up close the first “people power” revolution in EDSA.  We, at John Hay, were monitoring closely what was happening in Manila.  And there was this colonel in the Philippine Army, who became a good friend and told me that “a THIRD PARTY had come in” between the Tita Cory/Juan Ponce Enrile/Fidel Ramos faction and the President Marcos/General Fabian Ver faction and that “all is lost” for Marcos and Ver.  And, y’all now who the “third party” were, right?


A couple of days later, before the raging waves of mob at the Malacanang gates finally crashed in and looted the Palace, helicopters from this third party flew in and landed and whisked Marcos and Ver and their families and entourage away …


And brought in at Clark US Air Force Base, where they boarded transport cargo planes and told that they’ll be flown to Paoay, Ilocos Norte, where the fierce and true Marcos loyalists were based.   But, as y’all know, they landed instead in Honolulu, Hawaii.


Kasi, itong mga Kanuto, when they speak, they speak through their noses, and Marcos and company, probably misheard “Hawaii” for “Paoay.”  And that’s how this part of Philippine History was made.


Let’s go back to the funeral: Yes, nakipaglibing din ako.  I silently paid my respects and uttered my prayers when Tita Cory was finally laid down to rest.


And I -- just like the millions of Fil-Ams here in America, who watched and heard the whole episode on TFC -- got carried away, too, with the emotions that Kris Aquino nakedly displayed, as she recited her eulogy for her Mom during that resplendent funeral services at the Manila Cathedral.


KRIS AQUINO’S EULOGY: It was a beautiful eulogy.  She spoke about her feelings, openly, sobbing at times.  She spoke about her relationship with her mom.  She spoke about her late dad, the beloved Ninoy Aquino.  She spoke of her parent’s love for each other … and their love for the Filipino people.  She spoke about the political legacy that her parents left to the country.


Though it was a eulogy, it was also, I think, a coming-of-age speech into the political arena.  A hint, perhaps.  A glimpse of a political ambition.  It’s in the genes after all.  And, as Tita Cory said while she was still alive, her bunso is her “father’s daughter” in many, many ways …   Let’s go back to the funeral.


POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE FUNERAL: Yes, it was a resplendent funeral, with all the pomp and circumstance funeral fit for king or a queen … or for a praying “saint,” like Tita Cory.  Si Cory, from what I understand, was the first non-clergy na ibinurol sa Manila Cathedral.  The church had only allowed clergies to be “viewed” there.  But Tita Cory was special to the Filipino people.  So the Catholic Church in the Philippines took an exception for her.


Watching the funeral rites that were held inside the cavernous, rich-looking church was like watching in panoramic detail the Philippines in a mammoth looking-glass bottle.  Inside the air-conditioned church were the elite of the country – the old money, the landed gentry, the Cojuangcos, the Ayalas, the Aquinos, the Lopezes, the corrupt politicians, the movie actors and actresses – all in their finest threads and sparkling jewels … whereas outside of the fenced-in church, in the intermittent rain and steamy heat, there the UNWASHED stood and strained their necks and gawked.


It was the perfect portrait of the Philippines!  The unwashed, always on the outside of the fence looking in, gawking and drooling at the displayed excesses of the rich and the privileged!


But back to Tita Cory.  These are excerpts of her obituary as written by the Associated Press: “Mrs. Aquino left a mixed legacy as President …  She proved an inept and indecisive leader in her country’s high-pressure and political culture …  She left agrarian reform to a newly-elected Congress dominated by rich landowners, and little changed hands in the feudalistic countryside ...


“Her administration had VERY LITTLE success in alleviating the grinding poverty that affects more than half of the population or in stamping out the nation’s endemic cronyism, graft and corruption …”  that by the end of her term, “she had lost much of the global goodwill that accompanied her ascension to power.”


But, of course, most Filipinos and Fil-Ams won’t hear none of that.  To them, Tita Cory was their SAVIOR and their SAINT.  Well, to me … she was the “GALUNGONG” President.


But still, I say, may she rest in peace.  She’s laid to rest now.  She’s been blessed over and over.  From what I heard, about TWO-HUNDRED Filipino priests, several bishops and the archbishop and a couple of cardinals blessed her.  Can you imagine that?  She’s been made a saint.


B ut when will the Filipino people lay to rest and bury the remains of President Ferdinand Marcos? Tita Cory, the “uncanonized” saint of the Filipino people and the woman of prayer and healing and forgiveness … couldn’t forgive to the very end.  JJ  



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Last Updated on Friday, 07 August 2009 09:50

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