Remembering Presidents Cory & Noynoy Aquino

Published August 1, 2021, 12:06 AM

by Manila Bulletin

On the morning of August 1, 2009, then Senator Benigno S. Aquino III, announced to reporters that his mother, former President Corazon C. Aquino, had died after a bout with cancer.

She was buried at the Manila Memorial Park on August 5, 2009, beside the grave of her husband, former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. who was assassinated on August 21, 1983. The funeral procession from the Manila Memorial Park lasted for about eight hours — reminiscent of her husband’s funeral 26 years earlier participated in by hundreds of thousands of mourners.

On the 40th day following his mother’s death, Noynoy Aquino announced that he was running for President, a week after he went to the Carmelite monastery in Zamboanga City for a spiritual retreat.

Today, the nation marks the 12th death anniversary of its 11th President, Corazon C. Aquino.  Tomorrow is the 40th day following the death of her son who was elected as the country’s 15th President and served from 2010 to 2016.

President Corazon Aquino’s legacy was the restoration of democracy to the Philippines after 14 years of martial law.  When she was honored with the Magsaysay Award for International Understanding in 1998, the citation read:

“She united the democratic opposition to dictatorship in the Philippines and led it to victory.  She restored her country’s democratic institutions and its good name in the community of nations.  She governed with integrity and the devout intention to do always what was best for the country and its people.

And when her term was over, she stepped down in favor of an elected successor.  No Asian leader of our time can claim as much.”

According to the Social Weather Stations (SWS), the Filipino people rated the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III higher than all its predecessors since 1986 as expressed in average net satisfaction with its performance in five categories: fighting inflation, eradicating graft and corruption, helping the poor, foreign relations, and fighting crime.

His steadfast advocacy of good governance — best remembered in terms of three memorable phrases, namely : “Daang Matuwid”; “Kayo ang Boss Ko”; “Walang wang-wang” (The Straight Path; The People are My Bosses; No Flaunting of Sirens) — translated into good economics.  The country posted an average annual GDP growth of 6.2 per cent and obtained investment grace ratings during his watch.

It is difficult to imagine a similar future scenario where a son succeeds his own mother as President of the Republic within a span of less than two decades.

Such is the fused legacy of Presidents Corazon C. Aquino and Benigno S. Aquino III.  The Filipino people remember them both with prayerful gratitude.