I was twelve years old when the People Power revolution happened in 1986 and distinctly remember how it felt to hear on TV that, at last, the impossible was happening. Ferdinand Marcos has left Malacañang!

It was way past my bedtime when I heard a teary-eyed Orly Punzalan announced on TV, "umalis na ang demonyo!", translated as "Marcos has left the palace!". I was twelve years old when Marcos left Malacañang during the 1986 People Power Revolution. Everyone else at home was asleep but I knew I was not alone flashing the Laban sign that very moment, with dancing and jubilation!

My early political awakening, happened three years earlier. We were traveling from Valenzuela to visit relatives in Manila on the day Ninoy's remains was to be transferred from Tarlac to Sto. Domingo Church. Everywhere we go, I saw crowds of people waiting for a glimpse of his casket bearing placards that say "Ninoy, hindi ka nag-iisa!" I didn't know what it meant and my dad tried to explain but still it didn't make sense to me. "Who is Ninoy Aquino, in the first place?" There began my quest to understand the concept of injustice.
The Manila Bulletin headline, August 22, 1983.

I was still figuring out how to fly a kite at age nine when politics became the dominant topic of conversation in our homestreet. I began hearing people mention the Visayan word "pusila", (meaning "to shoot"), which completely eluded me so I didn't bother to ask what it meant. The word "assassination," however, caught my attention and it's always tragic when used in a sentence: "The Aquino assassination," I wrote beneath a cigarette foil etching I made of Ninoy's fallen body, which I copied from an oppositionist Komiks distributed at the time.

Two years later, the Snap Presidential Elections had everyone engaged in the epic battle between a vicious dictator and a widowed housewife clad in a simple yellow dress. Cory Aquino became the living symbol of the Filipino's struggle against oppression, greed and injustice.

After the downfall of Marcos, it felt like everything would be alright. It didn't. The reality of the Aquino Presidency slowly dawned on the masses. Eventually it toned-down people's expectations. Nonetheless, people still believed in her.

Back then, people at least knew they can trust their President even if they may find it hard to trust other people in government. Back then, decency was the norm, honesty was standard. For this, Cory enjoyed universal respect and admiration down to her last day in office and even beyond.

There have been three presidents since Cory stepped out of Malacañang. And each successor degrades the office (and the citizen's dignity along with it) down to the ditches where it is now.

Cory's death on Saturday morning was sad news for all.

It was to be a reminder that the Filipino deserves no less than honorable leaders.

In these poisoned times when we are made to accept mediocrity, apathy and impunity in public office, Cory's death reminds us in vivid colors, we need never put up with crap.

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About the Author JOE VIZCARRA Google+

Joe Vizcarra is a Manila-based independent writer. With an A.B. degree in Communication Arts, his professional background includes writing for local TV news channels, a PR & marketing agency, and a national government agency.


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