A private funeral for a former president?
Even in death, Cory made a scathing statement against the sitting president. Her death four days after the veritable divination-of-animal-entrails State of the Nation Address, was her best riposte against the sitting President. Cory’s family declined a Malacanang offer of state funeral.
Shortly before she died, Cory was heard saying, as Billy Esposo attests, “I had undergone a lot of these black propaganda attacks and vilification under the Marcos regime and our political opponents when I was still president. But I am shocked at the viciousness of this one.”
This was the aftermath of Cory’s apparent gall of asking the Malacanang tenant to vacate the palace in 2004. Soon after, attack dogs of GMA went after the trail of the Lady in Yellow. First off, the Mendiola massacre was refreshed. Not long after, the DAR Secretary was told to recall whatever official imprimatur was granted on the Hacienda Luisita corporate design, where long term tenants were given shares or what amount to proofs of ownership instead of certificates of title over some identified area in the historic landed estate. Cory had feet of clay as well, was the angle the Palace operatives wanted Cory portrayed. By keeping Luisita intact, she was a hypocrite. She was elitist was the drift. All the soft words for the farmers were nothing but rhetoric.
GMA’s political consultants were jubilant by the apparent impact of their cruel blitz against Cory. “See the dwindling crowds on Cory’s personally attended rallies, Madam President?” They chorused that the ex-president was already a spent force.
A former President deserves the honor of a grateful nation by way of a state funeral. We witnessed how America, in their abiding tradition, honored two of their former Presidents, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, when they died one after the other. They were accorded fitting rites as proof of their gratitude. Because by doing so they honor themselves as a great and noble people.
Without the state ritual, we betray our triviality.
The pains Cory suffered from the hands of GMA minions are insignificant over our paramount national repute. We fear that we earn the reputation in these parts that we, as a people, do not have a sense of proportion. We validate the observation of James Fallows that ours is a damaged culture after all. He said, “when a country with extreme geographic, tribal, and social-class differences, like the Philippines, has only a weak offsetting sense of national unity, its public life does become the war of every man against every man.”
Cory no longer belongs to Kris or Noynoy or Balsy. She belongs to us. We understand the hurt that descended upon the family in the wake of the pr war waged against Cory generalled by the First Gentleman and Gabby Claudio. We grant how mean GMA is as fortified by her last SONA.
The Presidency is not a boxing ring. Adverse opinions are not shadow boxing. Critics are not prizefighters but the best evidence of a vibrant democracy Cory represented. GMA regards herself as way below the fray, no different from just another moonlighting hitman. But let us teach this miserable creature a lesson. Let us give Cory what she is worthy of, an apt homage from a thankful nation.
GMA and her factotums are not us. Let them grapple the moral consequence of their cabal later on. The Aquino Family should not deny the Filipino people the honour and the tribute a state funeral Cory Aquino, the mother of the nation and democracy’s best specimen, deserves.