My mother told me a few nights before former President Corazon Aquino died, that if it weren’t for “Tita Cory”, I wouldn’t be here. It was a long shot at connecting unexpected turn of events, but nonetheless not unworthy of remembering, as the nation now reflects on how the former President touched the lives of Filipinos and changed the course of the country’s history.
Upon assuming the leadership of the nation after the People Power Revolution, Tita Cory appointed Rogaciano Mercado to the Ministry of Public Works (now DPWH). Together with Minister Mercado was my mother who became his chief assistant secretary, appointed likewise by President Aquino. Through the prodding of a co-worker, who became an erstwhile matchmaker, she was introduced to a budding engineer who was then applying for promotion. And that’s how the relationship began.
Months later, Minister Mercado was dismissed by the President, but the relationship of my mother and father remained, even as my mom left the Ministry as well.
After watching some of her speeches and reviewing several articles written about her and her presidency, I wouldn’t say that I am a fan of Cory Aquino’s politics and ideologies. She was however, up to her last years, undoubtedly a woman of moral integrity and leadership.
The past years saw how the former President marched and rallied with the people, despite her failing health, to denounce attempts at changing the Constitution and to denounce President Gloria Arroyo for the corruption that continues to plague her administration. At a time when the country is besieged by a morally bankrupt leader who is assuming the role of Cory’s fascist predecessor, Tita Cory’s presence, and the moral leadership she largely stood for, is something that will be missed.
Rest in peace, President Cory.