Progressive Groups, Leaders Recognize Cory’s Role in Fight Vs Tyranny


MANILA — Even as they did not always see eye to eye with her politically, several progressive groups and party-list representatives have paid tribute to former President Corazon Aquino, who succumbed to cancer early yesterday at 76. They recognized her role in the people’s struggles against tyranny, corruption, and greed for power.

Aquino was thrust into the limelight after the assassination of her husband Benigno Aquino Jr., a leader of the anti-dictatorship opposition, in 1983. In the 1986 snap presidential elections, she was chosen by various opposition forces as their common standard-bearer against then President Ferdinand Marcos. The elections were marred by massive fraud and violence and Aquino was catapulted to power on the heels of what is now known as the Edsa 1 uprising.

As president, Aquino presided over the restoration of the democratic space that was in place before the declaration of martial law. Her regime, however, was tarnished by, among other things, the lack of genuine agrarian reform, a long-standing demand of the peasantry; as well as the imposition of US-sponsored low-intensity conflict in the countryside, leading to numerous human-rights violations.

After her presidency, she figured prominently in the largely anti-corruption Edsa 2 uprising that toppled Joseph Estrada, as well as in the campaigns for truth and accountability under the Arroyo administration, even as, at some point, she and her family found themselves having to confront issues springing from what is now known as the Hacienda Luisita massacre.

Both Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance) and the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU or May 1st Movement) acknowledged Aquino’s role in the struggles against tyranny.

“To the end, Mrs. Aquino was in solidarity with the people in the fight against tyranny,” read a statement by Bayan. “While unable to join protest actions because of her frail health, she sent a message that was read at the June 10, 2009, rally in Ayala against Charter change. The message was her last and strongest against moves to change the Constitution.

“Mrs. Aquino was a leading figure in Edsa 1 and Edsa 2. In the past four years, she joined mass actions against electoral fraud, corruption and charter change. She marched to support the impeachment complaint in 2005 and supported the communal actions at the height of the NBN-ZTE scandal in 2008.”

“Mrs. Aquino became the leading figure in the people’s uprising against the fascist US-Marcos regime,” the KMU meanwhile said. “In her last years, she joined mass demonstrations against the US-Arroyo regime. She spoke against moral bankruptcy in the government, state terrorism and charter change.

“We value her commitment to stand up against any measure to restore the tyranny that the people overthrew in the 1980s.”

Terry Ridon, secretary-general of the League of Filipino Students (LFS), described Aquino as “an insurmountable ally” in some of the Filipino people’s major struggles in recent history. “While the LFS have had principled disagreements with President Aquino on agrarian reform and her anti-insurgency campaign during her term, we shall not forget the periodic unities for good governance and reform shared with the students through the decades, from the people power uprisings against Presidents Marcos and Estrada, and the continuing campaign for truth and accountability today,” Ridon said.

Danilo Ramos, secretary-general of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP or Peasant Movement of the Philippines), paid tribute to Aquino “for joining the people’s clamor for Arroyo’s resignation,” and for her efforts in the two Edsa uprisings and the campaigns against charter change and corruption.

Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) Rep. Liza Maza described Aquino as “a formidable voice” in the campaigns against the Arroyo administration, and said she was “instrumental in the cause against corruption and greed for power.”

Bayan Muna (People First) Rep. Satur Ocampo, in a text message sent by his staff to media, lamented Aquino’s passing “at this critical point of our nation’s history.” (

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