Hilary and Bill: Inspired by Cory’s ‘quit strength’

By Alex P. Vidal/ PNS

LOS ANGELES, California – When she was alive, the late former Philippine President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino had inspired two prominent political figures in the United States: former U.S President Bill Clinton and his wife, Secretary of State Hilary.

In a statement released from Washington hours after the death of the first Filipino woman president at a Manila hospital at age 76, Secretary Hilary Rodham Clinton disclosed that “like millions of people worldwide, Bill and I were inspired by her quiet strength and her unshakable commitment to justice and freedom. We join the American and Filipino people in honoring her life and memory.”

She declared: “I extend my deepest condolences to the Aquino family and all the people of the Philippines on the death of former President Corazon Aquino.”

“Cory Aquino was beloved by her nation and admired by the world for her extraordinary courage after the assassination of her husband, and later, during her service as president. She helped bring democracy back to the Philippines after many years of authoritarian rule with a faith in her country and its people that never wavered,” Secretary Clinton added. The 76-year-old Aquino, icon of people power in the Philippines and around the world, passed away at 3:18 a.m. Saturday. The official cause of death was cardiorespiratory arrest.

Cory or “Tita Cory”, as she was popularly known, was diagnosed with colon cancer in March 2008 and was treated with chemotherapy.

She underwent surgery to have parts of her colon removed last May 2009 and was brought to the Makati Medical Center in June due to loss of appetite.

Aquino stayed there, as her declining condition sparked a wave of emotion in the country and prompted the widespread appearance of yellow ribbons – on trees, car antennas, and even the Web as inspired by a popular song in the 70’s, “Tie a yellow ribbon in the old oak tree”, which, incidentally, became the theme song of her husband’s release from jail.

Aquino, widow of the assassinated opposition leader Benigno “Ninoy”, died of colon cancer morning of August 1 (Philippine time).

Her body was to lie in state until August 3, morning and then be moved to the Manila Cathedral until her funeral on August 5.

She would be buried beside her husband at Manila Memorial Park.