Press Release
August 3, 2009

"A Great Leader Has Fallen
Tribute of A Grateful Nation"

Mr. President, I rise to pay tribute to a fallen Great Leader of our nation. Since the early morning of Saturday, the first day of August 2009, the Filipino nation is in grief, mourning the passing of its "Icon of Democracy". To be called an "Icon of Democracy" is an extraordinary honor in itself but President Corazon "Cory" C. Aquino was more than that.

She had shown her strength first as the devoted wife of Ninoy whose exultations for freedom she kept alive our hearts by Cory herself braving the loneliness and threats to her person and her family. As a widow she exuded in her own person the ideals of Ninoy. Brokering harmony and unity among various factions then against the Marcos Presidency, she did not compromise on justice, freedom and democracy. In that she became the entire country's mother.

After the election in January 1986, the Batasang Pambansa declared Marcos as the winner in the snap election amidst charges of massive fraud and cheating, thereafter Cory toured the country to enlighten the Filipino people of the election fraud and cheating and denounced the Marcos dictatorship;

She was the natural moral choice when on February 22, 1986, a group in the military led by then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and AFP Vice Chief of Staff, General Fidel V. Ramos broke away from the Marcos regime. She called on us and we came. In millions, in EDSA and all nerve centers of the country.

Cory, through the "People Power" she led, had united the Filipinos in their quest for freedom, justice and democracy that led to the downfall of a dictatorship and inspired other nations to launch their versions of "people power" which triggered the collapse of communist regimes and dictatorships in Eastern Europe and Latin America.

In the six years of her Presidency, Cory courageously defended our freedom and democracy from various challenges and threats of military coups.

Cory delivered her promise to guide us towards the democratic path by directing the crafting of the 1987 Constitution considered by many as the "Freedom Constitution".

She broke the hold of many families of privilege in the economy and beyond the bounds of her privileged class laid the path to economic democracy.

In her governance, public office was lived as a public trust. We pray that that time will come again.

Though we will miss our separation from her, we can keep our bonds with her alive by the proof of our lives in the personal and public spheres.

May these solemn Guns of August that we offer her signal us to a celebration of her life.

Mr. President, when the sound of the of the last gunshot from the 21-gun salute fades in the air, its deafening silence will be a constant reminder to all of us, that indeed, our covenant with our people is to nurture, protect and defend our democracy at all costs, as exemplified by Cory and her husband Ninoy and many others who came before them.

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