Twenty five years after the death of her husband, the former Senator Benigno Aquino; Corazon "Cory" Cojuangco-Aquino, the Philippines former and most reluctant President is facing a serious threat on her life with cancer of the colon. The news was released to media by her only son Benigno III and youngest daughter Kris. The country's yellow symbol of struggle, best remembered for challenging the powerful dictator Ferdinand Marcos for the Presidency; who braved the formidable machinery and political stranglehold of Marcos throughout the country to restore democracy, is now fighting a tough personal battle at this late stage in her life.
The former housewife who stayed in the background to support her husband's political career, was thrust into the forefront of the murky waters of Philippine politics upon the assassination of "Ninoy" Aquino in 1983. She was catapulted by wave upon wave of people who looked up to her as their hope for change and a better life. Her most important legacy was the restoration of democracy in the country. However, the social order that she knew based on her experience, and the movers of democracy that she was familiar and comfortable with, were of the elitist and oligarchic nature that became the pillars of her restoration efforts. The change she instituted was a return to the system before the Marcos tyranny took effect; a system that had built in diseases of corruption from where the corrupt martial law regime was superimposed.The seeds of martial law were deeply embedded in this old system.
After her term, her popularity and influence began to wane. Part of the reasons were the expectations left unfulfilled and the global influence she failed to capitalize on, such as debt repudiation. Also, her personal campaign for the retention of US bases, and her support for the Presidency of Gloria Arroyo through another People Power - whom she now opposes together with Former President Estrada - the one she helped depose to install Arroyo. The people have become wary of this method, and now see it as nothing but a power grab to hoist the ambitions of a few who do not want to spend so much, or who cannot wait, or worse, cannot expect to win.
Cory had the noblest of intentions, and was the most distanced President from the perks of power. However, the limits of her grounding in politics and governance hindered the critical decisions that could have benefited the country more. It is rather unfair that cancer should strike her down. Perhaps the struggles and humiliation she experienced during the martial law era, plus the pressures and impositions of the Presidency had weakened her resistance to the deadly cells of cancer. She epitomizes the restored Philippine democracy, where the Filipinos, who have struggled long and endured much suffering, were vested in a restored system that is currently being eaten by the cancer of corruption, from which there seems to be no escape, no hope, and no change.