The final journey home of Cory Aquino


August 5, 2009



■    The crowds along the route of the funeral march



■    Bonus Tracks


■    Messages of condolences and photos of Cory Aquino in rallies


■    Articles on Cory Aquino from Bulatlat






Cory Aquino funeral march: Tuloy ang laban


Tula ng Migrante Riyadh para kay Tita Cory



By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

Cory, the people and people power

In death as in life, former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino continues to be a political phenomenon. The Aquino family themselves had not anticipated the people’s outpouring of love, adulation and respect for their mother after she died last July 31. Tens of thousands lined up to view her remains and hundreds of thousands more accompanied her funeral cortege to the cemetery. It evoked a sense of déjà vu in people old enough to remember her slain husband Ninoy’s own mammoth funeral cortege more than 25 years ago.

It was also reminiscent of the huge crowds that Mrs. Aquino drew in her presidential campaign against the dictator Marcos; the gigantic rally in Rizal Park where she called for civil disobedience to force him to step down after the exposure of massive electoral fraud; culminating in the popular mass uprising, eventually dubbed “people power”, that finally ousted his hated dictatorship. Yellow was the color of the day; the air reverberated with shouts of “Cory, Cory”; and the hand sign for the letter “L” meaning “Laban!” sprung to life once more.

In stark contrast was the complete isolation of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the week-long homage to Cory. The unspoken but powerful message from the people is that Mrs. Arroyo has no place in honoring and celebrating her predecessor’s life of selfless service, integrity, humility, simplicity and fortitude. Because these are qualities alien to her and which she has repeatedly and shamelessly trashed even as she laid claim to the highest office in the land.

The Aquino family’s rejection of Malacañang’s offer of a state funeral was an undisguised statement that they did not want Mrs. Arroyo to have anything to do with the funeral rites. Her early morning visit at the Manila Cathedral hours before Mrs. Aquino was laid to rest was marked by stealth (she had to go through a side door), stiffness and brevity. The absence of Mrs. Arroyo at the funeral itself was highlighted rather than made up for by the full honors that were given by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police sans their de facto Commander-in-Chief.

The accolades for Mrs. Aquino’s singular role in bringing down strongman rule and ushering in the return of democratic processes and institutions; the Catholic Church’s rendering of burial rites until then reserved only for their own top hierarchy; and the tearful remembrances of grateful family members, friends and even ordinary staff members – all paled in comparison to the sea of humanity that braved the stifling heat then drenching rains and patiently waited for hours to catch a glimpse of Mrs. Aquino’s flower-bedecked coffin atop a flatbed truck winding slowly through the crowded thoroughfares.

How then do we begin to explain the massive turn-out that took place during the entire duration of the wake until Mrs. Aquino’s burial. Especially in light of the fact that her seeming ability to rouse people power to demand government accountability or to thwart succeeding administrations’ attempts to hold on to power and restore tyrannical rule appeared to be waning.

Let us recall how even after Mrs. Aquino had called for the resignation of Mrs. Arroyo from the presidency, marched to Congress to call for her impeachment, joined numerous protest actions to keep hammering home the point about the Arroyo regime’s illegitimacy, corruption and abuse of power – the people stopped short of pouring out into the streets to support her calls.

Both her admirers and, more so, her detractors came to the conclusion that the “Cory magic” was gone. Some opined that it was after all a “Sin-Cory magic” with Cardinal Sin providing the irreplaceable political astuteness and the moral and organizational clout of the Catholic Church in the partnership. Mrs. Arroyo’s drumbeaters have gleefully proclaimed that the people were “tired” of people power and not even Cory could summon it.

Until Cory, the icon of democracy, dies under conditions of severe political and economic crisis.

What takes place can not just have been nostalgia, a people grateful for Mrs. Aquino’s role in what New York Times writer Stanley Karnow described as “guid(ing) the transition from unscrupulous autocracy to dubious democracy”.

The people’s sense of loss in the passing of a highly respected and beloved leader underscores the fact that despite her shortcomings and limitations, people appreciate, to various degrees, Cory's good traits as essential to a worthy head of state or national leader.

The hankering of the people for the kind of sincere, honest and unadulterated public service that Cory Aquino personified and which is glaringly absent in today’s incumbent leader, Mrs. Arroyo, is palpable and unmistakable. In particular, compare Mrs. Aquino’s gracious and unambiguous readiness to relinquish power as her term ended and Mrs. Arroyo’s equivocation and vile machinations to cling to power far beyond her undeserved nine years in office.

More than Cory’s outstanding traits as a political leader and Mrs. Arroyo’s profound character flaws, the most plausible and inescapable explanation is that the spirit behind People Power 1 and 2 -- the longing for change and the courage, selflessness and determination to match that longing and turn it into reality -- is alive. As much as a collective expression of gratitude to and reverence for Cory, it was also a silent but unequivocal act of protest against the rule of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is generally perceived as Cory's diametrical opposite.

Why then has there been no People Power 3 despite Cory's calls for the people's unified actions against the perpetrators of plunder, fraud and the gross betrayal of public trust?

Perhaps it only indicates that an increasing number of people are becoming keenly aware that it will take more than a replacement of leaders -- more than even another Cory -- to effect genuine and lasting change in Philippine politics and society.

While the Aquino presidency certainly had its mistakes and shortcomings and ultimately failed to live up to expectations in effecting the thoroughgoing socio-economic reforms that would benefit the Filipino people, it was the unabated corruption, puppetry and tyranny of her successors, and most especially of the Arroyo regime, that has driven home this painful lesson. #





■    An Appraisal: Cory Aquino and Left


■    An Appraisal: Cory Aquino and Human Rights


■    One More Time for Cory: Filipinos Take a Glimpse, Feel the Pulse of People Power


■    Lessons Arroyo Should Learn From Cory


■    Paying Tribute to Cory, Who United Filipinos




This helicopter dropped white and yellow petals as confetti as the cortege passed by the Rizal monument at the Luneta.


Photos contributed by Maki/SALINLAHI




Media Statement
04 August 2009
Reference: Emmi de Jesus, Seretary General, 371-2302 / 0197-3221203

GABRIELA Pays Tribute to the First Woman President of the Philippines

The women of GABRIELA National Alliance of Women in the Philippines are one with the Filipino in mourning the death of President Corazon Aquino.

The outpouring of grief of millions of Filipinos on the death of President Aquino is a testament that a nation holds dear the symbol of the people’s fight against corruption, tyranny and dictatorship; that a nation holds dear freedom and democracy. The people’s adoration for President Aquino only highlights the isolation of a much abhorred woman now occupying Malacañang who undermined that which President Aquino stood for.

There is no denying the place of President Aquino in the history of the country as well as her contribution to the Filipino women’s movement. Despite the flaws and weaknesses during her presidency, the historical fact remains that President Aquino united the Filipino people at the crucial time of ousting the Marcos dictatorship. Her courage to confront head-on a tyrant, despite the seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against her, drew inspiration for countless of Filipinas and women all over the world. To her last breath, President Aquino opposed the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for its corruption, tyranny and assault to the democratic gains of the first People Power.

As we lay President Corazon Aquino to rest, let our ultimate tribute to her be over commitment against the return of tyranny and dictatorship.

Public Information Department
GABRIELA National Office
(+632) 3712302



Mula sa

Martsa-libing ni Cory Aquino: Buhay ang diwa ng paglaban
By Ilang-Ilang D. Quijano · August 6, 2009 ·

Kinikilala ng mga kabataang aktibista na simbolo si Cory Aquino ng paglaban sa diktadurya. (King Catoy)

Kinikilala ng mga kabataang aktibista na simbolo si Cory Aquino ng paglaban sa diktadurya. (King Catoy)
“Tuloy, tuloy, tuloy ang laban!”

Ito ang mga katagang naging batian sa isa’t isa ng mga mamamayang dumagsa sa mga kalsada mula Manila Cathedral patungong Manila Memorial Park noong Agosto 5 para sa martsa-libing ng yumaong dating pangulong Corazon “Cory” C. Aquino. Kasabay nito ang pagpapakita ng hugis letrang “L” ng mga daliri para sa salitang “Laban.”

Hindi lamang sila nagpupugay sa isa sa pinaka-importanteng mga personahe sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas. Hindi lamang nagluluksa, at nakikiramay sa iniwang pamilya. Hindi rin lang nagpapasalamat sa maraming tinataguriang “pamana” ni Cory sa bansa. Higit sa lahat, gaya noong martsa-libing ng kanyang asawang si Ninoy Aquino noong 1983, daan-libong mamamayan ang sumama para ipamalas ang kapasyahang lumaban.

Malinaw sa mga nakapinta o nakasulat sa mga plakard, t-shirt, banner, at ribbon (na siyempre pa’t karamihan ay kulay dilaw) kung ano ang nilalabanan ng mga taong nagsipagluksa: tiraniya, diktadurya, at korupsiyon. Simbolo si Cory ng paglaban sa mga ito, mula noong una siyang umusbong na pigura sa pagpapabagsak ng rehimeng Marcos hanggang sa maging respetadong lider ng kilusang kontra-Arroyo bago magkasakit ng kanser.

Higit na kumilala sa iniwang laban ni Cory ang mga miyembro ng progresibong mga organisasyon. Dumalo sa martsa-libing ang marami sa mga nagtulak ng mga pagbabago sa lipunan bago pa man pinaslang si Ninoy, at patuloy na nakita at nilabanan ang mga depekto sa tinataguriang “pormal na demokrasya” na ibinalik ng pag-aalsang People Power I.
Kabilang ang mga progresibong organisasyon sa nagbigay-pugay sa martsa-libing ni Cory. (King Catoy)

Kabilang ang mga progresibong organisasyon sa nagbigay-pugay sa martsa-libing ni Cory. (King Catoy)

Dumalo sila para pagpugayan ang isang dating pangulo na sa maraming aspekto, bukod-tangi sa ibang mga naupo sa poder. Dumalo sila para ituloy ang laban ni Cory. Gaya ng—o marahil higit pa—sa marami, hangad nila ang kalayaan at demokrasya, mga konseptong pinatunayan ng pagkamatay ni Cory noong Agosto 1 na may kakayahan pang magbigkis ng bayan.

Parang ‘piyesta’

Pabugso-bugso man ang malakas na ulan at hangin, hindi nito napigilan ang pagkapal ng bilang ng mga taong nag-abang sa Luneta Park sa Roxas Blvd. para masulyapan si Cory sa huling pagkakataon. Grupo-grupo sila ng magkapamilya, magkakaibigan, magkakaklase, magkakapitbahay, o magkakasama sa isang organisasyon na dumating sa akala mo isang piyesta. Di nila alintana ang malakas na ulan sa ilang oras na paghihintay sa pagdaan ng prusesyon ni Cory. (King Catoy)

Di nila alintana ang malakas na ulan sa ilang oras na paghihintay sa pagdaan ng prusesyon ni Cory. (King Catoy)

Habang naghihintay, nagsisisigaw ang isang matanda, bitbit ang naka-laminate na lumang litrato ni Cory, nakabalot pa sa plastik para hindi mabasa ng ulan. Tahimik naman na nakapuwesto sa harap ng monumento ni Jose Rizal ang dalawang batang malinaw na hindi pa ipinapanganak noong nangyari ang pag-aalsang People Power I. “Cory, simbolo ka ng malinis na pulitika” ang nakasulat bitbit nilang dilaw na banner.

Noong una’y ikinagulat pa ng mga tao ang kalabog ng mga howitzer na pinapaputok ng mga sundalo sa Quirino Grandstand para pagpugayan si Cory. Pero di nagtagal, naging bahagi na rin ito ng ritmo ng ingay ng pananabik ng madla.

Para kay Prop. Judy Taguiwalo, faculty regent ng University of the Philippines-Diliman at lider-estudyante noong Batas Militar, isang karangalan na makitang muli ang pagdagsa ng mga Pilipino sa kalsada para sa martsa-libing ni Cory.

“Malaki ang pagkilala ko sa papel ni Cory para matuldukan ang diktadurang Marcos,” sabi ni Taguiwalo, na isa sa mga detenidong pulitikal na binigyan ng amnestiya at pinalaya ng dating pangulo.

“Kinikilala ko rin na pagkatapos ng termino niya, naging consistent siya sa paglaban sa anumang klase ng diktadura, sa paghaba ng termino ng sinumang opisyal, magmula pa sa panahon ni (dating pangulong Fidel) Ramos hanggang sa ngayon. Ipinakita niyang hindi lang sa pamamagitan ng salita kundi sa gawa na kaisa siya sa malawak na mamamayang Pilipino laban sa korupsiyon, pandaraya, at panunumbalik ng batas militar,” sabi ni Taguiwalo.

Pero hindi umano ibig sabihin nito na nakalimutan na niya ang naging papel ni Cory sa Mendiola Massacre noong 1987. “Bahagi ako ng rali na iyon, kung saan namatay ang 13 magsasaka. Pero sa kasalukuyang panahon, at sa kabuuan ng buhay niya, mahalagang kilalanin ang patuloy na pagtindig niya, at sa pagmartsa pa nga, kasama ng mga mamamayan,” aniya.

Pagkadaan ng mga labi ni Cory, sumunod sa prusesyon ang mga tao, na sinalubong ng mas marami pa sa kahabaan ng Roxas Blvd. (King Catoy)

Pagkadaan ng mga labi ni Cory, sumunod sa prusesyon ang mga tao, na sinalubong ng mas marami pa sa kahabaan ng Roxas Blvd. (King Catoy)

Marami sa mas nakababatang aktibista, sa kilusang kontra-Arroyo na nabuo ang pagkilala kay Cory. “Napaka-simple niyang tao. Kahit sa rali, hindi mo masasabing umaastang VIP (Very Important Person) dahil nakatayo, katabi lang yung ibang mga tao, walang ere ng yabang kapag nakakasama mo sa mga protesta,” sabi ni Renato Reyes Jr., pangkalahatang kalihim ng Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).

Pagdaan ng labi

Mga dilaw na lobo at confetti ang pinakawalan nang lumapit ang prosesyon na mula sa Manila Cathedral. Madamdaming kinanta ng madla ang “Bayan Ko” at “Lupang Hinirang.” At nang dumating ang trak na lulan ang mga labi ng dating pangulo, tila lalong umalon ang noo’y dagat na ng mga braso at bandilang nagwagayway, dinaig ng isang mahaba at kolektibong hiyaw ang hampas at sipol ng malakas na hangin.

Sumunod sa prosesyon ang mga tao. Ang mga progresibo, nagmartsa sa kalsada gaya ng lagi nilang ginagawa. Pero sa pagkakataong ito, walang nakaharang na hanay na mga pulis. Ang mga ito’y nakasuot din ng dilaw na ribbon at katulad nilang naroon para magpaalam sa dating pangulo.

Ang mga progresibo, hindi simpleng nagmamahal lang kay Cory. Nagmamahal sila sa laban niya, na hindi nagtatapos, kundi umiigting pa nga sa ilalim ng kasalukuyang rehimen. At sa madaramang diwa ng mga tao sa martsa-libing—nagluluksa, nagpupugay, nagpapasalamat, pero higit sa lahat, lumalaban—lumilitaw na hindi sila nag-iisa.






Si Cory at ang hangad sa pagbabago: Pinoy Weekly Video Parts 1 and 2


August 5, 2009
Reference: Garry Martinez, Chairperson
Mobile: 09217229740

OFWs ready to join civil disobedience
Migrants group: Cory is antithesis of Gloria

The biggest global alliance of OFWs paid their last respects to former President Corazon Aquino as she was laid to rest at the Manila Memorial Park at Paranaque City by calling her the opposite of President Gloria Arroyo in terms of caring for the welfare of OFWs.

“OFWs in almost 200 countries across the world mourns with the family of Cory Aquino and the Filipino people in general as we have lost not only a stalwart in fighting against tyranny but also the President who established the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration at the start of her term,” says Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante International.

President Corazon Aquino signed an Executive Order No. 126 on January 30, 1987 to establish the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to provide services and benefits to OFWs and their families.

“President Gloria Arroyo, however, ruined the original intent of OWWA in servicing OFWs by imposing the OWWA Omnibus Policies which immediately disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of OFW contributors of their benefits. For us, this is a clear example why Gloria is the antithesis of Cory,” Martinez explained.

The OWWA Omnibus Policies was imposed on September 19, 2003, superseding other policies that Cory has started during her term. The group asserted that it is also during the term of President Arroyo when issues of corruption involving the funds of OWWA have become rampant.

“The OFW fund intended for servicing distressed migrants has suddenly become the personal purse of President Arroyo - an attribute that we have not seen during the term of Cory Aquino. Utilizing the OWWA fund for President Arroyo’s electoral campaign during the election in 2004 along with other scams involving OFW funds makes the contradicting difference between the two presidents clearer,” Martinez added.

Migrante called on all OFWs to join the whole country in commemorating the life of Cory Aquino by opposing all that Cory has fought for since the time of Marcos dictatorship up to the present administration.

“Honoring Cory Aquino should be done by emulating her legacy in opposing despotism, corruption, cheating, plunder and all other attributes that the present dispensation represents. If such collective reverence to Cory will lead to civil disobedience of the people against the Arroyo administration then OFWs would certainly be one of the sectors that will participate in such effort,” Martinez concluded.####



The banner as umbrella when it rains


ANC's StorylineTribute to President Cory
Storyline believes in the storyteller's own voice instead of using

a host--this time, it's Cory telling her story.   ►




League of Filipino Students
Vinzons Hall, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City

August 5, 2009

LFS Hails Aquino Funeral March as a Snippet of People Power

The League of Filipino Students hailed the funeral march of President Corazon Aquino as a clear indication that the Filipino people have not forgotten the struggle for freedom and democracy which President Aquino, among other martyrs, embodied. The student organization said that it is proof that people power is very much alive among the people, and had dispelled many false notions such as ‘people power fatigue’.

“Today is no mere display of admiration for a leader beloved. It is a showcase of a people united – a people that have not forgotten the struggles of the past and the promise that a better world is always possible. It is a warning to all modern tyrants - people power is alive, we are not at all fatigued. There is thus great hope that better days may soon be near. A benevolent giant has awakened, so tyrants beware.” This was the statement of Terry Ridon, Secretary-General of the League of Filipino Students.

LFS said that the march impliedly serves as a fair warning to President Arroyo to finally mend her ways on ‘railroading Charter Change’, ‘fiddling’ with Supreme Court appointments, among others, unless her government wishes to see a repeat of ‘people power’ by a nation awakened of its democratic aspirations with the death of former President Aquino.


Terry Ridon, Secretary-General, League of Filipino Students, 09158513904,


  PCPR's Pangkat Kawayan  
KMU Chair Bong Labog Anakpawis Rep. Joel Maglunsod Kabataan partylist Raymond Palatino

Bayan MUna Rep. Neri Colmenares

and Gabriela Rep Liza Maza

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino

Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes

and Gabriela Secretary General Emmi de Jesus

The crowds along the route of the funeral march




By Luis V. Teodoro

KEEPING politics out of the five days of mourning after her death last August 1st until her funeral last Wednesday seemed especially incongruous. In the end the initially earnest efforts to keep
politics out had to yield to the obviously political message the very presence of the throngs flooding the streets -- and some of the placards they were holding up--were sending.

Few have remarked on it in recent days, but Corazon Aquino was not only politically active until the time of her death, having opposed charter change and added her voice to the clamor for Gloria
Macapagal- Arroyo to resign. She was also the first woman president of the Philippines, which was itself a fact of far- ranging political significance.

When she came to the presidency in 1986 the Philippines was a Catholic country where women were supposed to know their place, and which for decades had been dominated by testosterone-driven male politicians.

The Philippines is still Catholic and still feudal. But unlike in such "advanced countries" as the United States, having a woman for president has long ceased to be impossible, novel or outrageous in the Philippines. For all her unpopularity, no one holds her gender against Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and few Filipinos today would refuse their vote to a woman for being a woman. No, it's not for her gender that Senator Consuelo "Jamby" Madrigal's quest for the presidency may prove futile.

Cory Aquino never said anything that could be construed as feminist. She insisted in a 1986 interview with the US feminist magazine Ms. that, for supposedly holding the household purse, women were more equal than men in the Philippines. But during her six years in power her mettle was tested far beyond that of any Philippine president before or since.

She came to the presidency with the treasury emptied by 14 years of dictatorship and the country burdened by a $28 billion debt. A military establishment whose support Ferdinand Marcos had kept by giving the officer corps a taste of power and a thirst for it surrounded her and five times tried to restore authoritarian rule via coup attempts that may have been comic in their clumsiness, but nevertheless wreaked further damage on the fragile economy. Millions-some estimates say 50 percent-lived in abysmal, grinding poverty, most of them condemned to that state by the antiquated land tenancy system that ruled the countryside.

Cory Aquino has been criticized for not declaring and implementing a land reform program that would have dismantled that system. If she had used her law-making powers in 1986 before Congress convened to abolish tenancy, analysts point out that she could have pushed the country into the prosperity most of its neighbors now enjoy. But that would have required a vision beyond, or at least different from hers, which for the most part was focused on the making of a new Constitution, the holding of free elections, the convening of Congress-the restoration, in short, of the institutions of liberal democracy Marcos had gutted.

Cory Aquino had promised no more than that, and she made good on it by releasing political prisoners, and in the next six years, by defending the democracy she was restoring against the remnants of authoritarian rule in the military and the political class that tried to unseat her.

Early on she presented to the people, who ratified it overwhelmingly,  one of the world's most liberal constitutions, which among other features enhanced the protection of press freedom, free expression, and free assembly. Its other provisions-the limitations on foreign media and land ownership, for example-she may not have agreed with. But apparently she did not insist on her opinions, given the survival of those provisions in the present charter. In a major concession to
democratic discourse she had even appointed former Marcos officials such as former Labor Minister Blas Ople to the Constitutional Commission she created that drafted what's now known as the People Power Constitution.

It is that Constitution Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo and her henchmen in Congress have been trying to dismantle for the last five years. It is that Constitution whose liberal and progressive provisions,
particularly the Bill of Rights, and those that make the declaration of martial law subject to judicial and congressional review, that need to be defended and even strengthened against the self-serving attempts of Arroyo and company to hang on to power beyond 2010.

Yielding to cries of "Tuloy and laban" (the fight continues), last Wednesday Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III pledged to resume the fight once their period of mourning ends, even as his sister Kris alluded to the need for Ninoy and Cory Aquino's children to take up their parents' advocacies.

Those advocacies certainly include the defense of Cory Aquino's and EDSA 1's most lasting legacy, the 1987 Constitution, resisting tyranny and authoritarian rule, and opposing the Arroyo camp's plot to keep itself in power. These advocacies were the subtext, eventually exploding into the text, of the vast outpouring of grief and defiance that through typhoon winds and rains swept not only Manila but also the other towns and cities of this archipelago.

Those advocacies need not and should not end there. The Marcos dictatorship was a throwback to colonial times. It was an offense against history, a deviation from the country's march towards freedom and authentic democracy. History chose Cory Aquino to lead the battle to bring the country back to that path. It's a path that many expected would lead to land reform, an industrialized Philippines, a society of justice and peace-the social revolution that has eluded
this country and its people for over a hundred years.

Impossible for that goal to have been achieved during Cory Aquino's watch, given the tasks she had assigned herself, and the challenges she had to face. It now needs the living to work towards that goal: to see to it that the tears the long suffering people of this country have been shedding, in the last few days as in decades past, will be more than tears lost in rain.--###

Comments and other columns:



One More Time for Cory: Filipinos Take a Glimpse, Feel the Pulse of People Power

PUBLISHED ON August 7, 2009 AT 9:12 AM

Behind the massive outpouring of mourners for Cory Aquino and the reliving of People Power is the fervent desire among Filipinos to have “that good feeling again.”


MANILA — For the sheer volume of mourners who went out of their way to pay their last respects to Cory; for her funeral march replete with historical déjà vu from Ninoy to Edsa; for the popular prayerful gatherings beginning from the time she was at her deathbed up to her wake and funeral, which had also thrown current President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in a comparatively worse light; and for the future challenge of “keeping the spirit of People Power alive” as many mourners wished to do, Cory Aquino’s funeral appears destined to be talked about for a very long time.

The day Cory was buried had been declared a non-working holiday. Yellow ribbons adorned vehicles, gates, windows and trees. Radios and trains played songs associated with her, Ninoy and Edsa, songs such as “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Tree,” “Magkaisa (Unite),” “Handog ng Pilipino (Filipinos’ Offering)” and “Bayan Ko,” the song that likens the Philippine nation to a caged bird desiring freedom. The latter was performed to great acclaim by Lea Salonga at the funeral mass for Cory.

“Cory reawakened the spirit of Edsa People Power,” said her former Cabinet members. Indeed, it was raining confetti once again. Filipinos went out on the streets with what they could afford as send-off for Cory. They wielded makeshift streamers and placards from used sackcloth or cardboard, glistening tarpaulins, balloons, pigeons, even Cory-Doy stickers from the ‘80s. “Volunteerism is back,” observed Twitterers and texters among marching mourners.

In varied versions, reports repeated: “We Pinoys remembered how it had been from 1983 to 1986, when we united to oust an overstaying brutal, corrupt and isolated dictator. We are proud of having done that. It was a period when we stood proud of being Filipinos.”

For giving a chance to relive all that, on top of having symbolized the struggle for democracy in the first Filipino People Power, Cory was, once again, profusely thanked.

Arroyo Conspicuously Absent, Criticized

At the Manila Cathedral thousands attended the early morning funeral Mass for Cory. These included her immediate relatives, friends, supporters, Church people, politicians, students, members of progressive organizations, participants of past People Power uprisings and their families and many spontaneous mourners plus ambulant vendors and small entrepreneurs. Showbiz celebrities and singers also arrived and caused some star-struck cheering in between chanting.

Despite intermittent rain, Cory mourners formed an umbrella-covered human chain outside of the cathedral. This human chain extended from Manila Cathedral to the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque where she would be buried beside martyred husband Ninoy Aquino.

Her cortege passed by streets lined by thick human chains chanting “Cory, Cory, Cory!” Some later joined the funeral procession on foot, on bike or motorcycle.

The trip that should have taken just an hour or two lasted almost eight hours. By then, the National Capital Region police, proving yet again that it has difficulty counting huge crowds, estimated that the mourners numbered only 300,000. Radio commentators cackled in disbelief.

Most of the 2010 presidential aspirants attended the Mass at the Manila Cathedral. Former presidents Fidel V. Ramos and Joseph Estrada were also there, as were the scions of deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Conspicuously absent was President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who got flak from Kris Aquino for having pulled out the presidential security guards detailed with Cory while she lay dying in the hospital. An activist remarked that Arroyo has met her match: another presidential brat, but kinder, more popular and bankable.

Even if Arroyo had sneered during her ninth State of the Nation Address that she didn’t care for popularity, she was forced to apologize and excuse the pullout as a mere “recall.” She also had to visit Cory’s wake at 3 a.m., “like a thief in the night,” commented a radio reporter from DWIZ. Arroyo left the wake after staying for just seven minutes.

But more than the issue of “recalling” presidential guards, Cory mourners have consistently disparaged Arroyo’s leadership. For every outpouring of thanks and praises for Cory Aquino, there seemed to be a reciprocal criticism for Arroyo.

“That seems to be the general atmosphere,” said Luisa Magpayo, one of the ushers from the church during Cory’s wake at the Manila Cathedral. She wished that people would just pray for those who are being condemned. “Pray for your enemies,” she prayed.

“Cory didn’t lie, didn’t cling to power. She treated people with respect and consideration. She was simple and humble. She had integrity. She didn’t steal,” were just some of the praises lavished on Cory. Its inverse, meanwhile, were explicitly or implicitly heaped on Arroyo.

“Not even half of this crowd will likely brave the rain to mourn the present president (when her time comes),” said Adriano Lotoc, 44, a crane operator who went to the Manila Cathedral with relatives, including a five-year old daughter on his shoulder. He attributed the blockbuster turnout to Cory’s religiosity. “She was God-fearing.”

Princess, Tintin, Jhomee, Kevin and Ven, teenage dorm-mates studying at Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Mapua, Lyceum and Colegio de San Juan de Letran, told Bulatlat they went to the funeral because Cory had done a lot of good things for the country.

“We got carried away by this,” they explained, gesturing toward the crowded, confetti-littered patio of the cathedral. One of them chirped though that Piolo Pascual singing at the mass had also exerted a strong pull. As for Arroyo, they doubted she could get the same funeral honors when her time comes. “We hear mostly negative things about her from our parents.”

Laban Signs Again

Along with reliving the proud moments of Edsa came the flashing of the L sign. For Cory and the people, said activist Tonyo Cruz, it still means “Laban (Fight).” But for Arroyo, it means “Loser.” To which other marching activists added: It could also mean “Liar,” or hopefully, “Layas (Go away).”

“Ipaglaban ang Edsa, tapusin si Gloria! (Fight for Edsa, Finish off Gloria!),” screamed a neatly written yellow streamer along the way of Cory’s cortege.

“When Cory’s term ended, she did not seek to extend her stay in Malacanang,” said Consolacion Paje, 53, a housewife from Payatas, Quezon City. “That’s what makes her different from Gloria,” Paje said. “Cory was honest, she had integrity,” she added. “She helped people without having to do it in front of the camera, unlike Gloria.”

Paje waited for the cortege at the Rizal Park, along with friends from Payatas. One of them, Angelita Montenola, 43, also a housewife, said Arroyo and the Filipino people “have much to learn” from Aquino. “If we can only be half as good and half as honest, our country would prosper.”

Not just those who had been aware in the ‘80s had turned up at the funeral. Jen Tuazon, 24, public information writer with the Supreme Court, told Bulatlat that since she was barely a year old in 1986, she went to Cory’s funeral to get a feel of how it must have been in Edsa at the time. To get a glimpse and feel the pulse of People Power.

“It’s also my way of saying sorry because we didn’t live up to the promise of Edsa,” Jen said.

Indeed, mourners and social networks point to similarities between the last years of Marcos’ reign and that of Arroyo, and between moods of the nation when Ninoy was buried in 1983 and Cory this week.

“As in the final years of Marcos, people are deeply frustrated with today’s government. There are unresolved issues, intensifying crises. No amount of government propaganda could assure the Filipinos that we are all right,” noted Bic-Bic Chua, 42, a participant of past Edsa People Power uprisings.

When two million marched to bring Ninoy to his final resting place in 1983, Marcos had been adamant against stepping down. But in 1986, after years of protests, he was finally ousted by People Power. “We now have a president who seems to be just as intensely attached to her position,” said Bic-Bic.

Will it require another People Power to oust this one?

In paying tribute to Cory, Jen Tuazon said she was also, in a way, making a promise to “try to do better to preserve democracy.” Even Kris Aquino, Cory’s outspoken and famous showbiz daughter, vowed in her tearful speech to continue with her brother Noynoy what her parents had begun fighting for.

“People have a sense of history,” said Bic-Bic. Behind the massive outpouring of mourners and reliving of People Power is the Filipinos fervent desire to have “that good feeling again.” (



This one-year old baby had only a bonnet when they came; as the rains fell, she had to be wrapped in yellow plastic

Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes

and Dr. Beng Rivera with their son


They knew what the people wanted while waiting for the cortege but this vendor, left, braved the raiins and stormy weather, to sell iced candy.


◄   They work for a GMA project, but found time

to view the funeral march and even made the Laban sign.

Some Freudian slips in the captions of Bulletin Toiday and ABS-CBN