Former president Benigno Aquino III speaks as relatives and friends commemorate the 10th death anniversary of former president Corazon Aquino at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City yesterday.
Kriz John Rosales
‘A decade after death, Cory can still inspire’
Ralph Edwin Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - August 2, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — If Filipinos have forgotten the struggles led by the late president Corazon Aquino, then the Philippines has become a better place, her only son said yesterday.

“If what (Cory) did is not needed anymore, then that means our country already is in a better place. We can then forget why we needed someone like her,” former president Benigno Aquino III said in a chance interview with reporters during the family’s commemoration of the 10th death anniversary of the country’s democracy icon. “Then we can say that what she sacrificed for has borne fruit.”

He said that a decade after his mother died, Cory Aquino continues to inspire Filipinos by showing that anyone can overcome impossible odds.

The late former president was the driving force behind the ouster of former strongman Ferdinand Marcos from power, who ruled the country for 21 years.

After her husband, the late former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., was assassinated, the Philippines stood up and led the first bloodless uprising in the world, the four-day EDSA People Power Revolution. It resulted in the Marcos family fleeing to Hawaii on Feb. 25, 1986.

“No matter how dark the situation becomes, sometimes in our lives, we can say we had a leader who wanted to bring back what was right in life. Maybe, no matter how dark things may seem, the impossible is possible,” Aquino said.

The people may now feel the need to return the country to the “right path” and it is up to them to do so, according to the former chief executive.

“I think the inspiration (that my parents) gave could continue the fight toward the right path for the country,” he said.

‘Resist historical revisionism’

Meanwhile, Sen. Francis Pangilinan yesterday challenged Filipinos to honor the memory of the late former president by resisting historical revisionism.

“We remember President Cory as the shining icon of democracy. She has inspired not only Filipinos. The Philippines started the trend of peaceful people power for the whole world,” Pangilinan said.

“She symbolizes the people’s triumph in the hard-fought struggle against the dictatorship. It’s a lesson that should never be forgotten, especially now,” he added.

The senator, a student activist during martial law who credits this experience for his political awakening, noted the current barrage of historical misrepresentation, especially in digital media.

“The enemies of freedom have weaponized digital media to spread the propaganda erasing this triumph of democracy. We won our freedom at EDSA. We must protect our freedom and our history against revisionism,” Pangilinan said.

A regular teenager in 1983, Pangilinan recalled that the assassination of Ninoy was a turning point for him. He said this was when he started to become aware of the evils of martial law.

“We should never forget the many, many injustices we faced during martial law,” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan was the first sitting senator to throw his support behind the presidential candidacy of Aquino III in 2009, when he saw the public clamor for a leadership in stark contrast to that of the unpopular then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“In times of turmoil, the ones who truly love the country are those who stand by their conviction for what is right and true, and those who inspire their fellow humans to be brave for the truth. That is President Cory,” Pangilinan said. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe

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