An Appraisal: Cory Aquino and Human Rights

“People Power did not rise just in one instance after the stolen presidential elections. It was a process that was building up. Cory was just one of the key figures,” he added. “The true historical role should be given to the people themselves, the national democratic activists and revolutionary forces who fought the Marcos dictatorship.”

However, Cory somehow was able to redeem herself, Tuazon said.

“She has been a moral force in Edsa 2 that called for moral leadership and end to plunder and corruption. She was also a rallying figure in the mounting clamor for the resignation of Mrs. Arroyo over allegations of corruption, election fraud, and human-rights violations,” Tuazon said. Edsa 2 was the People Power uprising that toppled the Estrada presidency in 2001.

“She was someone who maintained her dignity and the virtues of what a president should be in the midst of a presidency tainted with corruption, political repression and greed for power,” Tuazon said. “She is in total contrast to Arroyo.”

Whatever failures Cory made in her presidency she compensated for by dedicating the rest of her life after her term to fight for moral leadership, against plunder and corruption.

“Compared to many politicians, including today’s presidential aspirants, she stood up squarely against Arroyo by asking her to do the ‘supreme sacrifice’ of resigning following her admission in the Hello Garci tapes scandal. She even severed her ties with Fidel V. Ramos by lending her voice against the politically motivated charter change that Ramos had opportunistically championed in his own presidency and which saw him on the same side with Arroyo much later. Mrs. Aquino was on the side of the people on so many issues,” Tuazon explained. “That’s why she is a big loss to the nation.”

Ghay, however, had hoped for the very least — for Aquino to ask for forgiveness from the families and victims of human-rights violations during her term. “Where do we find justice? It is even more impossible under the Arroyo regime,” she said.

Ghay is now the secretary general of Desaparecidos, an organization of families of victims of enforced disappearances. “We will continue to pursue justice no matter what,” she said. “We know that one day, we will find it.” (

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