Ballsy Aquino-Cruz on Cory Aquino’s 8th death anniversary. Inquirer/Lyn Rillon
ON CORY’S 8TH DEATH ANNIVERSARY
On the 8th death anniversary of democracy icon former President Corazon Aquino, her children mused about how it must be difficult for their friends and supporters to be seen with them these days.
As she thanked them for joining the Aquinos in a Mass at the family mausoleum at Manila Memorial Park on Tuesday, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz quipped that it was not an “in” thing to be friends with the Aquinos nowadays.
This was met by chuckles from the crowd that was smaller compared to when Cory and Ninoy Aquino’s only son, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, was President for six years.
The former President, who stepped down from office in June last year, now faces charges of usurpation of authority and graft for allowing his then PNP Director General Alan Purisima, although serving a suspension at that time, to participate in the counterterrorism operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
While the Mamasapano operation neutralized Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, it also left 44 police commandos dead.
Cruz thanked those who supported her mother and brother during their terms as president, saying there were many of them when the Aquinos were still in power.
But there was still a good number of people who showed up at the cemetery, mostly clad in the opposition signature color yellow and singing the opposition battlecry song “Bayan Ko.”
Kris, the youngest Aquino sibling, kept a low profile, choosing to stay at the back with her son, James Jr., throughout the Mass. Elder son Josh, who also wore a yellow shirt, stood beside his uncle Noynoy.
Former Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III at the tomb of his parents, former Pres. Corazon C. Aquino and Sen. Ninoy Aquino, on the 8th death anniversary of his mother. Inquirer/Rillon
After their eldest sister spoke, the former president answered questions from reporters without hesitation.
Like his sister, Aquino said that their family was “touched to see the people who came to be with us today, especially those who were with us when Daddy was killed,” referring to the 1983 assassination of Ninoy.
“That time, many people were tense to be seen with us,” the former President said, adding that they seem to be living again in those times.
Asked if the foundation of the country’s democracy, restored through the bloodless 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution, remained strong, Aquino replied that anything that is not being taken care of would eventually crumble.
“It is our obligation to defend our rights that we fought for. If we don’t give importance to these rights, we might wake up one day to find them gone,” Aquino said.
Also present in the gathering were Aquino siblings Viel and Pinky, their cousin Sen. Bam Aquino, former Aquino Cabinet members Armin Luistro and Voltaire Gazmin and Cory spokesperson Deedee Siytangco. — With a report from Dexter Cabalza; editors: JE/ atm/ac