by Ram Maxey
THAT was some funeral!
The two-hour proceedings inside the jampacked Manila Cathedral, the seven hour procession to the Manila Memorial Park and the final interment there in her own niche beside the tomb of her martyred husband, Ninoy – and Cory passed into history.
And through it all, there I was, seated – glued to the boob tube, as it were – all but mesmerized by what I saw and heard and felt. Cory was dead, Long live, Cory? Of course, in the hearts and minds of her people. She had become overnight, the “mother” of her people. She, who had restored democracy to her country through her courageous defiance of the Marcos dictatorship, thereby inspiring her countrymen to rise as one and topple a tyrant to the amazement of the world that was shocked and awed by it all.
The long, tedious funeral march was a revelation in itself. Proceeding along at a snail’s pace and hemmed in from both sides by tens of thousands of grieving mourners who from time to time hailed her name “Cory!…Cory!…Cory!…not really minding that their Tita Cory could not hear them. The rain that fell intermittently during the march did not seem to bother Cory’s adulators, although it was a cinch that a good number of the drenched multitude would wake up the next day feeling tired and feverish.
The television networks had a field day (and night) covering the event, although one such network overdid its focus on Cory’s youngest daughter, the very popular television host, Kris. She certainly shed the most tears. Naturally, her grief was palpable and that’s understandable. But did the network have to keep repeating that segment over and over and over? I thought it was uncalled for, even if they were projecting her image because of the possibility of Kris running for a seat in the senate in 2010. If the elections were to be held day after tomorrow, she’s a shoo-in. Showbiz and sports celebrities have ended up occupying seats in Congress, sorry to remind you. How she would fare if it does happen, I leave to your rich imagination.
While Cory was not an outstanding president, that was not expected anyway. It was enough that she served as an inspiration to her people. It was enough that she helped restore democracy to the land. When she stepped own after six her six-year term, she did so with quiet dignity, leaving no ripples in her wake. Ripples of corruption, misgovernance, inefficiency, political unrest, and all that kind of jazz.
But have we learned the lesson of history? Recent history, that is. Her successor, Fidel V. Ramos will be remembered more for his being able to solve the energy crisis and a stable government. Joseph Ejercito Estrada…oh, well, he didn’t last long. Here today, and gone tomorrow. Convicted of plunder, he never saw the inside of a jail, I mean one with iron bars. His successor, for unknown reasons, pardoned him and these days you hear or read about his ambition to run for president yet again.
Haven’t we learned from Cory’s legacy? The current incumbent seems loathed to step down and away from power. Her allies in Congress don’t want to say goodbye to her, either. Birds of the same feather, you know.
Oh, Cory. That was some funeral. We wonder, though, if you didn’t die in vain…