AUGUST 6, 2009
(STAR) TAKIN' CARE OF BUSINESS By Babe Romualdez - The past couple of days have been historical for the country, with millions of Filipinos mourning the passing of former president Corazon Aquino, acknowledged worldwide as the icon of democracy in the Philippines. Judging from the massive outpouring of sympathy and love for the late president, there is no doubt her place in history has been enshrined. And months, maybe even years from now, books will be written about Mrs. Aquino’s life and legacy, with no detail considered too little or insignificant, perhaps even including the following footnotes:

• Jorge Araneta, who is familiar with crowds because of the Araneta Coliseum, estimates the crowd at around 1.5 million a day coming from all over the country to pay their respects to the late president, or approximately 70,000 an hour at an average of 20 hours per day.

• Former Energy Secretary Vince Perez had suggested to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. “Say” Tetangco Jr. that the P500 bill bearing the face of Ninoy Aquino should now include the image of the late president Cory Aquino.

• Those fortunate enough to get a glimpse of the late president had about two to three seconds to say a prayer before moving on to accommodate the endless queue of people patiently waiting for their turn, staying in line for seven hours unmindful of the inclement weather. At one point, reports said the line of people waiting reached a kilometer all the way to Plaza Lawton.

• The funeral procession from La Salle to the Manila Cathedral took almost five hours, and it was perhaps the only time in many years that people did not mind getting stuck in traffic, with motorists stopping to show their deference and solidarity with the crowd, reminiscent of Ninoy Aquino’s funeral procession in 1983.

• For the first time, a lay person was allowed to hold her wake at the Manila Cathedral, breaking the rules and tradition of the Church. Only the Archbishop of Manila is allowed to hold his wake at the Cathedral, like the late Rufino Cardinal Santos and Jaime Cardinal Sin, a very good friend of Mrs. Aquino.

• The Requiem Mass took approximately three hours starting from 9 a.m. till noon, with the Manila Cathedral filled up to its total capacity of 2,000.

• During the Requiem Mass for Mrs. Aquino, Joseph Estrada was seated almost side by side with FVR. In fact, only three people separated the two former presidents, who everyone knows had a falling out several years ago when Erap ordered an investigation into the Centennial Expo project of FVR over allegations of corruption.

• It was noted by a prominent lawyer that it was rather ironic that Joseph Estrada – the president which Mrs. Aquino helped oust – was present at the Mass while the president she helped install was conspicuously absent.

• Philippine Star board member Dr. Ronnie Asuncion, a longtime neighbor of Mrs. Aquino at Times Street, was the first doctor they called when Mrs. Aquino began experiencing dizziness during the holidays in 2007. Dr. Asuncion took the blood pressure of Mrs. Aquino and recommended a thorough executive checkup. In March 2008, the family announced that Mrs. Aquino has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

• Mrs. Aquino passed away on the first Saturday and on the first day of the month – a very significant day for Marian devotees like the late president because of the promise of the Our Lady of Fatima that those who pass away on the first Saturday of the month will go straight to heaven.

• People from all sorts of political color and persuasion, including the Marcos children Imee and Bongbong, were one in their sympathy and support for the family of the late president. As Kris herself acknowledged, it was the first time that the two erstwhile rival families became united in their bereavement for the former president. Not many people also know that the mother of Bongbong’s wife Lisa Cacho Araneta is a sister of Sari Cacho-Cojuangco, a cousin of the late Central Bank governor Jose “Jobo” Fernandez and the wife of Mrs. Aquino’s older brother Pedro “Pete” Cojuangco.

• Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco is currently in the United States for a medical procedure and was not able to attend the funeral, but he sent his son Mark to the wake, and his brother Henry to attend the funeral. Not very many people are aware that Danding and Cory were close cousins, with Ninoy and Cory going on double dates with Danding and Gretchen, together with Cory’s younger brother Peping and his wife Tingting. While Cory and Danding became estranged because of their political affiliations, the cousins had since quietly reconciled a couple of years ago.

• While the funeral united Filipinos from all walks of life, there continues to be a political divide in the country between the current administration and majority of Filipinos – underscored by the rejection of Mrs. Aquino’s children of the state funeral offered by the current administration.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved