“…O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish…” (Matthew 15:)
An entire nation celebrated in EDSA on my thirteenth (13th) birthday in 1986. But the celebration was not about me. Nor was it about any particular person. It was a celebration for democracy. But in the midst of that celebration stood a simple yet towering figure, humble yet determined, the woman who changed the course of Philippine history and the lives of so many: Corazon C. Aquino.
Today, as she is laid to rest in peace, an entire nation mourns. We mourn for we shall surely miss her. But we also mourn for ourselves. For having failed, in so many ways, to preserve the victory she helped us gain in ’86.
She gave up the privacy of her home in exchange for the inconveniences of a public life. But today, we choose to stay within the barriers of apathy as this nation crumbles in decay.
She fought an oppressive leadership even at the risk of her own life and that of her family. Today, we fight over who gets the bigger share from kickbacks resulting from rigged biddings in government projects.
She withstood numerous coup attempts from individuals who may have sought to rob our country of our cherished democracy. Today, we so generously catapulted these very individuals back to power.
She worked painstakingly to restore our trust in our Philippine Constitution. Today, we work painstakingly to destroy it with shameful attempts to constantly amend it perhaps for our own personal gains.
Even in retirement and in sickness, she broke her silence to peacefully lead the clamor for a change of leadership. Today, even at the peak of our careers and health, we choose to endure in silence while our country is politically raped by opportunistic and self-serving so-called “traditional politicians”.
I write this piece of essay as my own little and futile way to thank this woman who gifted our country with the hope that it has been deprived of for so many, many years. I thank her for giving the youth, especially my contemporaries in the ’80’s, a future to look forward to. I thank her for showing us the kind of faith, small as a mustard seed yet big enough to move tanks and dictators out of the way.
Today, I take this challenge to continue to do what I do and to do it well as a way of honoring her. With my profession, I will continue to do legal work with integrity. As a preacher, I will continue to inspire others to be God-fearing Filipino people. As a husband, I will love my wife totally the way Cory loved our country. As a father, I will strive to enkindle in my children’s heart the same kind of love that Cory showed to all of us.
As our dear “Mother of Philippine Democracy” is buried beneath the hallowed grounds of the Manila Memorial Cemetery, I pray that our beloved countrymen will, in turn, unearth from within them the cherished ideals personified by her during her lifetime. And by these ideals, allow this country to rise again from the ashes.
I know that even beyond the grave, President Cory continues to pray for us. And her prayers are now more powerful than ever. For what was once a shout can now be a mere whisper. And the mighty hand of God will move with her prayerful lips. Scripture today says:
“…O woman, great is your faith!
Let it be done for you as you wish…” (Matthew 15:)
Farewell, President Cory. Farewell, dear Mother of Philippine Democracy!