Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The makings of a heroic icon

AGAINST the backdrop of a sullied political dispensation of the present and an equally murky conjugal regime of a haunting past, there maybe no mistaking to the observation of CBCP President and Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo that no couple in Philippines history has had a greater positive impact than the late Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. and his wife, former President Corazon Aquino.

Both of them have lived and believed that “the Filipino is worth dying for”.

And that comes so nostalgic and endearing for both the masses and the literati especially in the face of an exact antithesis where thousands of Filipinos are dying of adversity because their leaders have not valued their worth and where the value of the common good is totally eclipsed by selfish if greedy pursuits. Indeed, there is not any dearth of leaders around here today with greater negative impact on the Filipino than what we all have in mind.

That was the reason why Filipinos spontaneously got to their feet in hundreds of thousands to accompany Cory’s funeral march in Manila, in their own provinces at requiem masses in churches and even in several Filipino communities abroad—comparable only in dignity and meaning to the one of her husband’s in August of 198; and that of Mother Theresa in July of 1997 and Mahatma Gandhi in February of 1948.

That was the reason, too, why the Church of Manila opened the doors of the Metropolitan Cathedral for Cory’s wake—a fitting privilege reserved only for the Archbishops of the Archdiocese being shepherds willing to die for their flock.

“More than an icon of democracy Cory was and is to me my personal symbol of Inang Bayan, our beloved Motherland,” said Archbishop Orlando Quevedo.

“As a President, she demonstrated to all of us the clear example of how to live beyond oneself, how to hold sacrifice as the raison d’ĂȘtre of accepting to assume the presidency of a ruined country, inspite of her repeated confession that it was an office to which she was not born for,” according to Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi.

“Selfless giving was her one great promise, and she fulfilled it not only when she took power at EDSA, not only when she governed us for six years, but most importantly, at the peaceful transfer of power from her to the next duly elected president in 1992…Today, selfless giving is a pipe dream. Today, shameless self-promotion is the order of the day,” so said Ricardo Cardinal Vidal in his homily.

“Former President Corazon C. Aquino showed everyone that it is possible to be a Catholic, a Filipino and a politician and remain incorruptible,” said Bishop Francisco Claver.

For Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Cory Aquino was not just the president that gave back to the Filipinos their freedom and democracy, she “was both president and icon of what an authentic, truthful and honest leader was to a people whose long experience was to look for a guide who would lead them out of history’s cruel political disarray.”

Without sounding too simplistic, the roadmap to a respectable and progressive Philippines is right at the characters of both Cory and Ninoy. All that a Filipino has to do is hold firm to his ballot in 2010 and in succeeding elections and pick out the candidates that fit the mold. But if only it could be as easy as saying so.

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