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Kris Aquino to President Benigno III: The silent majority still believes in you

IN LIFE OR DEATH FONDLY REMEMBERED In this composite photo, former President Corazon Aquino stands tall on the beach of Boracay in this 1992 shot (left). Cory, who died of colon cancer on Aug. 1, 2009, was fondly remembered on her fifth death anniversary yesterday during a Mass celebrated at her tomb at Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, Parañaque City. VAL RODRIGUEZ PHOTO FROM MARGIE JUICO COLLECTION / JOAN BONDOC

On the fifth death anniversary of former President Corazon Aquino on Friday, her youngest daughter Kris Aquino turned emotional as she asked for support and prayers for President Benigno Aquino III who, the celebrity host said, was “doing a good job”  running the country.

Mr. Aquino and sisters Kris, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz and Viel Aquino-Dee, joined family and friends in a Mass celebrating the life and legacy of the former President who lies interred at Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City beside her husband, opposition leader Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.

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Cory Aquino died of colon cancer on Aug. 1, 2009.

“All of us who love and support Noy should be there with him not only in those moments [when] he is being criticized but, more importantly, [also] in the moments [when] he is doing good,” Kris said to applause from her family, including son Josh, and other guests.

“I can tell Noy now that the great majority of people still believe in him; they know what a good job he is doing. But the problem is that his supporters and believers choose to remain silent about their observations,” said the youngest of President Aquino’s four sisters.

Not complacent

It was after President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) last Monday when the whole family realized that “we should not be complacent,” added Kris, who said she had volunteered to deliver the message on her mother’s fifth death anniversary on behalf of the Aquino family.

Asked by Fr. Catalino Arevalo to give his own message, President Aquino declined but joined his sisters in lighting candles on their mother’s grave and in singing “Bayan Ko” at the end of the Mass.

Arevalo, who gave the homily during the Mass, said Cory and Ninoy were with the Filipino people in praying for the country and for President Aquino who, he said, needed guidance, courage and peace of heart.

“Tita Cory’s death was not a sign of defeat or loss but a sign of anticipation and hope,” the priest said, adding that the sense of hope came with the election to the presidency of Cory’s son, then Sen. Benigno Aquino III.

The groundswell of support for former President Cory Aquino after her death in 2009 inspired the so-called “Yellow Army” to urge her only son to seek the presidency in the 2010 elections, which Mr. Aquino won by a landslide.

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Kris said she would wear yellow for most of her television appearances to show support for her brother.

‘Silent protest’

“Two and a half weeks ago while watching the news, I saw the bias when those reporting the news wore the color of the people going against my brother,” Kris said, referring to the “red and black” protest at the Supreme Court that had employees wearing red or black shirts as a silent protest against the President’s remarks on the Disbursement Acceleration Program, which the high court had declared unconstitutional.

“After that, I told my sisters that I would start wearing yellow,” the TV host and actress added.

Kris said that on social media, she also responded to people who had something good to say about the President while blocking those who were “nega” (negative). But, she added, very few people comprised the latter.

Aside from strength, Kris said she was also praying for her brother’s “good health, courage and the fortitude to last.”

Turned emotional

When it was her mother leading the country, “we saw that no matter what, she could handle it,” Kris said.

“But it is really different when it is your brother because you feel different and you want to do everything you want to help him out,” she added, turning emotional.

She broke the moment, however, and said she didn’t mind paying very expensive quarterly taxes because she knows that the money will be spent by responsible people.

“I just want all of you to join me because every night, my kids and I have a simple prayer and that is for God to guide Noy, give him strength, help him [and] give him inspiration, and for all his supporters to make him feel that they are there for him every day,” Kris said.

Fight vs dictatorship

Malacañang, meanwhile, urged the public to follow the “virtues” of the late President by continuing the collective work of strengthening the country’s democracy.

“As we look back on President Cory’s celebrated life, let us remember the virtues for which she [was] best known and which had endeared her to the public—the courage with which she adopted the fight for democracy; the humility which she maintained throughout her presidency and the compassion with which she considered the needs of all Filipinos,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement yesterday.

Lacierda recalled how Cory Aquino “took up the country’s fight against dictatorship” after her husband’s death.

“In the years leading up to the 1986 Edsa Revolution, President Cory embodied the country’s struggle for freedom—a struggle that continued during her presidency as she sought to undo the mistakes of the past and establish safeguards to ensure that the country never falls under a dictatorship again,” Lacierda said.

“This is the legacy she left us with, a legacy that marks not only the pages of our history but also our collective memory. In gratitude for her contributions, let us seek to emulate these virtues as we continue her work of establishing a stronger, even more vibrant democracy,” Lacierda added.

‘True icon of democracy’

He added that Cory Aquino was a “true icon of democracy not just in name but [also] in action.”

After her six-year term from 1992 to 1998, “Citizen Cory,” as she called herself, continued to support various social projects and charitable institutions.

“Five years after her death, we still see clearly how her life proves that the Filipino is worth living for,” Lacierda said.

In his Sona last Monday, President Aquino became emotional as he recalled his parents’ legacy amid a difficult year in his own presidency.

In his speech, Mr. Aquino echoed his father’s words, “the Filipino is worth dying for,” and his mother’s, “the Filipino is worth living for,” before adding his own, “the Filipino is worth fighting for.”

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TAGS: 1986 Edsa Revolution, Aquino, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, benigno `ninoy’ Aquino jr., Benigno Aquino III, Corazon Aquino, Cory Aquino, Fr. Catalino Arevalo, Kris Aquino, Marcos dictatorship, President Aquino, Sona, Sona 2014, State of the Nation Address, Viel Aquino-Dee
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