Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cory Aquino in the eyes of a fellow Tarlaqueña

By Jet Rivera

I'm an Aguman member from Tarlac City - San Miguel, Tarlac City where the Cojuangco's Hacienda Luisita is located. Whenever I introduce myself and say that I am from Tarlac City, people would rejoin and mention, "Ah, Hacienda Luisita!" I would just smile, somehow relish at the thought that people associate me with the vast Hacienda. I would often tell my mom, "They also think that I am a haciendera."

Tarlac became prominent in our nation's history not just because of this place, but because of its noble sons and daughters who had carved a niche as gallant freedom fighters and valiant statesmen. To name a few, we Tarlaqueños are proud of Gen. Francisco S. Makabulos, a native of La Paz who fought during the Revolution against the Spaniards and later, against the Americans; Gen. Servillano A. Aquino, also an officer of the Revolution who became a delegate to the Malolos Congress; former Senator Benigno Q. Aquino Sr; national hero Benigno Servillano "Ninoy" A. Aquino Jr. and of course, the "simple" housewife who restored not only our democracy but more importantly, redeemed our national dignity before the world, former Pres. Ma. Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco-Aquino – a feat no man had accomplished.

To many, she was just Ninoy's widow, or a little later, Kris' mom. But to all of us, she is CORY – the 11th President of the Republic of the Philippines – the first woman president (and unarguably the only well-loved, highly esteemed woman President up to this date).

The first time I heard about the name Cory was in 1986. We were then the only family in our barangay that owned a television set and so, all residents went to our house to watch history as it unfolds at EDSA, except for our neighbor the Capitan del Barrio who was a Marcos loyalist.

Since then, every classroom I went to had a picture of Cory, the President. Some of her critics from Tarlac used to lament the fact the Cory did not "urbanize" Tarlac the way Marcos did to Ilocos Norte. My family would always defend her by saying that Cory is a righteous leader who does not give unfair preference or favor just because she was from Tarlac.

With the outpouring of grief, love and support for the Aquino family during Cory's funeral, the list of Tarlaqueños I am proud of became longer. Added to it were Cory's children & their families for we have witnesses how unselfishly they have shared the last moments of their mother with the people! My respect for the former First Family grew! We could only yearn that our present and future leaders emulate their worthy example.

I was out of town when the news about President Cory's death reached me. I couldn't explain why it felt so heavy, as if I lost a relative or someone dear to me. I continued monitoring everything about her wake, My eyes were permanently glued to our screens – TV & computer alike, until the very last second of the media's coverage, never mind my deadlines. I felt that it was the least I could do to honor her memory and legacy.

Now I knew why I felt the loss. It's because the late President Cory was dear to me, so dear that I gathered my daughters with me while watching her funeral and patiently introduced to them President Cory and her contributions to our society.

Jet Rivera is an Aguman alumna from batch Diquit-Diquit 1996A. Like Ate Candy, Ate Monette and Ate Lec, shared such a personal post so we published it separately. She says she is really impressed with this Cory Specials idea. This is still part of the Aslag Online tribute to the beloved former Philippine President, Cory Aquino.

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