At yesterday’s ninth death anniversary of former president Corazon Aquino, a few friends and not a single politician gathered by her grave site at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque to join her children in remembering her.
Family, millennials remember Cory Aquino
Joanne Rae M. Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - August 2, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — As the Aquino children have realized from the cradle, power is fleeting and true friendship is like a unicorn.

At yesterday’s ninth death anniversary of former president Corazon Aquino, a few friends and not a single politician gathered by her grave site at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque to join her children in remembering her.

When her only son Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III was president, the crowd would spill over to the embankment during the commemoration of her death anniversary. Under pouring rain, over three million people accompanied her to her grave in 2009.

Yesterday’s commemoration was as simple as the country’s first woman president was: her children Ballsy Cruz, Pinky Abellada and Viel Dee; grandson Jiggy Cruz and close friend former Pangasinan representative Gina de Venecia led in praying the rosary. Daughter Kris Aquino was indisposed due to an allergy.

Mrs. Aquino, Time magazine’s “Woman of the Year” in 1986, died after a valiant 17-month struggle against colon cancer.

In an interview by the grave site of his mother and father Sen. Benigno “Ninoy Aquino Jr., Aquino III said he and his siblings would not have survived their father’s incarceration in 1972, hunger strike and assassination in 1983 without the constant, solid presence of their mother.

“She was a source of continuity as both mother and father to us. That helped us and fortified us,” Aquino III said.

Her oldest grandson Jiggy Cruz, 33, believes Cory’s faith is a legacy her family cherishes.

“For anything that made up worry or posed a challenge, Lola would always tell me to pray. She always believed in the power of prayer. I think many of us forget to pray these days. Not millennials, but all Filipinos of faith shouldn’t forget to pray and should believe in the power of prayer.”

To many millennials who were not yet born during the EDSA people power revolution that brought the former housewife turned opposition leader to the presidency, Cory Aquino is a symbol of democracy and detachment to power.

Makati executive Paolo, 33, believes the late president “is a good example on how to lead a decent, simple life despite power. She was true to her word of stepping down after finishing her term, without any attempts at extension via Charter change or anything of that sort.”

Account executive Gian Carla, 27, says, “Honestly, I don’t know what she’s done for the government aside from the restoration of democracy. As a millennial, I think her legacy was her style, her gentleness in leading the country. She did everything to break from Marcos’ style, in a more endearing and motherly way. I knew she wasn’t a very strong politician but I think that phase after Marcos was the best time to recover and the unifying force was solidified because the leader was her.”

Other millennials like Cess, 26, and Maica, 22, view Cory as someone who vanquished a dictatorship.

“Cory Aquino freed the Philippines from Marcos’ dictatorship even though she was somewhat an accidental ‘leader.’ She then left behind a democratic nation, which I think made a mark on the Filipino people because it showed women empowerment. I think it showed that women can lead, that women can have this kind of ‘power’ in their hands.”

“President Cory Aquino was a symbol of anti-dictatorship,” believes Cess.

Isabella, 24, views the former president “through the lens of historiography or how official historical narratives are written out. I see her as a perfect example of how symbols and figureheads are in Philippine government and history, and how effective they are in informing the political opinions of the general public.”

BENIGNO AQUINO III CORAZON AQUINO PEOPLE POWER REVOLUTION
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