Delivered by Oscar M. Lopez
Chairman, Lopez Group of Companies
UNTIMELY PASSING OF PRESIDENT CORAZON C. AQUINO
on August 1, 2009
Held at ABS-CBN Center
Evening of August 1, 2009
On behalf of the Lopez Family and of all the member companies of the Lopez Group, I would like to extend my deepest sorrow and sympathies to each and every member of the Aquino family. Like you, and like many, many Filipinos who will be saying goodbye to President Cory over the next few days, we will greatly miss her humble, but oh so inspiring presence.
As in everything else she did in a life that was heroic beyond what she herself would perhaps have wanted, Cory Aquino fought the good fight. If her battle with cancer were merely a contest of wills, then she would have won hands down. But our bodies being what they are, mortal and very vulnerable, this was a fight she could not win in the end. Yet, I have no doubt that, having come to the realization that she was losing her battle with cancer, Cory Aquino accepted that reality with the qualities that have endeared her to all of us throughout her life --“ quiet courage, grace, humility, serenity, prayerfulness and submittal to the will of the Lord.
During this sad period as we mourn her passing, we will hear many good things said about Cory Aquino. After all, she was an inspiration, not just to Filipinos, but to all freedom-loving people across the world. The People Power movement that she led after the assassination of her husband Ninoy, one that culminated with the toppling of the Marcos dictatorship during the EDSA revolution, inspired similar movements in Eastern Europe and in other parts of the world where dictators once ruled. Subsequently, during her tenure as President of the Republic of the Philippines, she withstood the aftereffects of martial rule and showed all of us that it was possible to serve as President of the nation without submitting to graft, corruption, to the hunger for absolute power and absolute wealth. And when her term as President had come to its constitutional end, she stepped down to resume her private life, but she remained our model for a responsible life in public service, as she immersed herself in corporate social responsibility projects as in Pinoy ME Micro Finance as well as in a campaign asking for the resignation of President Arroyo after the controversial 2004 elections.
The Lopez Family has had the good fortune to be close friends of Cory Aquino and her family from the time her husband Ninoy and my brother Geny became fellow hostages of the dictatorship in the Fort Bonifacio stockade during the onset of martial law. The association and friendship between our families has continued through the years of exile in the United States, through the assassination of Ninoy and the yellow revolution that followed, through the Cory presidency, and all the way to the present.
We join the country in mourning the passing of a truly great person, leader, and a great mother of this nation. It is my fervent hope, however, that our collective remembrance of her becomes a celebration of her life and the greatness that it represents. For in the end, her greatest legacy was that, from her starting point as a housewife, she made us believe in ourselves once again, believe that we could overcome our fear and topple a long-sitting dictator, believe that we could choose our leaders in free and clean elections, believe that we could govern ourselves in a democratic way. I hope that we do not betray the faith that she had in the Filipino people.
With Cory Aquino's passing, we have lost a great woman, a great leader, a great mother of this nation. We need her today as much, perhaps even more than we ever needed her before. But God, in His infinite wisdom has made it clear that it is time we all grew up and fight our battle ourselves. We may no longer have a Cory Aquino in our midst to be our voice of wisdom and be our moral compass. But we can look up to her life and her example and be inspired to win the bigger battles we all have to face soon in defense of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.
We will miss Cory Aquino. But we cannot fail her or the Filipino people she has devoted her life to. We cannot make everything she has started go to waste. Let us be consoled by the thought that as we go through our struggles in the future, we have a Cory Aquino up there looking out for us and for this nation and people which her husband Ninoy so unselfishly declared worth dying for.