I DID NOT KNOW HER PERSONALLY, BUT…
I did not know her personally. But I was fortunate enough to be around already when the 1st People Power took place. And I am sure then and now that I cannot distinguish one from the other: Cory led the People Power, and the People Power revolved around Cory’s courage.
She had demonstrated for us the type of leadership that strives for acceptance and legitimacy among the people.
Instead of relying on coercion usually enforced by armed groups, and manipulation observed in many patronage networks, she stood firmly and worked quietly for the restoration and strengthening of democracy and its institutions.
Instead of polarizing the armed forces, she pushed for social justice and empowerment.
Instead of manipulating government agencies for political gains, she implemented reforms in the bureaucracy.
Instead of endangering the electoral system, she gladly relinquished leadership to the next President.
I did not know her personally. But I will draw inspiration from her works and deeds. And at this point, I am sure many Filipinos are doing the same. Thus in her death, as in her life, she had awaken among us a sense of solidarity and pride for being Filipinos, Christians, and Catholics.
It is so easy to fall into the trappings of our everyday routine, and forget the fact that what we do (or do not do) ultimately defines the future that we create.
It is easy to say: “It is far away, why bother?” only to realize later on that we suffer the consequences of inaction, with our fellow Filipinos.
It is easy to babble about Philippine democracy as a concept, but difficult to realize that it is also a historical reality born out of the difficulties and sacrifices of earlier generations and must be consequently sustained and guarded by the present and future generations.
I did not know her personally. But she has touched my life not only as the leader of the country, but as a human being who struggles and grapples with the same everyday concerns of Filipinos. As a scholar, an activist, a widowed parent, and a woman, the various aspects of her life is a witnessing of her faith, fortitude, and courage.
To my mind CORY symbolized courage and strength that is not born from aggression and intimidation! She had shown us the kind of determination and unwavering commitment that comes from the heart and from the soul!
She also lived a life anchored on peace and non-violence, driven by the conviction that the path to unity and development is solidarity and respect for human dignity.
Most importantly, she has demonstrated that dignity, honor, and noble ideals are worth fighting for. In essence, her life has been a living testimony to the famous ideal espoused by her husband Ninoy: “The Filipino is worth dying for!”
I did not know her personally. But I will always remember her with fondness and gratitude.
Thank you Cory. (And Thank you Ninoy.)
In your life and in your death, (both of) you fought for the Filipinos in your unique, persistent, enduring ways.
I have never felt prouder about my being Pinoy, as I do right now!
4 July 2009