Friday, July 31, 2009

Corazon Aquino, 1933-2009. R.I.P.

Corazon Aquino, who served as President of the Philippines from 1986 to 1992, has died of colon cancer. She was 76.

She considered herself "a plain housewife." But she was different from the other housewives in Newton, Massachusetts. Her husband was Benigno Aquino, a Philippine Senator and arch rival of Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos.

The Aquinos lived in exile in the Boston area for three years after he underwent heart surgery. But Aquino wanted to return to the Phillipines despite being well aware of the risks. As he got off the plane in Manila on August 21, 1983 he was assassinated by a gunshot to the head.

But instead of killing the Filipino opposition it was merely re-mobilized around his widow Corazon who had no previous political experience. Yet just over 2½ years after the assassination of Begnino Aquino, Marcos was driven from power by his own corruption, disaffection from the populace, defection from amongst his own ranks, the legacy of Begnino Aquino and the transparent decency of Corazon Aquino who was to become the new President of the Philippines. For this she was named Woman of the Year by TIME Magazine.

Aquino and her story hit a raw nerve with people around the world. Her husband was killed in her presence and she stood up to the man who had the most to gain from his death. She did so with a grace and humility that is rare in politics. To be sure governing was not an easy task. Frequent coup attempts accompanied by natural disasters and a weak economy are not the ingredients for a successful presidency. Perhaps her greatest legacy was that she was truly a democrat. When it came time for her to leave office in 1992, she did. No military coups. No rewriting of the constitution. She just left office without fanfare. The likes of Hugo Chavez and Manuel Zelaya should take note.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

corazon aquino is a very spirited woman. if you try to talk to her he is just like a mother not a president. thumbs up!! =)