Cory Aquino: The Housewife That Rocked The Nation

Before Angelina (i.e. Ogie Alcasid in drag) re-popularized the “L” hand gesture (this “L” means “You’re such a loser, yaya), this sign was the symbol of democracy in the 1986 People Power Revolution.

Imagine, nuns not worrying the fact that they’ll be roadkill if the tank progressed… a sea of man filling up the flyover-less, MRT-less Highway 54, or otherwise known as the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue. This is basically something that Tiananmen Square tried to duplicate but failed to repeat (liver spread, anyone).

By the way, I think De Los Santos was a writer/statesman that did more than what he should have been doing during the American Era. Fact is, regardless of his lifelong accomplishments, the road named after him will became the threshold for democracy in our region.

Cory Aquino was not your typical politician. While she came from a prominent family, she was more of eye candy than a diplomat. Ninoy Aquino came from a family of poltical leaders. Ninoy was a second-generation politician, his father was a cabinet member in the Commonwealth Era. While Cory spoke softly and with kindness and politeness, Ninoy, a former reporter whose rise to claim was going to the mountains to report the happenings of Taruc’s Hukbalahap, was severely tactless. He’s spawns are evidences of this: Senator Noynoy would say whatever he wants without sugar-coating it while entertainment icon Kris would state whatever she likes and hates in an instant, thus giving her the “taklesa” dub.

This is why Ninoy Aquino’s life in the 70’s was dangerous.

The Marcos-Aquino rivalry somewhat resembles Boston vs. LA. From the early 70’s to the late 80’s, it was back and forth action. However in the 80’s Ferdinand Marcos was a shell of his self, fighting illness while taking care of a blunder that sparked a nationwide crisis. Whoever thought that the death of Ninoy Aquino would end their problems is seriously, really, really stupid. Whether or not Marcos played a role in the mess, it backfired on him and no PR practitioner could cure that massive blunder.

All of a sudden, the soft-spoken soon-to-be-politician was pushed to the spotlight. Salvador Laurel, a son of Batangas, another second-generation politician whose father served as “puppet president” during the Japanese Occupation, was supposed to be the man who’s going to fight Marcos in the presidential elections. Think of this person as the Manny Villar of that generation. He has money, knowledge, skills… but in his mind, he knew it would be hard to displace Marcos from his seat. An evidence of this is him, placing eighth in the 1992 elections that was won by Fidel Ramos. Laurel knows that anyone could beat Marcos especially with all clamoring for his ouster. But he also knew that to get that win, the country needs a person of personal interests… which even Cory one million signatures weren’t enough to keep Marcos in the losing end of the 1986 Snap Elections.

But in a way, it was lucky.

Again, whoever cheated and “cured” the elections to be a landslide must be insane. Hell, the slimmest of margins couldn’t even save Makoy. The administration is treading into deep waters and in less than a month, the Marcos administration ended.

The aftermath was natural. People think the Philippines will undergo a military government so the same people that destabilized the Marcos administration is not rebelling against the Cory Government. From 1986 to 1989, widespread demonstrations and coup attempts rocked the metro.

So how did the housewife that loves to wear yellow prevail against all odds?

Cory didn’t want the power but that doesn’t mean she was not up for the challenge. This woman battled the military for the sake of seeing her husband be free. The gunshot wounds cause Ninoy to die but these same wounds made the woman fearless and stronger. Critics thought she was incapable for public office but she did what she needs to do and did it with sureness.

She was a Time Magazine Man of the Year Winner, She became the first woman president of the world, and she was a Nobel Peace Prize nominee in 1986.

Sure, her stay in office wasn’t as great as it should be (Americans left the Central Luzon bases, the Earthquake in 1990, over-regulating of the MTRCB, and the Mt. Pinatubo explosions are amongst the events that happen during her tenure) but it wasn’t revolting either.

As expected, her death saddened the nation, as all walks of life try to stop, give their respects, and remember this democratic icon. I admit, my parents were loyalists (My parents work at NBN. Channel 4 was powerful and popular then because of Imelda’s urge to instill awareness in the arts, thus giving the network more thought-provoking programs that unfortunately, sometimes they still re-play) but you have to give where credit is due.

If see all the yellow ribbons tied across the metro, you’ll know how important she is to the Philippine race.

Thank you, Tita Cory.


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