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DEMOCRACY ICON. Former president Corazon Aquino, seen here during a recent mass for truth held at the University of Santo Tomas ,has been diagnosed with colon cancer, her family said Monday. Aquino, 74, became an icon of democracy, challenging the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in a snap election and eventually replacing him after he was ousted in a popular uprising in 1986. She is the widow of former senator Benigno Aquino Jr., the charismatic opposition politician whose 1983 assassination gave birth to the protest movement that would eventually toppled the 14-year Marcos dictatorship. Lately, she has called on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to resign because of corruption allegations. PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER FILE PHOTO


(UPDATE 8) Former president Aquino has colon cancer--family

First Posted 15:13:00 03/24/2008

Filed Under: Health, Diseases

MANILA, Philippines -- Former president Corazon Aquino is suffering from colon cancer and is in a hospital, her family said Monday.

Aquino?s daughter Kris, a people television host and actress, read a statement on television saying the cancer was discovered when the former president went to have a check up.

A weeping Kris, with her brother, Senator Benigno Aquino III beside her, said their family is asking for ?compassion and prayers for our Mom?s recovery.?

"Our mother had suffered from an episode of high blood pressure and difficulty in breathing followed by fever during the week in between Christmas and New Year. Since that time, we became concerned because of her consistent cough, loss of appetite and noticeable weight loss,? she said.

"Our mom wanted to know what was wrong with her, and with her family by her side, she submitted herself to a check-up and several tests. The results showed that our mother is suffering cancer of the colon," she added.

The Aquino family statement said it was the former president who wanted her condition made public because she ?has always believed in being upfront. Over and above anything else, she's a woman who has lived her entire life entrusting everything to the Lord, and she has always been a woman of great faith.?

?Alam po namin na ang buhay ng aming pamilya ay bahagi na ng kasaysayan ng ating bayan. Desisyon po ng nanay namin na mag-release kami ng statement, para maunawaan ng lahat ang kanyang kasalukuyang kalagayan [We know that the life of our family is part of the history of our nation. Our mother has decided to have a statement released so that everyone will understand her present condition],? it added.

At the same time, she also asked that the former president ?be accorded her privacy? during a ?very difficult time for our family and, most especially our mother.?

?We?re saddened to hear the news about the condition of former president Cory Aquino,? Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said in Malacañang. ?We join her family and the rest of the Filipino nation in praying that God give her strength during this time of adversity and we pray for her speedy recovery.?

?I?m really sorry. We just have to pray that she?s not very, very serious,? Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said.

Opposition Senators Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and Francis Pangilinan said they are praying for Aquino's recovery.

?Keep the faith. You have loved our people beyond what many deserved. God in turn has loved you beyond compare. Bing and I pray God's blessing will ever be with you,? said Pimentel, who served in Aquino's Cabinet as minister of interior and local government.

?My family and I join the rest of the nation in prayer for former president Cory Aquino's complete healing. We also pray for strength and courage for the Aquino family as they face this difficult trial,? said Pangilinan, a party mate of Senator Aquino III.

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, who has been known to make biting remarks against Aquino, who has joined those seeking the resignation of Arroyo for alleged corruption, also wished the former president recovery.

"I wish her recovery...the darkest days of Holy week [have] has passed already," Gonzalez said, adding that colon cancer is curable.

Gonzalez said he has high regards for Aquino despite their disagreements.

"We may disagree on political matters but my regard for her as a person stays," said Gonzalez, who described himself as a good friend of the former president?s husband.

Aquino, 74, widow of the late senator Benigno Aquino Jr., became president after a popular uprising ousted the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

Her husband was assassinated on his return the country from exile in 1983. The murder gave birth to the protest movement that eventually led to the downfall of the 14-year Marcos dictatorship.

Usually dressed in her trademark yellow in public, she has remained active in social and political causes. Most recently, she has been attending rallies calling for the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Tetch Torres, Veronica Uy, Maila Ager; Associated Press

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