Eased out as headline news in most parts of the world, including the Philippines, by the death of Michael Jackson is the battle with colon cancer of former president Cory Aquino. Good thing too. She confounded most participants of the aborted deathwatch by getting well, at least for now. The media had to content itself with covering the many “get-well Tita Cory” activities in the wake of her reported death. Which was of course greatly exaggerated.
Who doesn’t want to wish her well and a speedy recovery ? Everyone it seems wants her to get back on her feet, the icon of feisty political courage, except Cory herself. She just wants to die, and join Ninoy in the Great Rally in the sky. After having given so much of herself to God, country and the cause of democracy, why not give her this one last wish and let her die with dignity and grace ? Instead, there’s a media circus outside the Makati Med and environs, where she was expected to breath her last.
She doesn’t deserve this. She was a good president and she was a bad president, but on the balance she was the most we could hope for at that historical juncture and she did her best. As Raul Pangalangan points out, and which we all know instinctively, the transition from the brutal Marcos dictatorship wouldn’t have been possible without a Cory who ensured a peaceful handover of power at the end of her term and who didn’t ambition to lift term limits. Which is a lot more than can be said of Gloria Arroyo. While the anxiety of the loss of so great a symbol at this critical time is understandable, we should as a nation be able to let her go. There will be opportunity enough for eulogies, weeping and the wearing of sackcloth and ashes after she finally croaks (which won’t be long now, given the course of her illness). In the meantime, give her time and space with her family and some close friends. Like most of us, she just has to tie up a few loose ends before she says good bye.
We should have the decency to allow her the solitude and privacy she has been praying for. And resist the urge to make her the focal point of so much cheap sentimentality, which only plays into the hand of those politicos who want to be associated with Cory to advance their own agendas for 2010.