At the wake of former president Corazon Aquino, Filipinos mourn the demise of a “uniting force.” They also warn Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to do good and redeem herself.
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – Reynaldo Perez could have just stayed at home and follow the blow-by-blow reports by the news media on former president Cory Aquino’s wake. But he chose to patiently fall in line and get a glimpse of the first woman Philippine president, who died on Saturday.
“I came here because I believe that the death of Cory is a uniting force for Filipinos,” Perez, 64, said.
Perez is one of the thousands who paid their tribute to Cory on Tuesday, a day before she would be laid peacefully at the Manila Memorial Park. They lined up for hours just to get a five-second glimpse of Cory’s remains.
Various establishments inside Intramuros were decked with yellow ribbons, as well as light posts, bags, umbrellas and caps of the people passing in front of the Cathedral.
“The highlight of my personal pilgrimage is not just to show my condolences to her family but seeing people from all walks of life uniting for her,” 36-year-old lawyer Evie Medina said.
Justine Galang, third-year student from Philippine Normal University, said Cory reminded her so much of her grandmother. “She was also an activist, a respected mother. For me, they are heroes,” she told Bulatlat.
The long line of mourners would be once in a while disturbed by vendors selling taho, ice drop, or yellow ribbons. Ice drop vendor Leonardo Antipas told Bulatlat that he came all the way from Taguig City not only to generate income but to pay tribute to Cory.
Some in the crowd could not hide their disappointment with President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo even as they grieved for Cory.
One of the groups that caught the attention of many was a group of women from Baseco, an urban-poor community in Tondo. They wore yellow headdresses with texts that state their condolences for the Aquino family. Rose Viong, 44, the group’s leader, told Bulatlat that they are very much grateful to how Aquino was able to maintain the low price of rice during her presidency. “Unlike today, we have no other choice but to settle for the cheap rice from the National Food Authority,” Viong said.
Galang, the PNU student, said that compared to Cory, Arroyo did nothing but politicking.
Perez said the present regime is corrupt. “It has stage-four cancer,” he said, alluding to the disease that killed Cory. “I have repeatedly asked myself if I would go to Arroyo’s wake if she dies, and after weighing the pros and cons of the situation, my firm answer is no,” he said.
However, Medina, the lawyer, said Arroyo has merely a few months left to redeem herself from all the scandals and corruptions in her regime. “If she is able to redeem herself,” she said, “I’ll probably go to her wake.” (Bulatlat.com)