The outpouring of collective grief and sympathetic emotions for the death of the former president reveals a very important and poignant message for the country. Yes, we will be deeply missing the moving presence and inspiring influence of the former president -- especially more because she is the only Philippine president that has really demonstrated a very strong ethical leadership.
Yes, there were many issues hurled against her administration (all presidents will always have contending issues). Yes, she could have done this and that. Yes, she worked on some but missed on many others. Yes, she stood her ground for many actions, while giving in to some political pressures. As a president, she did what she did! And many times, she came out politically firm and morally strong, and that gained her more of the people's admiration and popular support. She even earned the respect of her worst detractors for her incredible sincerity and humility.
President Cory holds the venerable position in the country's history as the one who ousted the conjugal dictatorship of the Marcoses, brought back democracy and fundamental freedoms, re-established the democratic institutions, as well as survived successfully seven coup attempts in her government. As the first woman Philippine president and with her bloodless people power revolutions, she became a venerated model worldwide -- a stature unequaled by her successors.
But the most important message of the president's death is her irrefutable integrity, strong morals and public ethics and humility -- the kind of virtues that we find wanting in almost all elected politicians who came after her. Cory's administration may be fraught with many controversies, but she hardly had a major issue of corruption in her own person and presidency -- the kind of corruption issues that keep on persisting and hounding all the Philippine presidents since the Martial Law period.
At the font of her virtues is the most important manifestation of leadership -- President Aquino did not cling on to power! And she made it clear from the very start till the end of her term. And so she had no hidden agenda, and so she was focused on her goals, and so she was determined for a peaceful and orderly transition of governance, and so she only aspired to really serve the people as the Philippine president who even had no plans to become one. She was only bent on pursuing the case of Ninoy! Her election into office was really providential! And it served the purpose; Ninoy should be very pleased and approving of her. President Cory did not waste what Ninoy stood and even died for the country!
Yes, the public outpouring for President Cory is all about people's craving for integrity, ethical leadership, strong morals, public ethics and humility in governance. It is all about using power for the people, and never for self-perpetuation! President Cory did not hang on to power, despite all the revolutionary temptations (she had all the revolutionary powers and influence then). President Cory will always be a benchmark of restraint in Philippine politics and governance.
But as almost all politicians have wanted to perpetually indulge and stay in power, President Cory's virtues have become scarce and scarcer in Philippine politics! I pray that our politicians will have the wisdom and courage to read and adhere to what the people have long craved for, as lived, symbolized and personified by President Aquino. The people will always crave for a Cory in our political midst!
This is the great lesson on the death of President Cory --
on how you lived your life will greatly shape how your death will be regarded!
Farewell Madam President, farewell!
May God bless this country!