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Cory Aquino, in her own words

I have always known former president Cory Aquino to be a gentle and polite person—even from the days in 1983 when I first interviewed her for Eggie Apostol’s Mr. & Ms. Special Edition, the first of many valued interviews. Not that she was not candid or honest in her statements. She was careful not to offend, but oftentimes, her facial expression and her body language said it all. Those who worked closely with her in Malacañang know all about that.That is why I was delighted to read “To Love Another Day: The Memoirs of Cory Aquino,” compiled and edited by Rapa Lopa and published by The Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation (2019). This is Cory Aquino at her most candid, saying in her own words how she really felt about these important years in her life. There are touches of humor, too. Her nephew Rapa had in his possession for over 20 years private video interviews of his Auntie Cory meant to help her write her autobiography, which unfortunately remained unfinished when she passed away in 2009.

Faced with the stark reality of martial law and the humiliation of a body search during an initial visit to Ninoy in prison, she wrote: “At that time I was in a state of disbelief: how unbelievable it was then that these things could happen or be done to a senator, publishers of a newspaper and a national magazine. Imagine what they could do to ordinary people, the anonymous common folk, who wield neither influence nor power.”

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In the beginning, the situation was tolerable because of the company Ninoy had: Jose “Pepe” W. Diokno, Francisco “Soc” Rodrigo, Monching Mitra, Chino Roces, Teddy Locsin, Max Soliven, Jose Mari Velez, Nap Rama, Voltaire Garcia. The detainees had to accustom themselves to prison life, sharing chores. A psychologist came to talk to them. “I doubt, however, if he was of any help to them at all because for one, Teddy absolutely refused to talk to him,” recalled Cory. “And Chino, when he did, ‘confided’ to him such things as how he was falling in love with the goats roaming around Fort Bonifacio. Ninoy, on the other hand, always welcomed the opportunity to talk.”

Amused at Soc’s nightly ritual of bathing with a “tabo” and changing into a clean shirt, they teased him, where are you going? “It was Soc who taught Ninoy the Glorious Mysteries,” said Cory. And “If Soc was their religious instructor, Teddy was their resident poet. He was well-versed in poetry and gave them lessons on it. But most of the time, of course, they discussed politics and when they were going to be released.”

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This is just in the initial chapter of the memoirs, which ends with a poignant note: “As it turned out (and as Ninoy had predicted), Ninoy and Pepe were to be left behind in jail,” after Roces, Locsin, Rama were released in December 1973.

While I smile in amusement over the humorous details, I draw inspiration, as all others will, from Cory’s impressions of how events in our lives happen over which we have little choice or control—and how she and Ninoy embraced these, knowing it was their duty as citizens to do so. Truly, to love yet another day.

The book is a fitting way to remember her on her 87th birthday today. A book to be read as revisionists want a version of history that puts the undesirables in a better light.

The chapters covered are from 1972-1986, crucial periods in the lives of Ninoy and Cory. But after reading this slim volume, I found myself hoping there are diaries of her early years—also interesting reading, I am sure, having read of her time at our shared alma mater, St. Scholastica’s College, her years studying abroad, her marriage to Ninoy the phenomenal politician, and her post-Malacañang years.

The book has an attractive portrait of a pensive Cory by Didi Q. Lopa, and the chapter dividers carry for their background Cory’s painting, “Roses and Crosses”—symbols for what her extraordinary life has been.

I hope this book, launched last Nov. 27, Ninoy’s birthday, is now available in your favorite bookstores. You may contact The

Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation: Amor Castillo, (02) 88120403. If you are lucky, the editor Rapa Lopa can even sign a copy for you.

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Neni Sta. Romana Cruz ([email protected]) is a member of the Eggie Apostol Foundation.

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