The death of former president Corazon Aquino a.k.a. Tita Cory has brought about the yellow fever once again. Back in fashion are the yellow shirts and yellow ribbons pinned on the breast or tied to the trees, vehicles and anywhere as a form of paying the last respects to the person we consider as the mother of democracy in modern times.
The legendary Ayala Avenue again turned yellow when the truck carrying the remains of Tita Cory passed by the monument of Ninoy while it was being transferred from La Salle in Greenhills to the Manila Cathedral last Monday, August 3. Amid the intermittent rains, yellow confetti pervaded the atmosphere.
Holding the wake of Tita Cory at the Manila Cathedral was a historical exception because they only allow archbishops and not even a bishop nor mere priests, for that matter. The last person whose wake was held there was Jaime Cardinal Sin and before him was Rufino Cardinal Santos.
Some entertainment celebrities seen at the Cathedral were Vilma Santos, Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes. Missing in action was Susan Roces, Tita Cory’s idol. However, Boots Plata clarified that Susan went on Sunday night in La Salle.
Considered a milestone was the unexpected arrival of Imee and Bongbong Marcos in the wake at the Manila Cathedral. In a true Tita Cory fashion of peace and reconciliation was the gesture of Ballsy, the eldest daughter of Tita Cory, welcoming their long-time political enemy with a beso-beso.
Also in the Cathedral were two former presidents, Fidel V. Ramos and Joseph Estrada, who came with Senator Jinggoy and former senator Loy. Earlier in the day came President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who was welcomed by Senator Noynoy.
It was a surprise to see Korina Sanchez in the Manila Cathedral with Mar Roxas. But it was even more surprising to see her minding the anchor of ABS-CBN in covering Tita Cory’s funeral. Korina is currently on vacation leave to mind the preparation of her upcoming wedding but she was requested by Kris Aquino. Korina was the former girlfriend of Noynoy Aquino, the senator brother of Kris.
Although it was not a state funeral, Ambassador Kristie Kenney was at the Manila Cathedral while East Timor president Jose Ramos-Horta attended the final mass and waited at the Manila Memorial Park. President Ramos-Horta was one of those who placed flowers in the tomb of Tita Cory. It was reported that former US Congressman Stephen Solarz also came to show his sympathy. Solarz headed the foreign observation team during the snap elections of 1986.
Seen at the Manila Memorial park were former Comelec Chairman Ben Abalos who was on the other side of the fence now. Another who had changed color but was not seen was Tito Sotto. He was the composer of the Magkaisa song.
The occasion gave rise to the popularity of the word cortege which is pronounced “kor-tuj” or “kor-taj.” One wonders why Tina Monzon-Palma pronounced homage as “ho-maj” instead of “ho-meyj” as we commonly hear. She may be thinking of Bon Voyage. Tina is a veteran broadcaster and was once the president of ABC-5.
Another word to note is caisson. That’s a cart which is pulled by a horse in carrying the cannons. This time, bearing the casket of Tita Cory, the caisson was towed by an army jeep. The full military honors bestowed on Tita Cory was a sight to behold. It was a good thing that the weather cooperated.
Move aside F4 because here comes the Fantastic Four. Composed of PO1 Danilo Maalab, PFC Antonio Cadiente, Airman 2C Gener Laguindan and Navy PO3 Edgardo Rodriguez, the honor guards stood their ground for 8 hours – from 11:30 am to 7:30 am. Without the benefit of even a short break, the gallant men, guarding the casket of Tita Cory atop the truck, braved the elements including the rain of coins.
Interviewed first by Tony Velasquez of ANC (ABS-CBN News Channel) the day after the funeral, the Fantastic Four proceeded to DZMM Teleradyo then to the other station DZBB. Last Friday, August 7, Butz Aquino handed each of them P25,000 as a form of gratitude in a testimonial held in Makati. Prior to that, they were feted by former Congressman Peping Cojuangco in their home in Dasmariñas village. Peping is Tita Cory’s younger brother and father of Mikee Cojuangco.
The basketball game in Tianjin, China between the Philippine Team and South Korea last Saturday, August 8, which was shown live on CS9 (Channel 9) earned a high rating. It was not because Korea has a 7’3” center and definitely not because the Philippines was expected to win. Viewers just want to see James Yap play. Sadly, the Korean team won the game – 69 to 56.
Noticeable is the yellow ribbon in the logo of CS9. Also noticeable is the tribute of TV5’s Sunday sitcom Everybody Hapi – in the opening sequence, the entire cast was attired in yellow t-shirts bearing the images of Tita Cory and Ninoy Aquino.
An issue getting hotter is Willie Revillame’s faux pas when the remains of Tita Cory was being moved from La Salle to the Manila Cathedral. On air during Wowowee, Willie asked the insert to be removed because, he reasoned out, it is not appropriate to see the gloomy funeral (in the inserted screen) while they, at the studio, were having fun.
In www.pep.ph the article on Willie’s issue instantly got more than 2,000 comments, some for and most against Willie. MTRCB had issued a statement saying that somehow the hot-headed host of Wowowee may have committed a violation. Making matters worse, Joey De Leon of the rival Eat Bulaga came out with a poem on his Sunday column in Philippine Star. Expectedly, it was all about the desecration issue.
Spoiling the solemnity of the occasion was the proliferation of bracelets outside the Manila Cathedral. The distribution of those bracelets, which bear the face of Jamby Madrigal, was done in bad taste.
Aside from the proposal of Congressman Rodolfo Plaza and Liwayway Vinzon-Chato to proclaim Tita Cory a national hero, Mar Roxas for his part wants to rename EDSA as Cory Avenue. But Senator Mar fell silent on the counter-proposal to rename Roxas Boulevard instead (named after Mar’s grandfather, Manuel Roxas).
500 bill of Cory and Ninoy
The BSP (Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas) had officially received a proposal to include the image of Tita Cory in tandem with the likeness of Ninoy Aquino in the 500-peso bill. Although the proposal is already a go, BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Gunigundo said they still have to make a study until September. And if it materializes, we can truly say, “Ninoy, hindi ka nag-iisa!”
For the last time, it is a proven fact that Tita Cory is the superstar of the masses and Kris still reigns in talk shows. Watch SNN, live… now na!
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