Moves to proclaim Cory a hero gain more support

PHILIPPINES NEWS SERVICE — LAWMAKERS yesterday said no debates are needed to proclaim President Corazon Aquino a hero since she has conquered the hearts and minds of the people.

However, two congressmen believe that the House of Representatives need not interfere in the process of making the former leader a national hero since there is an appropriate agency tasked to handle the issue.

Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez and Quezon City Rep. Matias Defensor said a legislative measure is not needed in extolling somebody since this is the sole function of the National Historical Institute.

“Para sa akin dapat ang mga congressmen o politiko ay hindi na makialam sa issue kung sino ang gagawing national hero. We should avoid politicizing the issue,” Golez said.

Defensor agreed that Congress’ imprimatur is not needed because Filipinos should recognize in their minds and hearts the great contributions of President Aquino.

“Hindi na kailangan ang debate diyan dahil ang pagiging bayani ay nasa puso at isip ng mga Filipino. A hero is a hero. No doubt, President Aquino is a hero,” Defensor said.

The two lawmakers agreed President Aquino deserve to be included in the list of the country’s great heroes.

At least two separate measures were filed at the House of Representative which seeks to recognize the valuable contribution of Aquino by declaring her a national hero.

Both Joint Resolution 41 and 42 were passed on second reading last week. These were proposed by Agusan del Sur Rep. Rodolfo Plaza and Camarines Norte Rep. Liwayway Vinzons-Chato respectively.

Sen. Pia Cayetano said it’s time for the country to have a modern-day hero, adding that efforts to proclaim the late president a hero are “well-grounded and well-deserved.”

“I am extremely pleased that the person we are considering for recognition is a woman. I think it is high time that we recognize her and I can’t think of any other person befitting of that honor and title. I do support these moves to recognize her as a national hero,” Cayetano said.

She said that declaring Mrs. Aquino, the first woman president of the land, a national hero can be done either by an executive action or legislative measure. But the senator prefers the later option in bestowing such honor to the “icon of democracy.”

“An executive action can be overturned by future executive heads. But legislation is harder to overturn, so I would recommend that it be done through Congress. There have already been moves in Congress and I’m quite certain that lawmakers would want it to be done as a legislative action as well, which is in a way is more binding,” she said.

She predicted that Congress will back moves to declare Mrs. Aquino a hero 100 percent. “To me its almost a given that this will happen,” the senator added.

However, a youth group believes that the declaration of Mrs. Aquino as a hero will not be attained under the present administration.

“Any recognition bestowed by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will taint the memory of President Cory,” said Ginno Jaralve, spokesperson of the Movement of the Youth for Empowerment, Reform, Advocacy and Progress. “I think even the Aquino family will refuse any recognition from a known usurper of power and destroyer of people’s trust in government.”

Instead, the youth group called on Congress to ensure that the democracy nurtured under the Aquino administration be protected at all cost.

“Our grief for the death of Cory should move us to further action to claim back democracy,” Jaralve said. “We do not need Arroyo’s dirty hands to recognize our icons and heroes.”

The youth leader cited the controversy over the National Artists awards as among the latest example of Arroyo’s “arrogance and abuse of power.” “Not only did Arroyo rob the presidency twice, she is also robbing the artists’ community the right to honor their peers.”

Arroyo was reported to have bypassed the nomination of the screening committee for the National Artists awards by dropping musicologist Ramon Santos from the roster, and inserting four names, including Cecille Guidote-Alvarez and Carlo J. Caparas, both known Arroyo supporters.

Jaralve said the initiatives by legislators to recognize Mrs. Aquino as a hero is “commendable.”

“But it takes more than just a Congressional act, much less the signature of a questionable president,” he said.