MANILA, Philippines -- Former President Joseph Estrada led thousands of Manila folk in a prayer Sunday for the healing of ailing democracy icon Corazon Aquino, whom he described as "the most loved woman president of the Philippines."
"She is not only most loved, she is also most respected for all the good things she has done for us," Estrada said after the mass at the Sto. Nino Church in Tondo, Manila.
"Ito ay alay na dasal ng mga mahihirap para kay President Cory [This is a prayer offering by the poor for President Cory]," Estrada also said.
Yellow ribbons fluttered from trees and electric posts around the church. At the church patio, elderly street vendors were seen wearing yellow ribbons around their head, a throwback to the "yellow fever" that a swept the metropolis following the assassination of Aquino's husband, Benigno Aquino Jr., on Aug. 21, 1983.
The yellow protests culminated in the ouster of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in February 1986, and the ascendancy of Corazon Aquino as the first woman president of the Republic.
Aquino, now 76 years old, has been battling cancer of the colon since March 2008.
Her condition has not improved since last month when she was admitted into the Makati Medical Center for general weakness and loss of appetite.
Her son-in-law Eldon Cruz has told the press she was "Okay but in pain."
Her long-time secretary Margie Juico said the former president has been under a pain management treatment" which has been keeping her asleep "most of the time."
Healing masses for Aquino will be held at the open-sided chapel at Greenbelt 5 in Makati City starting Monday, July 27.
Hosted by the Makati Business Club, the masses will be held every 12:15 p.m., until Friday, July 31.