The Aquino Legacy: An Enduring Narrative

BREAKTHROUGH - Elfren S. Cruz - The Philippine Star

Last Thursday, Nov. 26, on the eve of Ninoy Aquino’s 83rd birthday, Neni and I launched a book which we co-authored. Here are excerpts from the preface to the book which was written by Neni:

The Aquino Legacy: An Enduring Narrative has been an extraordinary experience for both of us. And why another Aquino book? What is it about Ninoy and Cory  that we do not know yet.

The idea for a book came from Elfren who strongly felt that the contributions of Ninoy and Cory Aquino to the Filipino people’s struggle for democracy are too significant to risk being forgotten. We feel this especially critical these days as history is in serious danger of being rewritten and altered by individuals who see a kinder and more heroic portrayals of themselves in the memory of a nation.

This has greater relevance these days as the dark period of martial law is being dismissed and glossed over as an epoch that must now be forgotten. We feel this urgency as some quarters urge us to “move on.” As if the remembrance of things past and sordid and painful posed an obstacle to our progress and maturity as a nation. Many of us bear the scars of martial law, some more deeply than others, and are burdened  with traumatic stories that need to be retold over and over again – for the healing that comes with every retelling.

These essays are written especially for the Millennial Generation or Generation Y, those who reached young adulthood around the year 2000. This is the generation that may only know Ninoy and Cory as the parents of P-Noy or the face of our currency bills.

The lives of Ninoy and Cory may appear more like magical realism than stark reality, for truly how does one weave such a drama even with the more imaginative conjuring? There is the charismatic opposition freedom fighter destined to be the president of the land, suffering years of isolation and detention, then returns home from exile, only to be swiftly assassinated at his homecoming. There is the nonpolitician widowed wife forced to carry on her slain husband’s anti-dictatorship struggle and emerges as the president after the ouster of the dictator. And, of course, there is the only son, as reluctant a presidential candidate as his mother, who becomes the 15th president 10 months after his mother’s death.

How can one family be fated to endure all that? But such are the incomprehensible ways of fate and destiny.

The Aquino Legacy: An Enduring Narrative  has a deliberately chosen subtitle that attempts to capture the degree of untold pain and suffering that the family has lived with over the years, never quite gone even with the public commendation that was to come decades after. Their saga is more than timeless, their story as a family meant to be documented and remembered in history books.

Why another Aquino book? What is it that the public does not know about Ninoy and Cory? Might this be just another retelling of the all too familiar yellow ribbon protests acknowledged by Berlin and the fall of its wall, the Velvet Revolution of the Czech Republic and more recently Hong Kong with its yellow umbrellas as a non violent revolution to reap lesson from?

We as a people are often justifiably accused of being bereft of historical memory. Tragic mistakes of the past are unnecessarily repeated. It is not that today’s youth and young professional have forgotten what the People Power Revolution was all about – they never know enough about it in the first place.

We do not mean to deify Ninoy and Cory Aquino as they themselves were the first ones to admit how mortal, how vulnerable, how flawed they were. We were not privileged to have met Ninoy but Elfren had worked closely with President Cory in Malacanang for five years. Neni was the first Filipino journalist to sit down with Cory for an interview upon her return from Boston in 1983 (thanks to Eggie Apostol of Mr. & Ms. Magazine who sent her on that “big” assignment) and continued to have close to two dozen one-on-one extended interviews and many private conversations.

Let this book allow today’s millennials to approach the fascinating tale of the Cojuangco-Aquino family with greater interest and curiosity and less trepidation about cold, hard nosed historical facts. Straightforward historical accounts and commentaries have been juxtaposed with human interest essays, many of which have not seen publication before. We felt that the inclusion of interviews with individuals closest to Ninoy and Cory would offer a fresh and a different perspective on them as revered national figures – and of P-Noy as the highest official of the land.

So this is really dedicated to the youth, to the millennials for them to understand, value and preserve the hard fought historical gains in the restoration of democracy in 1986. The long arduous struggle that climaxed in the much publicized EDSA People Power Revolution actually begun in 1978 with the organization of LABAN (Lakas ng Bayan  or People Power), Senator Aquino’s political party and the noise barrage for the Interim Batasan Pambansa elections.

It may come as a rude awakening to the millennials that the freedom they enjoy today was not available  to us during the dark days of martial law. There is no disputing that the struggle for democracy is unfinished and continues on today – a struggle that every citizen must partake in towards a free and more equitable society for every Filipino.

The book will be available in Fully Booked stores starting next week.

Writing classes for kids & teens

Young Writers’ Hangout on December 5 (1:30-3 p.m.) at Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street and Dec. 12 (1-2:30 p.m.) at the Prism Gallery, Salcedo St., Legaspi Village, Makati. For registration and fee details contact 0917-6240196/ [email protected].

* * *

Email: [email protected]

vuukle comment












  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with