A Cory Cult

Nestor Mata

MANILA – Many thousands of mourning Metro Manilans lined the streets, tossed yellow flowers and confetti, and chanted “Cory! Cory! Cory! as the funeral cortege bearing the remains of Corazon Cojuangco Aquino slowly moved from the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros to the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City August 5.

The burial of Cory?s remains in the plot beside her martyred husband Ninoy Aquino, whose death in 1983 catapulted her to the presidency in 1986, may have marked the end of an astonishing story in our political history.

But it may also very well signal the beginning of Cory Aquino’s political sainthood.
Already, Time International —- which had named her “Woman of the Year” at the end of 1986, the first female to hold that annual distinction on her own since the newly-crowned Queen Elizabeth of England —- has declared her the “People Power’s Philippine Saint.”

Cory Aquino was the “devout and stoic Roman Catholic widow,” wrote Time’s Howard Chua-Eoan, who “became the incarnation of a pious nation that had suffered silently through more than a decade of autocratic rule.”

“Aquino was convinced that her presidency was divinely inspired, even as her political foes mocked her piety. And miracle of miracles, she proved God right and her critics wrong.”

Indeed, “Tita Cory,” as she is lovingly called by her nickname, and dubbed as the “icon of democracy” by the world press, will be remembered as the “mere housewife” that toppled the dictatorship of Marcos and once more restored democracy in the Philippines.

During her tumultuous six-year term in the presidency, she survived eight deadly coup attempts and finished her six-year term as the 7th president of the Philippines. But even after she left Malacañang, she was still politically active, occasionally.

She led public protests against policies adopted by her successors like Fidel V. Ramos, the military general who rebelled against President Ferdinand E. Marcos and the first Protestant president in an overwhelmingly Catholic country, and Joseph “Erap” Estrada, the movie star and idol of the masses.
Before she was stricken and battled a painful colon cancer, Cory added her voice to the public clamor for Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s resignation as president in the wake of charges of corruption, scams and scandals hurled against her and First Spouse Mike Arroyo.

And now, with all the accolades pouring in from Pope Benedict XVI to POTUS Barack Obama, from other presidents and prime ministers to kings and queens all over the world, and the millions of Filipinos chanting “Cory!, Cory! Cory!” and their collective voices soaring with these adoring words, “We love you, Tita Cory! Salamat!! Paalam!!!, are we witnessing the making of a “Cory Cult”?

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